Wichita Life Podcast #32 - Daniel Mariotti
So my advice would be go for it. It's never easy. You're never going to have everything lined out. You're never gonNA have enough money. You're never gonNA have enough time. Things will be difficult right but right now so many people are being pushed out of the market because they made poor investment decisions in the recent That there's going to be a big opportunity for people willing to take those risks Welcome to another episode of show. Podcast minded Muslims today. Sponsor is Oprah Espresso cafe. Au primos doing everything. They can to keep their employees paid and stay open as long as possible. During this pandemic there are also helping lead the front to support small business in Wichita during these hard times go check out. L. PREMO as central woolen or on the ground floor of the epic center. Downtown today's guest is Daniel. Mariotti owner of our sponsor Il Primo. Daniel is a transplant to Wichita and after leaving college and a few years after college he came back and got into real estate. We talk about his journey into getting into the coffee industry and Owning Primo. And what? It's like to run a business in Wichita in twenty twenty and German conversation with Daniel Mariotti already. So I'm here with Daniel Mariotti. How're you doing Daniel? I'm doing well all right. We're glad to have you been wanting to do this on for a while. So I'm glad we're finally getting it even if we have to be a socially safe distance so but can you just tell the listeners. A little bit about yourself. Yes so I. I'm not Kansas Transplant I was born in Southern California and my whole family moved here in two thousand one. So I'm the oldest of five so it was seven of us. It was definitely more economical to move to Kansas to to grow a family than it was in southern California Chair and So I went from living in a cul de sac off off the San Bernardino Mountains. An hour and a half to seven acres in the middle of nowhere right. It was a little bit of a culture shock I bet. Did you have any family in Kansas before that grandparents or anything? No so my mom. My mom was raised in Johnson. County And so she had lived here But her family since moved back to Memphis Gotcha on and so it. Was you know it was a little bit of like sticking Dart on a map and and picking it and I was young at the time so it was? The whole family didn't really have a choice. We were moving right. That's understandable. Yeah actually my family actually moved to ichitaro andover in two thousand one as well from Nebraska so at the same time line. So Yeah Yeah. We'll world was falling apart here in Kansas Right. Yeah no it was. It was weird coming here. And seeing that dynamic you know the Boeing shutting down and moving in in the way that kind of left a sour taste in everybody's mouth for a long time chair it gave certainly gave me the impression that I wanted to get anywhere but here right There was no sense of pride in the city year. The state and So I finished high school here and then went to college in Missouri actually went to College of the ozarks. Cuck yeah. I don't know if you're familiar with that. Yes Yeah I was. GonNa say that's I think that's about all I know about it. So yes yes so super cool if you get accepted there there's about fifteen hundred students that go there. It's outside of breeze. Missouri and what? The whole campus is run by students on so mowing the lawns milking the cows. You know feeding everybody there. Every possible thing you could do is done by the students in that pays for your tuition. That's really cool. Yeah does awesome so I I got to go there and got to graduate debt free. Which was a huge thing for sure. Yeah it was. I didn't didn't appreciate it as much at the time of the deal. That was what your degree. I was an international business management. Very cool. Yeah that's awesome. Yeah so it. It sounded fun and I wanted to travel. I wanted to do stuff. Yeah So so I got a degree in that and then after that I moved to Washington. Dc and worked out there for several years as a political fundraiser. Which was awesome asked job. I've ever had. I got to be a party planner. Essentially for sure and that was really cool. I got to kind of you know. Politics is always been ashes. Mind so kind of seeing how. The sausage is made from From the inside on help bills work in how people were across army lines very interested in it was awesome but anyway so I met my wife in Branson while I going to school out there and we move together you're out to DC and quickly realized. Even though I had a good job was making good money realized I couldn't really grow something for myself I was I was spending a ton of money over half my paycheck every month to live in an apartment right it was terrible and so. I talked to my family. My father's always been involved in real estate. And so there was an opportunity for us to move back to Wichita and Kinda grow our own real estate portfolio here rental properties buying in selling their and some small commercial stuff And so we moved back almost five years ago. Now and and jumped headfirst into the real estate business. Another one of the business is called investors houses company. And it's a franchise business when we own the one here for the central part of Kansas And WE WENT FROM YOU. Know buying and selling four or five properties a year to well over sixty and so we were able to. Kinda get involved when things were really really good and really busy and grow ourselves from having no rental properties to dozens. So so that's been a real good thing for us and are you. Are you still in that market as well still doing the flips in buying and selling yup? Yup So we're still doing that. You know things are are weird right now. You know that. Everything's kind of on ice. The real estate market itself is still considered an essential business. So it's still operating but there