Don’t Miss This Stuff: Here are just a few things you’ll enjoy in this episode:
Tracy’s childhood in Flaming Gorge. An “outdoors guy” at heart, Tracy’s father moved his family– including 7 kids–to Flaming Gorge in the late Fifties to realize his dream of living an outdoors lifestyle. Together, the family ran several businesses and side-hustles: from operating a gas station and convenience store, to doing local trash collection, to cleaning buildings, to running guided fly fishing trips, to anything else they could think of to make money. Eventually the family would own and operate a resort in the area complete with a lodge, RV park, adventure company, and restaurants.
Natural foods store venture. Back in the Eighties, well before the natural/whole food movements went mainstream and natural food stores were a thing, Tracy was part-owner in a chain of natural food stores in AZ. Eventually the partnership would own and operate 7 stores across the Phoenix/Tucson area and find themselves at the forefront of a burgeoning industry.
From natural foods to gas stations. Tracy eventually came to be part-owner in a group that owned and managed gas stations and convenience stores in AZ. At its height, the group managed and operated 52 stores. He found the gas station business to be very different from working in natural foods. Tracy shares some interesting insights and stories about the challenges of working in the industry. 300% turnover rate in one year? Yeah, that happens.
Building and operating Heber City’s Best Western Plus. As a kid, Tracy had to make the drive between Flaming Gorge and Spanish Fork on a regular basis. This took him right through the Heber Valley, and even as a kid he was impressed by its beauty. In 2015, he moved his family to the Valley. After a chance conversation with a friend of his brother’s, who, it turned out, owned a Best Western Plus, the idea of building a hotel in Heber was born. Tracy, along with some partners, made it happen. He discusses some of the challenges and benefits of working in the hotel industry.
Some great business wisdom. Throughout this episode, Tracy dispenses lessons he’s learned through long experience. He discusses the realities of going into business for yourself and he doesn’t mince words about the sacrifices involved: “You have to be prepared to work harder than you ever thought you would need to work.” And he discourages anyone from going all-in on the self-employment route unless they can go at least 2 years without making any money. Making money takes time. “Instant gratification,” he tells Ete, “doesn’t exist in business.” And our favorite truth-bomb from this episode: taking out a $13 million dollar loan can cause some sleepless nights. These are just a couple of ideas that really impacted us during the interview, but you’ll learn much more from him in this episode.
Heli-skiing and Siberian Fishing Trips. Tracy is the man. He spent the day on the slopes. He’s been on a 9-day fly fishing adventure in Siberia. He’s preparing for an upcoming heli-skiing trip in Canada. He’s one adventurous “outdoors guy” and it’s just one more reason to love him.