MONTE VISTA— Ron Douglas moved to the city of Monte Vista last year with the intention of laying low and “disappearing.” A star of Discovery Channel’s “Blue Collar Backers” he has met several community members and business owners and has seen the struggling downtown area with multiple empty buildings. His passion for helping business succeed has changed his plans and he now has a big proposal and vision for the city.
Flanked with a camera crew from Canada, Douglas attended the Thursday, March 1 meeting of the Monte Vista City Council to introduce himself and his idea. “I sold all of my businesses and moved down here to disappear on 50 acres with my wife and our eight kids. I am now here with a camera crew... my wife, friends family and businesses owners that I’ve met here. I can honestly say that I’ve moved around my whole life... my dad was in the army... I’ve moved to all kinds of cities and been all around this world and I’ve never really felt a community like I have here in Monte Vista. I’m very impressed,” said Douglas.
He has come out of hiding and is offering a “Small Business Coaching Proposal” to help the “city in a way that can turn some of the businesses around that need help.” Douglas’s career includes him working as a business coach, investor; he has run several multi-million dollar companies. He has been an entrepreneur since the age of 24. “I’ve had just about every company you can imagine... from service companies, to franchises, to tech, to internet based, storefronts, employee heavy employee light— you name it.”
Douglas stated that having gone around the city and talked to several businesses owners he discovered that owners were unable to afford his coaching services. Therefore he proposed that the city fund the project and services provided to local businesses will be given without cost. The city will pay Douglas $4,125/month for six months for his services.
“I want you guys (city council) to make this a community effort and to help all small businesses. My proposal is to start an online company which I already created the backend of all the training and provide answers and services no matter what level they’re on... They’ll be able to login to a website and ask questions. The most important part of this is I wanted to bring the feel of the community that you already have. So we’ll have online forums, online chats, and most important is they will be able to get their questions answered within three to five minutes during business hours. I am not about slow growth. I’m a man of action. I try to be fast with things. Almost every one of my businesses that I’ve ever started is cash flowing and in the black within 30 to 60 days. I don’t mess around. I don’t like to waste people’s time. I would like to bring that to the community as well,” said Douglas.
“Something I have felt disheartening within the town walking around is I’ve seen a lot of empty buildings and empty businesses. I know a lot of companies... I know for a fact that if people knew what you guys have here I can fill these empty buildings. I’ve been talking with tech companies, mom and pop companies and considerably large ones. When I start giving them the facts of the community they’re very interested and are willing to come out here and look. They’re very interested in servicing the community,” he said.
The business coaching services that will be provided by Douglas and his team include preparing a business plan, help with legal issues, market research, finance, negotiation, webinars, Skype coaching, mentor pairing and business headhunting. He also believes in accountability so the program will be reviewed every six months with the city council to inform them on “how the business owners feel about the service and how it is affecting their business.”
Douglas also stated that City Manager Forrest Neuerburg was the first person he had spoken to in the community about the project. Douglas said Neuerburg had been very supportive, helpful and is a great resource that is available to the city of Monte Vista.
Council questions and action
Douglas ended his presentation and asked if any of the council had any questions. Councilor Gary Johnson asked a question. “I’ve read a considerable amount about your project and what you’ve been doing and accomplishing. I don’t have a real clear picture of the exact process. I’m getting a little better picture from your conversation. Basically, what you’re doing is recruiting businesses to relocate here?”
Douglas responded that headhunting was a part of his proposal. “You guys have fiber optics; you have empty buildings, considerably in my opinion good prices for the land compared to the Front Range and other places in Colorado. There are tech companies out there that are paying millions of dollars to move fiber optics a couple of blocks in downtown Denver. They don’t need to be there. When I started telling them about this place and what was available, half of them were ready to jump in the car and head down right now. Part of the proposal is headhunting, calling these businesses and giving them the positive and negatives... getting more businesses to come to the community.
More importantly however, in my opinion, is helping the businesses you have here now. I feel like we’re right there on the edge. This is a town that can easily grow and prosper,” said Douglas.
Mayor Pro Tem Victor Sigala thought it was a great idea and made a motion to approve an economic development project in partnership with Douglas and Neuerburg in a quick manner. Councilor Kathy Ellithorpe seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously and Douglas was hired as an economic consultant for the city. A loud applause was offered by the audience for the movement.
Mayor Dale Becker offered comments on the project. “...This community can grow and it can be what it was at one time. I can see that. This guy has got a vision... I appreciate that very much,” he said.
The website designed by Douglas will go live today Wednesday, March 7. Please visit www.localbusinessassist.com.
For more information please contact Forrest Neuerburg, city manager at 719-852-8289 or by email at [email protected].