OWNER OF SPINDRIFT SANDBOARD RENTALS
Amy Raney started her sandboarding business, SpinDrift Sandboard Rentals, in 2018 after living in the San Luis Valley for some time and seeing tourists go out of their way to rent sandboards on the other side of the valley only to have to drive back to the east side of the highway where the Sand Dunes are located.
Amy has always been a very active person with endless ideas, and while she doesn’t claim to be a serial entrepreneur, she also teaches yoga, is property manager for a number of places in the valley, and is planning to open up a convenience store adjacent to her board rental shop in the future. All of these businesses demand a lot of attention to detail and a lot of time; when I asked Amy how she balances everything, she said “my apps!”, referring to her tech applications on her phone. She relies heavily on technology to keep herself in order and take a lot of the scheduling off her plate; she said it also helps keep communication between her, her husband (who is her business partner), and clients aligned and on the same page.
Amy moved to the San Luis Valley with her husband from Albuquerque, NM in pursuit of “living off the grid”. They had purchased a Tiny Home in New Mexico and decided to uproot to the Valley since cost of living and owning land was much more affordable — not to mention the views they get to wake up to every morning on a Mesa! The only problem with living off the grid is lack of income opportunities; therefore, you’re forced to get creative, which is why Amy became an entrepreneur. “I don’t live a minimum wage lifestyle and that’s all that was available for me in the Valley, not to mention the competition that comes along with living in a small community with very few livable wage job opportunities.”
Given that reality, Amy began to pay attention to needs in the community and how she could turn that into a profit. Amy was a dental assistant for 30 years before she got a degree in construction management and went on to make a career working in construction before retiring to live out the dream of Tiny House living on a Mesa. She credits both careers with giving her the ability to think and work in the manner she does: “I use all of the skills I learned in my previous careers everyday.”
Sandboarding is a popular activity in Southern Colorado where the Great Sand Dunes are located. It became even more popular over the pandemic with families and individuals wanting to find a safe way to get out of the house and experience adventure. As previously mentioned, Amy would witness tourists get to the Sand Dunes with the expectation that they could rent boards once they got close only to have to drive around the Valley to Alamosa or other shops on that side, then come back to the east side of the highway where Amy lives to enjoy the activity. It was a no brainer for Amy to figure out a way to get a rental shop up and running that tourists would appreciate without having to go out of their way.
Amy was part of RMMFI’s first San Luis Valley Idea Lab back in May 2021 (which is impressive considering that is the start of busy season for both board rentals and home rentals!). Amy was prompted to join Idea Lab by RMMFI’s partner organization First Southwest Community Fund as way to flush out some of her new business ideas that she was playing with in her head. She came into Idea Lab wanting to open a coffee shop and ended with a clearer picture of how to expand SpinDrift Sandboard Rentals to offer other items tourists could benefit from; that’s not to say a coffee shop is completely out, but for now Amy is *full send* on helping people make fun memories on a sandboard! She sees clients from age 4 to 78 renting boards and coming back saying they had a blast!