The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) has selected Northern New Mexico Stump Grinders as the Small Business Star Client of the Year. Northern New Mexico Stump Grinders was honored Jan. 27 at the New Mexico Legislature.
During an awards ceremony on the floor, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard recognized company co-owner Ryan McNiff. Later McNiff and his family met briefly with Gov. Susana Martinez.
Los Alamos SBDC Director Joe Montes said, “Entrepreneurs like Ryan and Aaron represent the kind of risk takers who will go on to create jobs and diversify the local and regional economy. We look forward to assisting them and all our clients as they strive for continued success in their respective enterprises.”
Northern New Mexico Stump Grinders, LLC was born from the vision of two brothers with the drive to own a business. Aaron and Ryan McNiff were born and raised in Los Alamos and are both firefighters with the Los Alamos County Fire Department. Aaron is also an adjunct instructor for the Fire Science Program at UNM-LA. When the brothers learned retired firefighter Gary Hampton was selling his stump grinding business last spring, they decided it sounded like a good opportunity.
The McNiff brothers had no prior knowledge of all that is involved in owning a small business. Before acquiring the business, they turned to the resources offered at the Los Alamos SBDC, consulting with Ted Lopez on their vision. After countless hours of paperwork and research, with the assistance of the SBDC, Aaron and Ryan were ready to launch their business venture. The brothers recall, “Ted Lopez, Anne Lantrip, and the rest of the staff at the Los Alamos SBDC were instrumental in our decision to move forward to pursue our dream of being business owners.”
Since beginning operations in May 2016, Northern New Mexico Stump Grinders, LLC has served roughly 26 customers, removed 40 stumps, and conducted hazardous tree trimming on 10 trees throughout Los Alamos County. Support from the community has been exceptional. Within the next year, the brothers plan to expand the business into other areas of northern New Mexico, set up contracts with local homeowners’ associations and real estate companies, and identify potential state and federal grants to pursue.