Talking shop… Elwin Crabtree of The Crabtree Company
Elwin Crabtree, Broker-Owner, The Crabtree Company, 901 Grand Avenue, Grand Lake
How long have you been in business? Since 1969.
How did you get started in this business? Began as a Realtor for Ambrose-Williams & Co. of Denver working with Paul Carmichael and servicing Grand County.
Business mission statement: To provide high quality and consistent real estate services to the public.
Success in the mission: 44 years in business.
Challenges to the mission: Keeping up with technology.
How do you cope with Grand County’s seasonal surges? I do a lot of appraisal work in addition to my brokerage business.
What do you think is the biggest business barrier in Grand County? Self-constructed mental fences.
What do you think is your biggest business barrier on a state and/or national level? Services from Professional organizations are oriented to large firms.
What can government here do to help? Not a government function. Government just needs to be competent in providing existing services.
How does your business give back to the community? Numerous donations to various charities in the county. Similar to most other businesses.
Give examples of how you are environmentally responsible. I try to stay current with new ecologically sound construction methods and their benefits to the user and to the environment.
How do you support other local businesses? Use local services and buy locally whenever possible.
How do you feel about direct competition? Good competition is good for you and bad competition is something you don’t need to worry about.
How do you market yourself? Being active in community affairs, company website, use numerous local advertising vehicles, Main Street presence.
What’s the main thing you have you learned in your years in business? Treat each client like you would like to be treated.
Where do you go for help when you need it? Depends on the nature of the particular challenge. Sometimes a bar, sometimes a church.
Who is your biggest business influence/mentor? Gene Bowes, a highly successful MAI appraiser in Denver, who was still competently working in his 80s.
What do you think is the most significant economic driver in Grand County? Activities servicing the second home community.
If you could go back in time and start up your business venture all over again, what would you do differently? Spend less time in the office.
What’s the best compliment you received from a client? A sincere “thank you” from a client after helping them cope with a serious business problem.
What organization(s) is (are) most useful to business owners? Other local businesses. Personnel in local government.
How much of a role does technology play in your business? Huge!
What are the technology challenges in your business? Staying current and being aware of its practical uses.
What’s the general key to making a client happy? Treat them like you want to be treated. Never violate a confidence. Get the job done!
Is their any certain trend you’ve noticed in consumer habits lately? Unquestioning faith in what’s posted on the Internet.
What are some tricks such as signs or window displays that you’ve noticed work in attracting customers to your front door? Nothing like good colors and neatness!
What are some ways to keep up staff morale? Include them in management decisions. Be there when they need you.
If you could give advice to a novice entrepreneur, what would it be? The elevator to success is not running – take the stairs!
Is there a better question we didn’t ask? If so, what is it and how would you answer it?
What’s the best way to generate new business? Treat existing clients well.
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Breckenridge ski patrol will unionize.