are a lot of things in the real estate market that are that are difficult right now. The Corona virus being won right. It's kind of compounded by everything else that's going on at the same time election year Is always difficult in the real estate market because just like the Stock Market. Uncertainty is is terrible for it You know during the two thousand sixteen election there was between June in the election in November. People stop buying and selling people froze interest on the retail market was still okay but but the investor market froze over just weren't making decisions until they had certainty catching we were starting to feel that At the start of this year but then the corona virus has put everything on ice. You know they're still strong. Demand out there for the retail properties. And of course the investor market is still somewhat active. But everything's gone on. It was going one hundred miles an hour and now it's five right. Yeah I guess I I definitely would have thought I mean corona viruses affecting anything and everything right now but I guess I I mean I'm not into real estate. We are in a house now but I didn't realize like election year. Had so much to do with the real estate market and everything like that so interesting especially from an investment perspective. Yeah because anytime you have the changing of the guard Politically people move their money. Accordingly right you know. Love them or hate him. Sam Brownback had passed some tax reform changes that allowed pass through income from rental properties to not be taxed at the same rate and two years ago that got repealed gas children once Laura. Kelly changed that law and Started taxing pass through income removed some of their money out of the rental portfolio the market. So that changed and an incoming into the next election cycle people are nervous about and again I will say that right now with the stock market crashing. Right up there is a move into real estate. It's much more secure safe. Riots trying to diversify a little bit exactly exactly to switch gears a little bit from real estate so in I believe it was February of two thousand nineteen. You bought your first. Oh Primo is that correct? That personal -cation. Can you just talk about? Why Il Primo? Why a coffee shop? Did you ever think you a coffee shop this? Tell me about that story. So it's the story of the ideal Primoz great because I live not too far from there and I've been a customer for many many years and I'm a big community guy community value. Whatever we can do to to to build everybody up together at half places where people can gather and support each other and I had seen over the years. Is that place. It kinda degraded degraded degraded to the point. Where the product was bad. The service was bad in overall. It was just a place where I was working wasn't working out. I stopped going and then in in December of twenty eighteen the real estate market was a little slow twins on so I was looking for something to diversify myself with so Fortunately the previous owner Lipped out of state and was interested in in moving on from. Yeah so we were able to work something out to where I can take it off and so I took it over in February of Twenty nineteen and Really focused on bringing it back to life. You know taking it from a spot that was torn down though the interior of it was in real bad condition and bringing it back to a point where people can be proud of it. If you want to be there right very cool and did you ever think you would own a coffee shop leading up to that. No you know it's funny. I have no experience in the in the food industry and what I knew was. It was an operational issue people foreign wide in which I know approval so oldest coffee shop in town. It's been there before starbucks was the thing and it's got great brand loyalty right. What need it was operational? Fixes needed someone to be able to hold the staff accountable. And it'd be hands on right so I had no desire to own a copy or what I was doing. It was a lot of learning right off that. But what I braced was the concept that it had tremendous community value fixed the operation side of it if I increase the quality of the product and the service people would come back right. There may have cracked for sure there. We go come back so I think besides some of the just the operational stuff and I mean I go there quite a bit. And there's a wide diverse menu and everything but another way that you kinda incorporated the community aspect was a lot of local art k. Talk about that a little bit. Yeah so again. Lot of learning on the go but my focus when I took it over was to bring the community back to their a thousand places that you can go and get a good cup of coffee but there aren't as many places that embrace every aspect of community inside so it was important for me that I that when I took it over. I bring local people into showcase what what what's important to everyone in the community has brought in a bunch of local artists Hunter. Ramallah's one of shows on the on the big wall mural in the back of our logo. She's also done some artwork for some of our coffee bags which is great yeah but it was astounding to me the response. I got from people once I started bringing in that local art because people like to be able to see their stuff on the walls and they like to be able to appreciate other people's Contributions to the community where they get to go and enjoy a good cuppa coffee or a nice meal right and I think I mean addition in kind of go in the direction of what I do but it's been awesome to just whenever I've gone in there except recorded five or ten podcast and it's cool because somebody's always. I'm setting up there even just the clientele that you have is like. Oh Hey what are you? What are you up to? That's so cool off to check that out. Just cool to see the support from even just a clientele. That's in