Photo by Matt Stensland
Michael Stoyanov and Aneliya Plocheva bought Dreamboat Cafe at Old Town Hot Springs in 2004 and started A&M Services, a property management company, a year later.
Steamboat Springs Michael Stoyanov and Aneliya Plocheva admit they’ve had some luck.
Both born in communist Yambol, Bulgaria, both well educated at a university in Sofia, Bulgaria, and both set on making a life for themselves, the two moved to Steamboat Springs in 2003.
It was part out of necessity and part right out of “The Great Gatsby.”
“Our family and friends say we got lucky,” Plocheva says. “But my personal belief is our luck comes with hard work.”
The two met in Yambol, started dating and decided to come to the United States to start their own business.
At the time, Bulgaria was full of corruption and murders, with shootings and bomb explosions being the norm. Stoyanov, with a master’s degree in communications, could only find a job selling hot dogs during the graveyard shift at a gas station.
One day, Plocheva was sitting at a coffee shop when bullets filled the place.
“They started shooting everywhere,” she says. “There was no justice.”
With friends in Steamboat, which reminded them of a resort back home, they arrived in Routt County with $1,000 between them. They worked any job they could, all in hopes of starting a business, a new life and a family.
In 2004, they bought Dreamboat Cafe at Old Town Hot Springs. That first year, they couldn’t afford to hire an employee, so Stoyanov worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
“We just had to make it,” he says.
A year later, they started A&M Services, a property management company. By 2009, the two were working with more than 100 properties in Steamboat. That same year, they had a child, Alexandra. Then they sold the Dreamboat Cafe and focused on expanding A&M Services.
By 2010, they added a vacation rental part to the business, creating www.retreatia.com and www.steamboatescapes.com.
“We’ve been really thankful to all our clients,” Plocheva says. “It took guts to hire us. We’re foreigners. But that’s why we love Steamboat. They really gave us a chance.”
The two recently purchased a home and have been thinking of ways to expand their business, all while chasing Alexandra around.
It’s been a long and winding eight years, but the two aren’t done chasing the American dream.
“We’ve done very well and are happy where we’re at,” Stoyanov says. “But this is just the beginning for us. We’re well educated and young.”