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Special delivery

By Pam Mellskog
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — Christine Nohejl has worked with million-dollar race horses in Kentucky, taught English in Thailand and waited tables at a Boulder sports bar over the last four years.

But capricious career adventure finally bloomed 16 months ago when she moved to Boulder. That’s when Nohejl, now 30, dreamed up her Mountain Fresh Organics home delivery service.

If she had money or an MBA, her chances of succeeding might be greater. But Nohejl says curiosity and a can-do attitude serve her just as well.

Her idea — buying fresh organic produce wholesale from Albert’s Organics in Commerce City, packing an assortment of in-season fruits and vegetables in Rubbermaid bins and setting them on local doorsteps — sprouted after she thumbed through a business magazine.

A profile of two Portland guys who grew their service into a storefront presence encouraged her to begin on a shoestring budget.

Startup costs totaled about $2,665 to cover 50 blue Rubbermaid bins at $3.50 each; a scale at $120; licenses for $120; advertising at $100; a health-fair table for $250; and a 1990 Mazda MPV minivan, $1,900.

It also helped that Steve Ross, owner of the Lazy Dog Sports Grill in Boulder, where Nohejl waitresses part time, allows her to use extra space in his kitchen.

Nohejl, who graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1999, takes Tuesdays off to meet the delivery truck around 8 a.m. and pack bins to deliver later that afternoon within her 30-mile delivery radius.

By finding ways to keep her costs down, she can pass savings on to her customers, Nohejl said. She charges $25 for the small, 10 to 15-pound bin and $38 for the medium, 25 to 30-pound bin plus a $5 delivery charge.

Boulder County has just one other such service, she said. But that one-man operation customizes each order — something she determined would shrink her business prospects considerably.

Instead, unless a customer black-

lists a fruit or vegetable, she packs everything from Asian pears to carrots with the bushy tops still on as the produce is available.

“My customers, they look at it as out-of-the-norm, like a surprise present every week to open on their doorstep,” she explained.

Some even report losing weight, despite consuming more produce, she said.

“Because the food tastes like what it’s supposed to taste like they enjoy it and eat more,” Nohejl said.

Her has grown from seven to about 40, and although less than 5 percent of the customers live in Longmont, Nohejl said she plans to continue expansion efforts here.

For more information, visit www.mountainfreshorganics.com.

Pam Mellskog can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 224, or by e-mail at pmellskog@times-call.com.