Overcoming Hardships Through Hard Work

In addition to providing health, dental, and vision insurance, a company matching 401k, two weeks paid time off, All Star Owner Laura Smith also provides company vehicles for her employees. Photo by KJeanPhotography

Emily Tracy

Just five years before starting one of Northern Colorado’s largest residential cleaning services, All Star Cleaning Services, Laura Smith was homeless, five months pregnant, 18 years old and at the doorsteps of the Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

Today, she employs 50 people. It didn’t happen overnight. Over the next several years Laura worked tirelessly at two jobs, earned her associate degree at Front Range Community College and gave birth to her second son. After someone suggested her husband start a cleaning service, she took it upon herself to start All-Star, learning how to run her own company as she went. She has proven to be extremely business savvy – winning the 2019 Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award, named to BizWest’s 40 Under 40 in 2019 and named to The Denver Post’s Top Places to Work list in 2020.

More importantly, her mission today with All-Star is to prove that there is immense dignity in cleaning. She places her focus on the idea that there is value in the work they do, both for the clients they serve and for themselves as they navigate their own opportunities in life.

Many cleaning companies work with contractor workers, providing low pay and slim-to-none benefits. Laura provides health, dental, and vision insurance, a company-matching 401k, two weeks paid time off, and company vehicles.

Laura isn’t naïve – she knows that All-Star is often just a stop on the road for many of her employees.  And that’s what she wants for them. She encourages them to move them up or eventually on to bigger and better opportunities while taking the best care she can of them during their time with her.

Laura is also passionate about giving the community who she feels has provided so well for her and her family. She donates hundreds of hours of cleaning services every year to area nonprofits, including regular complimentary cleanings for Fort Collins Cat Rescue, Voices Carry Child Advocacy Center and Cleaning for a Reason, which provides free cleanings to community members going through cancer. This cause is particularly close to her heart as her 8-year-old daughter has been battling cancer for the past 10 months. Additionally, she donates to 40-50 silent auctions every year, including Pathways Hospice, Crossroads Safehouse, Bacon Elementary School and dozens of others.

Laura also donates a portion of her profits every month to Hope House of Colorado, a nonprofit providing support for teenage mothers – a passion close to her heart as a former teen mother. She also volunteers her time as a member of the board. During May and June of this year, during COVID-19, Laura ran a “Hometown Heroes” campaign where she donated a four-hour cleaning every single day to a frontline worker at a cost of approximately $30,000.

Laura’s tenacity has only grown stronger over the years – developing and selling an email marketing platform and setting her sights on moving into the commercial space. Laura exemplifies that success is both due to personal drive and leaning into your village. She has now devoted her life to fostering drive in those around her and creating a better Northern Colorado for all.