Entrepreneurs / Small Business

FORT COLLINS — The Wolverine Farm Publishing and Publick House sold its building in Fort Collins’ River District this week to avoid an imminent foreclosure, but the literary nonprofit could still struggle to make ends meet.

Founder Todd Simmons told BizWest the building at 316 Willow St. was sold Monday to an undisclosed investor for $810,000 and immediately leased back to the literary house for a year. The property sale has yet to be listed in Larimer County property records.

Wolverine’s building was placed on the county’s foreclosure list in late September and was scheduled to be auctioned Jan. 29 after the loan holder demanded the $769,630 balance out of the original $725,000 loan.

Simmons said the nonprofit purchased the River District building to evade rising commercial rent prices, but that plan failed to keep down Wolverine’s costs. It is now paying market rates for rent, he said.

Although Wolverine Press no longer faces a foreclosure threat, it still faces financial pressure. Simmons estimates that the nonprofit would need to make an additional $200 per day to sustain itself. It plans to make those additional dollars by raising prices for event space rentals, adding new food items to the cafe and applying for more grants.

Simmons said the past several years were particularly difficult because a series of development projects closed down the roads around the building, forcing some customers to jump construction fences to get to the Press. 

He expects to see more customers as those developments wrap up and allow more traffic into the area.

“Someone told me right when we first started all of this that scouts take the arrows, and we’ve been, for the last four years, dealing with road closures and massive construction projects all around us,” he said.

Although the long-term future of Wolverine Farm is uncertain, Simmons said the nonprofit still offers plenty of value to the Fort Collins area and has the backing of a local fan base to keep going.

“One of the benefits of what we went through was it really showed who believed in us and who our patrons are,” he said. “It was a supportive, really core group of these 300 to 400 people who helped us weather the storm and kept us out of bankruptcy.”