there at six in the morning or six in the evening. It's cool to see who comes in. Yep No it's great because that's coffee places where people gather days You know we're so disconnected as a society now. Everybody has a phone. Has Social Media? Talk about social distancing right now but honestly if we look at it. We've been social distancing for a long time. Yeah the only differences now were told to stay. Oh doing it on our own. And the one place where people continue to gather are coffee shops restaurants bars etc so for me to be able to give people a place where they're comfortable that as great atmosphere to continue to gather and share things together. Yeah it's beautiful absolutely and then so I mean you didn't even own premo for a year and you expanded downtown. What was the mentality behind that? Are you planning more expansions? What is that look like? Yes so we were really fortunate. We were approached by a rough and company to open downtown in the epic center. And you know again. I knew nothing about the restaurant industry and really took a leap of faith on and that locations different in that it's a kiosk operator should. So we operate on the ground floor of the epic center and we mostly service the clientele. The building and I was surprised when we started that really. People were hungry for a good quality food product. Good coffee as quick as they can possibly get Brad. We're we're at a point in our professional careers where taking the one one and a half hour lunches is a thing of the past Ron and get as much as we possibly can done in the time that we have to do it and then move on so it really served the building well and we've been able to succeed because of that. Yeah absolutely and just attach on that Just so if people don't know about a premier don't know about those locations. It is pretty much a full food menu right. I mean you can get sandwiches. Whatever for lunch and everything. Yup Breakfast and lunch were open from seven to two Monday through Friday. And you can get whatever you need here. It is open to the public but the vast majority of our clients are here in the building. Are you are you looking at expanding? I mean maybe not right now because of everything going on but are there plans in the future to try to maybe like a West location or anything like that. Yeah so we've been approached about opening another location on the east side in one of the other office buildings and I'd say you know stay tuned for that. There's a possibility that that happens here. In the next couple of months we've been looking at a couple of west side locations but again it has to be a good fit for us. Absolutely the corona virus is kind of thrown a wrench and a lot of things. Yeah but we're we're heavily focused on taking care of our employees and and making sure that they're doing well during all of this stu right and that's important because I didn't go. There are a lot of companies that I mean whether they wanted to or not but they had to chop a lot of staff in a lot of part time people in Yup. So that was. That's been a really deep struggle for me personally as well because you know when all this started coming down we were on the front lines and there was the very true reality that we would probably have to start cutting staff and things back in maybe look at shutting our doors as well and We got together as a team and just decided that it until they locked the doors behind us. We're going to keep things going. You're not making money. We're we're struggling like everyone else's but I told the staff that might commitment to them when I hired them was to make sure they got paid right. So we're GONNA do that until there's no more money left in just a touch on that a little bit more. You guys put up a sign. And you guys like you said you're kind of at the forefront of pushing to help support the local small businesses. Not just yourself but everybody with the we will persevere sign and just. I mean again to supporting everyone else. How can people help support you guys and everybody else? You guys have your drive through open but what are the. What are those ways that people can help you guys it just just keep coming through the drive thru if you can come see us if you can't You know we understand. That were just were here To to kind of be beacon of hope that's why we put the sign up there You know in all of the struggles that we've had is a country we we've been knocked down time and time again throughout our history. You Know World Wars nine eleven Vietnam every struggle. We've had from natural disaster to manmade. We've we've been knocked around but we've always come together and So I wanted to put something out there to kind of say. Listen WE'RE GONNA get through this we will persevere through this role in this together And and at some point we come out the back end. This will all be better for it absolutely just attention a couple more things business related obviously again besides the code stuff going around right now the last even since. I was in high school ten years ago. There has been that resurgence of kind city. Pride and now even more small business entrepreneurs what do you think the status of all of that stuff is which is. Where do you see that going? And that's kind of a hard question answer on the spot but like again. We've seen kind of a resurgence in like I mean cool. Coffee shops were like microbreweries. Do you have any idea what direction that can be going? Yes so that was one of the reasons why it made sense for me to get involved in the coffee shop. Wichita has so much more pride than it did Garissa in the development. That you're seeing in Wichita is a result of that prive right and and it really winds to a fertile ground for growth for entrepreneurs and small businesses coffee shops etc I I think that in light of the corona virus. There's GonNa be some struggle. Personally I have a lot