Former ski bum now at your service
Danny Tamez is determined not to be a ski bum. He’s lived the life of an Aspen bartender for a year – skiing during the day, serving at night, saving only enough for next year’s ski pass.Now, at the ripe age of 25, Tamez says it’s time to get serious and make a name for himself. In a town where many young people come for the purpose of sliding down mountains, avoiding for as long as possible the everyday grind of responsibility, Tamez has taken on risk, debt, and the consternation of many of his friends to open his own business. He proudly calls himself an entrepreneur.
The business is called Swift Fox Concierge Services. Tamez, whose previous incarnation as a ski bum included a stint as a concierge at the Ritz-Carlton Club, offers freelance concierge services to visitors who don’t stay in hotels. “When I was a concierge, I couldn’t get this idea out of my head. I know there are people out there who want top-notch concierge services but aren’t staying in a hotel or timeshare that offers them,” Tamez says. “So I resigned from the Ritz and set up this business so that no matter where people stay, they can receive the same services they would get at a place like the Ritz-Carlton Club.” Tamez says he offers all first-class concierge services – restaurant reservations, skiing arrangements, year-round equipment storage for frequent visitors, even grocery shopping. The cost of such a service? If all goes well, $5,000 a year, but Tamez says he’s currently offering introductory prices until he gets the business off the ground.At first, the idea of Tamez taking on the responsibility of starting a business didn’t sit well with his friends, he says. There was much concern that Tamez would be lost to his “crew” of young ski-bum cohorts. But as the business went ahead, the friends started to become interested.
“It’s my own business, but I like to joke that I’ve got a board of advisers standing by at all times,” he says. “My roommate Rob, a ski instructor, is practically my right-hand man. Everyone wants to see this business take off.”Tamez, who has a degree in film and television studies from the University of Texas, says the toughest challenge he encountered was registering his business with the state. Without the resources to hire an accountant, and with no idea how to register the business himself, Tamez went to the only free resource around – he borrowed books from the Pitkin County Library. Within weeks, he registered Swift Fox with the state of Colorado, received a tax identification number, and even launched a website, http://www.swift-fox.com.Tamez hopes to lure customers currently considering buying fractional-ownership residences at the St. Regis, Residences at The Little Nell and Hyatt Grand Aspen.
“Why spend 500,000 or a million dollars on a fractional ownership that determines when you can come to Aspen?” he says excitedly. “With Swift Fox, you can come to Aspen whenever you want, and receive the same services.”So far, business hasn’t exactly taken off, Tamez admits. Swift Fox has only two clients, neither of whom have bought full memberships. But Tamez says he’s not worried, at least not yet.”This year all I need is four or five full-time clients to break even,” he says. “Worst comes to worst, and this doesn’t work out, at least I can say I gave it a shot in a town where most people just bum around. Besides, there’s always bartending to fall back on.”Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org