By Caitlin Switzer
MONTROSE—( January 15) She cut her teeth in the banking industry back east, interacting with and helping to build businesses large and small. She later made a name for herself by working with entrepreneurs here in Montrose, first through the former Montrose Chamber of Commerce and later through the very successful Women’s Business Alliance (now Western Business Alliance).
For Terri Leben, helping other entrepreneurs succeed is a labor of love. Now, Terri has expanded her role in the community by taking over Welcome Montrose, a 34-year-old local business that ensures new residents will receive a warm, personal welcome to the community, along with a gift bag of coupons and fun items and leads to ensure a successful transition.
“I assist businesses looking for innovative ways to improve their market share by connecting them to specific audiences that will refer to them or become direct customers,” Leben said. “These businesses benefit in that I am so passionate about helping the business community that I act as their personal public relations team. My best client is a client who truly is looking for a new approach to grow their business.”
As a former executive herself, Leben knows that companies survive by increasing revenue. Her work with local business owners has also left her with a strong understanding of the other factors that contribute to success.
“Having come here new myself, and learning what fun things there are to do and all of the places to go, this is a perfect fit,” Leben said, who arrived in Montrose with her husband Bruce, an avid bow hunter. “If everybody shares and helps each other, we all benefit. And now I get to meet new people, and help them promote their businesses!”
Welcome Montrose visits with newcomers in person or by telephone, and encourages established local businesses to reach out to newcomers as well through promotional gifts that can be included in the gift bags. Membership in the organization costs $55 per month, and members are guaranteed to be promoted at least 30 times each month.
“Each month we will email a report of the visits we have made, so you may follow up with them,” Leben said. “This is an affordable way to reach newcomers , who typically stay where they start doing business.”
Statistics show that major life changes trigger increased spending, she noted.
“Moving has been the number one reason for more spending–and moving means making new choices,” she said.
According to Leben, new residents spend up to ten times more on products and services during their first six months in a new home than established residents spend in two years; are looking for places to eat, shop, work out, have fun, get their car repaired, etc.; are unencumbered by shopping habits and are receptive to establishing new business relationships; are loyal to new community connections and are five times more likely to become regular customers than customers acquired from other sources; and are optimistic about their new home and community and are ready to spend money to become comfortably established.
Welcome Montrose was formerly run by Riyanon Keep, who had purchased the company from longtime owner Rhonda Skiff two years ago. Although Keep enjoyed welcoming newcomers to Montrose, the growth and success of Black Dog Equipment, which she owns with husband Eric Keep, was placing increasing demands on her time and talents.
To learn more about Terri Leben and Welcome Montrose, call 970-901-6761, or visit www.welcomemontrose.com.