of friends who are struggling with it but I vote that as we kinda get out of this. It's an opportunity for for the people who invested correctly and we're careful right to to have even better growth than they would have had before. I only positively as far as opportunity At during this and after this But I think in the short term it is going to set a lot of that back at least for the next year right but I think he can. I mean you can have a look at it like the economy right. If it's going to go down and it looks. I mean it can be down thirty percent right now but it's like if you stay the course and you keep keep going as you would. Eventually the gains will come back and even bigger at some point exactly exactly. It's all about being conservative right and making sure that you don't overextend yourself Yep What advice would you have for entrepreneurs then kinda coming out of this or just kind of general? If this wasn't happening what advice would you have for a First Time Entrepreneur in Wichita Twenty Twenty I think I think the advice I would have is is is go for it You know right now. We're at such a beautiful stage of of of life in our economy in the world. Technology is taking off in ways that we couldn't have imagined it ten five twenty years ago and leads to such low barriers of entry for such for so many different industries and So my advice would be go for it. It's never easy. You're never going to have everything lined out. You're never gonNA have enough money. You're never gonNA have enough time. Things will be difficult right but right now so many people are being pushed out of the market because they made poor investment decisions in the recent That there's going to be a big opportunity for people willing to take those risks absolutely Is there anything else you WANNA touch on with the coffee shop before research ears? A little bit. I think I think the only thing that that I would say is were making a commitment to keep all of our employees paid through this time. And it's it's not easy I can tell you that the coffee shop itself doesn't support it But we're doing it. Because that was the commitment that we made to the team and Every single one of those people is the reason why the coffee shop is successfully exists at all. Now we're going to keep making sure that everybody gets paid until until we get back to normal awesome and I mean that not only builds a loyal employee base. But I think that again just builds into the community you took over and that you've kind of helped flourish even more. That's just going to continue to build on itself. Mix it up a little bit. These are some questions that I kinda borrowed from some other podcasts. And that kind of thing but what is something that you often recommend people whether it's a book or a podcast or anything like that so the first thing that I always recommend the people who are who are looking at being entrepreneurs or or kind of going off on their own in different things is to get involved with the David Sake. Rich Dad poor and educate yourself on the difference between the difference in in business methods between David Sake and I'm going to forget his name now. but there's another gentleman who preaches debt free living. Dave Ramsey Dave Ramsey and the differences between those methods. Because you have to decide early on which direction you'RE GONNA go. And those two differences will determine how your business grows one of them leverages debt yet which is opportunity and the other one focuses on really conservative manner of of cash cash cash cash. And you need to understand those differences before you make any decisions moving forward. Yeah absolutely what is favourite failure in any ass derive? I'd say the the biggest failure that I've had that was a big. Learning experience for me was a partnership that fell apart. And you know we. I had been involved in a partnership in the real estate industry And and it ended up falling apart. Lost a lot of money because of it But the lesson that I came out of it was the no matter how much you feel like you've lost. They're still so many lessons to learn during those difficult times even the Times that we're going through right now we're bleeding money every single day. It's tough out there. But every single day we learn lessons about each other about ways to to streamline things where you know we may have been a little lax on our spending or there are things that we can cut back and learn from so that when times are good. We're still lead absolutely. I think that's the biggest thing is you come out and you're a lot more lean but you're optimized which will help when things are good in booming here in the next few months hopefully yeah. What is your definition of success? That's hard that's hard because personally You Know My wife tells me all the time. It'll be difficult for me to ever see success because I look at success is having another opportunity. I I'm the type of person that will never be satisfied with having what I have now. Not because I want more but because I use it to build to the next thing yeah next project to the next opportunity so for Success Romy is how is succeeding in what. I'm doing to where I can have the next opportunity. Yeah absolutely What is a life model that you live by? Or what is some of the best advice you've ever received so this one is probably not for everybody but in College. I had one class. It was a corporate finance class. I learned the time value of money principle. And that is the most important thing to me in my life period. What states is that? The value of money that you have today is exponentially higher than the money that you'll have tomorrow because you can invest the money that you have today to create returns for tomorrow man. That's a principle that I've lived by since I started in the real estate business and it will serve everyone well to learn that principle