Local entrepreneur Bryan Wachs tells us why he chose to move his business (and life) to Grand Junction – and what it’s like to live grand in Colorado’s Grand Valley:
“‘Wacko, you’re nuts!’
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. In fact, I have come to embrace it. Having a 30-year history of different entrepreneurial efforts – the film business in NY and LA, the restaurant business in Aspen, Boulder and Vail, the tech industry for the last 16 years – gives one an interesting perspective on life and its inherent journey.
I have been one to take advantage of the roller coaster and make sure I planned for the good and the bad. Colorado, or should I say its outdoors, has been my classroom, my therapy couch, my temple, my vacation, my mistress and my home.
I moved here in 1990 after selling my family’s business when my father passed away. I had spent six months in Delaware reflecting on ‘next’. I was unhappy with my current situation in L.A. My first job back in the film business had led me to Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev, where I met a lot of wonderful and tortured people that enlightened me to how good I had it back in the states.
So, I took a four-month motorcycle trip to Telluride when I got back. I had planned to pass through and maybe be a ski bum for six months. I had never heard of “off-season” before, so no one I knew was there. In fact, I think the town was closed, and someone forgot to lock the gate. I continued on to Vail to visit a friend and thus began my love affair with Colorado.
In 2011, after a stint with Lycos, I formed MySalesButler.com with my partner, Dan Charles. We were lucky enough to be cash positive day one, as we had customers from Lycos who didn’t want the business model I started for them. They gave it to me and here we are today.
MySalesButler.com is a one-stop shop for internet marketing services sold by flat-fee, with no contracts. We sell instant scalability via our results-based offers. Just go to our shopping cart and pick the result you need, when you need it. Quality assurance is built in and all services are guaranteed.
Ok, enough with the pitch Wacko…why move from idyllic Vail to Grand Junction you ask? Let me count the whys.
First, our business model at MySalesButler.com is akin to a co-op of freelancers. We provide services that are performed on an ad hoc basis by qualified professionals specializing on chosen tactics. In this way we get to take our combined efforts to build one brand, and hopefully grow it together through the strength of our collaboration. To do this, I knew that at a certain stage, we needed to be near a university (e.g. Colorado Mesa University) turning out highly skilled techies, that also liked our lifestyle. Work hard, play hard.
As we did our due diligence, I quickly realized I could have my cake and gorge on it, too, in Grand Junction. Weather, hiking, biking, the river, the snow. Need I mention the wine and the peaches? Don’t forget all the CSAs and, of course, the sweet corn. My needs as an obsessed foodie and cook are fulfilled.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort, under it’s new, very experienced ownership team of Andy Daly and the Gart Brothers is experiencing a renaissance on top of the world’s largest flat-top mesa. Out of the desert rises a 10,000 ft. tabletop that changes the weather pattern of the fertile valley below.
For me, with so many friends and memories in my 25 years in Vail, a trip from Grand Junction is so much easier than the craziness of I-70 from the Front Range. Being a tourist in Vail is miraculous, and getting there is even better.
When we looked at Grand Junction, of course we had to look at infrastructure. Our timing couldn’t have been better. As the City pushes a broadband initiative, the schools are adopting STEM with gusto. Colorado Mesa University, another incredible success story, grows and churns out smart, worldly “country” oriented graduates who long for the simple pleasures of the outdoors and what it has to offer.
To my Front Range friends, customers and soon- to-be customers, I would say this. To say this place is idyllic is an understatement. With all the changes and movement in the economy as we diversify, it is hard to find a place so close to the Front Range that has the pieces to expand a business without all the costs. We are not bursting at the seams and don’t want to. Lifestyle is important, and hence we are a focused community with a blossoming workforce.
Don’t believe me? Bring your bike or your skis or just an open mind, and I’ll give you a tour. I just hope you can keep up.”
Read the story on Colorado Biz magazine online.
Learn more about the local tech industry and how you can move your tech business to Colorado’s Grand Valley here.