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Key Idea: A tribute to Fess Parker: Buy Real estate!

Fess Parker shares an important lesson about leveraging investments to purchase real estate.

Key Question:


Own your home, your business and the location from which you operate your business.

Q: Why do so many business owners own their own buildings?

To be in control of overhead, to build up assets and to define their company's image. We have all seen or heard about the evil landlord, right? You lease a space, you build your business in the location, the landlord sees you making money, the landlord doubles your rent.

Tracy Myers of The Advertising Arts College told us, "In 1987 we were tired of leasing. We wanted to buy our own building. It was great. We were no longer having to deal with landlords and rents, and it was a very, very good move on our part. " Tracy ended up selling her company for double digit millions and the new owners had to lease space from her!

After 15 years of paying rent to landlords, Joan Keller of Le Travel store, figured they should buy their own building. They bought an old two-story building in an historic business district because they believed the neighborhood would be revived with help from city planners, the city council and other merchants. We learned that Carol and Dean Schroeder bought the building that houses their retail store when they first opened. Marc Katz tells of buying the building first, then opening his deli. If you plan to stay in one place for a number of years, it's better to own than rent.

Steve Hoffman, founder of Modern Postcard was told by his CPA to that it was time for him to build his own building. The CPA had watched Steve lease space for years and spend plenty of money to upgrade it to his standards.

We know that creating high quality operating space matters to every business owner we have studied here, however, Modern Postcard stands out because the leadership places a high value on beauty, ambiance and aura. As a photographer of real estate since 1976, Steve has seen world-class architecture and world-class locations.

The building was positioned so that everyone can enjoy a view of a small man-made lake and the Pacific Ocean. Most all of the public space is walled with glass. This means most every meeting and dining experience is full of sunshine. Executive offices are on the outside parameter of the building but the interior walls of these offices are glass so that employees who don't have a ring-side seat can still enjoy the view.

The employees running machinery are in a space with a solid wall, however, they can raise large doors to fill much of their areas with sun.

The materials that are timeless and aesthetically pleasing. At the entrance, the hardwood floor is warm in contrast to the concrete and stainless steel railing.

The grand staircase invites everyone who walks through the door and having two stories means most people never get into an elevator. The palette is neutral. We find only gray and black with clear glass lantern-like light fixtures. There is nothing hanging on any wall because each wall is a sculpture itself. It took plenty of brain-power and love for Steve to achieve the result everyone enjoys today.

You may know about the time when Dr. Jonas Salk was struggling with his idea to find a cure for polio. He went on a retreat to Italy and stayed at the Abbey of Assisi. In a speech he made to the American Institute of Architects in the early 1990s, Dr. Salk said he came up with his vaccine at the Abbey and was convinced that the architecture had something to do with his mind being unlocked in some new way by the inspiration of the Abbey's architecture.

In 2003, the American Institute of Architects announced the establishment of the Academy on Neuroscience for Architecture. Architects and Moms know that people behave differently in different environments. The challenge for all of us who ask people to work a long, productive day is to create the space that is most conducive for it.

Think about it

Can you or should you develop your own work environment? Take an inventory of your work place. How does it make you feel? Are you proud of it? Do you feel more energy or less energy when you walk in the door? Ask the people who work with you to tell you how they think the workspace affects them emotionally. What action can you take to create a place worthy of 1/3 of a person's life?


Clip from: Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard: Brand Matters

Los Olivos, California: Way back in the 1950s a young Texan by the name of Fess Parker took a job with Walt Disney. He became an actor and the incarnation of two American heroes, Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. With so much exposure on television, this man truly became an American icon in our time.

We caught up with Fess in beautiful Santa Barbara wine country to continue our studies of the first principles of branding and storytelling.  Fess left Hollywood and bought land then built a hotel.  Here you'll also discover that he believes in real estate and in helping his customers create memorable experiences.

The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard is located 32 miles north of Santa Barbara on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. 

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Fess Parker Winery

Fess Parker, founder

6200 Foxen Canyon Road
Los Olivos, CA 93441

Visit our web site:

Office: 805-688-1545

Business Classification:

Year Founded:

A tribute to Fess Parker: Buy Real estate!

HATTIE: (In the Studio) Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant. We believe there should be at least a half hour per week on television dedicated to tell the stories about people who create wealth and work and make the world a better place.

HATTIE: Today, we visit with a legend who encourages us to create our own legend. Meet an old friend, Fess Parker. You may remember him as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.

Last year, over 60,000 people visited the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, located 32 miles north of Santa Barbara, on the Foxen Canyon wine trail.

Guest #1: Do you like that one?

Guest #2: Yeah.

HATTIE: In 1987, Fess Parker and his son, Eli, purchased 714 acres. Eli enrolled in viticultural classes, and this business was born. While Eli focused on the wine making, his dad concentrated on building the winery and visitors center. Total sales reached $5 million last year.

So he really is 6'6". You can tell; I come up to his elbow.

You probably remember Fess Parker when he looked like this when he was on television in the '50s, he was Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. And from 1964 to 1970 he played the role of Daniel Boone.

FESS PARKER : Here we go. Here you are.

HATTIE: Now Fess Parker tells us about new adventures.(Talking to Fess Parker) Well, thank you so much. The only problem is I'm going to want to drink it.

FESS: That's OK, please, do.

HATTIE: Thank you, thank you.

FESS: I'm planting about 100 acres of this right away. And it's...HATTIE: (teasing) ... for your own personal ...

FESS: (laughing) ... yeah, for my own personal consumption.

HATTIE: When you left acting and when you decided, `OK, I don't want to do that anymore,' why did you go into real estate? How did you get it started? Roll back the clock and tell us about that.

FESS: I think two factors. One, my father always--like most Texans, really put a high premium on real estate. The landed people were the successful people. The second factor was Walt Disney. I was under personal contract to him when he was preparing to open Disneyland. So I met many of the people involved in that massive project. And I understood then that they existed, and how they quietly existed, where they fit into the equation. And when I decided to leave the film business, the land seemed to be the natural place. And it also had an opportunity for a person to be creative, which I felt good about.

HATTIE: So did you save up some money to be able to buy your first piece of land? How'd you get the first piece?

FESS: Well, there's a man who's name is Al Schneider in Louisville, Kentucky (Editor's note: the developer of the Galt Houses). And I met him along the way. And I drove around Louisville with him one day -- he was a developer -- and he pointed out an office building, and he said, `I own that, but I don't have any money in it.'

And then he said, `I built this, and I own that, but I don't have any money in it.' I said, `Well, how do you do that'? And he said, `That's called leverage.' So with that understanding, and using some of my "acting ability" -- smoke and mirrors -- I persuaded some people to finance projects. And I still remember my first significant project was a partnership with three other gentlemen. And we went down to the bank and borrowed $1 million. And I thought, `It's wonderful.'

HATTIE: Wow. `They're going to give us $1 million.' In the real estate development segment of your life, how much would you say was failure, and much was success? And you could say, `Oh, that was a bad decision. I shouldn't have let it go. But I did this, this, this and this.'

FESS: The whole thing is that I came along at a time in California when almost anything that was reasonably put together was likely to be a success.

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