New Life for Historic Pueblo Building Fueled by Iron Will

Episode 14 – Nathan Stern and Zach Cytryn

In this episode of the Wake Up Colorado Podcast, our guests are Nathan Stern and Zach Cytryn, Real Estate Associates and founders of the Fuel & Iron Project. Zach grew up wanting to be a real estate broker, while Nathan focused on real estate in grad school. Zach and Nathan met each other at the same commercial brokerage and developed camaraderie which amplified each other’s strengths in helping their clients in the food and beverage industry.

Standout Quotes:

  • “There are just so many fantastic community events that showcase the entrepreneurial spirit of neighborhood residents. And it is inspirational for what we’re trying to do in Pueblo, just different avenues of entrepreneurship.” – Nathan
  • “My biggest takeaway during the pandemic is to see the resilience of our clients. No one threw the towel and said, “Covid hit. Let’s just give it up.” But instead, said, “How can we be successful in a Covid-19 world?” – Zach
  • “One amazing thing about Pueblo is its incredibly cohesive community. We see the opportunity to help fill in the gaps of the food systems in Pueblo to help make it the world-class food city. That’s our goal.” – Nathan
  • “We raised money for an organization that hired restaurant employees who lost their jobs. Giving work to people who need it the most, and then doing something to really help the community and give meals to others who lost their jobs during Covid who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.” – Zach
  • “We love Pueblo, and we hope to be in the community for a long time. We have to be a part of the diversification of the public economy from a single industry steel town to a much more diversified vibrant economy.” – Nathan

 Key Takeaways:

  • When you are a new broker, it’s challenging to turn away business when you don’t have much business in the first place.
  • Choose to focus on one niche, spend your time and energy on it, and be good at that one thing – it’s hard to be good at everything.
  • A broker’s job can be broken down into two major parts, site selection, and negotiation.
  • A “Look Book” is a business plan turned into an easily digestible format understandable by clients. It is an excellent tool to communicate and get the landlord excited.
  • Having a specialization allows you to take your offer to your clients to the next level.
  • The trend for business is towards fast, casual, smaller footprints, with less labor cost. The pandemic accelerated that transition.

Episode Timeline:

[01:35] How Zach and Nathan started in real estate

[04:20] Zach and Nathan in the Food & Beverage Industry

[09:43] Real Estate Broker vs. other professionals

[13:00] The importance of forging a great relationship with your clients

[18:10] Zach and Nathan’s nonprofit

[20:41] How COVID-19 Pandemic affected Zach and Nathan

[24:19] The story behind Restaurant Olivia and how it inspired Zach and Nathan

[28:04] How Nathan and Zach helped restaurants during Covid

[30:02] Why Zach and Nathan invest in Pueblo and the inspiration behind “Fuel & Iron”

[38:51] Challenges of managing the project and oversights

[44:26] Zach and Nathan’s future development plans in Pueblo

[50:01] Zach and Nathan’s favorite hidden gems in Colorado

[51:54] Zach and Nathan’s advice if you want to move to Colorado

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