chair. Do you think most people understand that or do you think that's something that not the majority? Don't understand now I don't think the majority understand F- Because it's it's different than saying if only I had money today I'd be fine. Well it's not. I'm not talking about money that you have today to live or money that you have today to pay your bills. It's about the opportunity that you can create with what you have today build on what you can have tomorrow. Yeah hundred percent young. So it's it's it's one of those things that that defers temporary joy right for future growth chair and I think that's really important at what is a habit that you've developed over the past few years as most improved your life Getting up every single day ready to go to work there. Especially as an entrepreneur. There's opportunity to become lax in what you're doing. Yeah lax and how? You're living what your routine is what your schedule is. Because you said it yourself right But for me early on I had to plan to get up. Get out of bed and be at work by a certain time every morning. Sugar and Getting up getting dressed being ready for the day every single day has has set the bar for me to be able to move forward in be productive every day as a practical tip or step. Do you play on like the night before or like Sunday leading into the week. Do you play the week. How do you plan for your day your workday or Workweek? Yeah so my are so scattered I tell you. I'm always never available now. Cell creating a calendar. Google calendar is super easy to is a great resource. I started using that several years ago. And that's made my life so much easier. Sure everything goes on my Google calendar and that's made it to where I can look for you know in the evening. I look towards the next day understanding that. I've got these five or six things that I have to be prepared for for the next day. Yeah and it also gives you once you start using it regularly gives you a guideline for your week your month and what you need to accomplish in time. Yeah I know at least one person if not multiple people that I've interviewed before Jason Teams being one of them He. If it's not on the calendar it doesn't exist so he pretty religiously so I need to get more into. I've tried it a little bit but I think I need to make that happen. That'd be held. It's it's so easy because It's integrated with everything but it keeps you on time. It keeps you notified and it keeps you engaged with all those small tasks. It's helped me to stop procrastinating tasks that I need to accomplish. It goes on Google calendar for a certain time during the day when it comes up. That's the time I need to accomplish that whether I like it or not. Yup Makes Sense You said a few more questions about Wichita. I'm so what is your favorite part of Wichita? You have a hidden gem or in restaurant or again however you interpret hidden gem. Well I think as far as a small thing in wichita that's kind of Jim the Kennel Club's amazing you've never been there hasn't thirteenth end. Would on the back rape food. It's an old speakeasy. I haven't heard this one. So yeah it's been around forever. It was started as a speakeasy miracle. It's one of the only places. Actually it is the only place in Wichita. You can still smoke inside. It was really. I'm so it's got Greek food. It's an awesome place. I love everything about it. I my favorite part of Wichita. I'd have to say it's probably the College Larrea. Yeah I'm I'm in Real Estate Housing Geek and I love architecture. And there's so many great homes beautiful buildings In that area that I think are under appreciated. A lot of ways. I don't think it gets much more unique as far than the College Hill neighborhood. Every house has different. They all different layout. They're all older. Homes is pretty cool. Yeah neural beautiful in their own way right. Is there anything you wish which had that? It doesn't or what would you improve about? What you're Tal- I think. The one thing that I think Wichita needs to work on is getting some of the some of the founding fathers of Wichita to race Building the city spirit a little bit more. There are certain people in Wichita. They have immense influence in financial resources. That for whatever reason have chosen not to be a large part of developing city and there are plenty of examples that you can look at and other cities Omaha and Berkshire Hathaway. Yeah Oklahoma City. Aubrey mcclendon. And I think that that Wichita meets some of those people to step up and really focus on developing the city at its core and this one last question. What does Wichita mean to you? It means family an opportunity. You know. It's it's the most perfect place I've found to raise a family in a community that embraces family. And it's it's a place where you can live reasonably And and grow with what you have down whether you've got a job where you make thirty thousand dollars a year a hundred thousand dollars a year. There's opportunities for you to on your own home. I and in able to build wealth for yourself and your family. Sure Awesome now. This is really fine. I appreciate you coming on. And where can people find you? I know there are several social media IL PRIMO ICT. I believe where can people find the Prema- Steph? Yes they can find it. Il Primo ICT ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM. And ill promotes Cafe on facebook awesome and I will link all that stuff up and I'm sure we'll be doing some more giveaways and stuff soon so I really appreciate you coming on and telling the story and I'm sure we can have you on again in a few months when things are rolling rock and roll it again. So sounds great thanks. Thank you again to everyone. Listening to this episode of the PODCAST. If you enjoyed please rate of your podcast on whatever happens. You have any recommendations. Please reach out at Wichita Life. Ict EDGY NOVA COM next.