St. George Economic Summit 2019 Recap with Jeriah Threlfall (St. George Real Estate Radio Show)
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Jeremy Larkin and The Larkin Group @ Keller Williams Realty can be reached by calling 435-767-9821, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike: KDXU news time. It is 8:35. Good morning and welcome. Southern Utah morning news. Your time once again for another look at the St. George Real Estate Morning Drive as we check in wit the voice of St. George Real Estate Jeremy Larkin.
Jeremy: Good morning, and I hope you are driving, all of you out there driving somewhere important. What time did you all get up this morning, guys? Chantry, I want to know about you. 4:30? Mike, that mic is not live and I just said Mike twice. I love it.
Chantry: How about now?
Jeremy: Mike, we have been talking about the mic. And Mike says the mic is live. All right. Love it. 4:30.
Chantry: I know. Everyday. I cannot help it.
Jeremy: What time do you go to bed?
Chantry: Early. Like I am in bed by nine.
Jeremy: Okay, Mike, when did you get up? I want to know. He is not on the mic, but he is going to tell us. How early was it, Michael?
Jeremy: 4:45. He got up in 15 minutes, Jeriah. What have you got?
Jeriah: I cannot compete with that. Six o’clock.
Jeremy: Yeah, you know what? 6:30 for me. I have got Andy. Andy is the new guy in the studio today. We do not even have him on. Andy, when did you get up? Like seven. He was five. Okay. So he did not roll in here. Jeremy Larkin here. We have got the St. George Real Estate Morning Drive. I thought we should find out when everyone got out of bed this morning. Actually, the problem is I was not asleep, so I spent much of the last two hours of the morning thinking about, you know the psychology?
Jeremy: I should go to sleep. What is going on?
Chantry: Stressed yourself out. Yeah.
Jeremy: I do not know what is happening. Something must be weird. I do not know. Is the house going to cave in? Is my kid alive? This is the stuff that goes through your head. Right? Finally, at 6:30 I said maybe I should just get myself up, and that would help it. Jeremy Larkin, host of the St. George Real Estate Morning Drive. The voice of St. George Real Estate. Happy to be with you all this morning. It is raining, and it needs to be raining, by the way. We are in St. George, Utah, and if it does not rain and it does not snow for everyone who is bellyaching this morning, I am going to tell you something. There is not going to be any economic development because they are dry.
Andy: Yeah, water is a big thing. We need it for sure.
Jeremy: It is huge deal. So I have some friends, close friends and family, oh the rain. This is just the worst thing. You have to realize that in late January or February, and typically during the Parade of Homes –
Chantry: I was going to say it is going to wait until the parade, doesn’t it?
Jeremy: Typically, during the Parade of Homes it is going to rain for three straight days, but these are these soaking rains that give us the moisture that we need to run this community. So we are happy to do it. Today is January 17, 2019. I do not know how many times you all put 2018 so far on whatever your putting dates on, but I have definitely had a couple.
Chantry: Oh yeah, lots of times.
Jeremy: Well, yeah, you are doing mortgages. I have got Chantry Abbott here who is one of my very close friends and just an absolute amazing home mortgage lender. Someone who, he and his team, Steven Stout and the people at Guild Mortgage, they help people get the money they need so they can buy a home. And I have been having such fun discussions with my kids lately, my 12 and 13-year old. Because they will be like, Dad, how do you buy a house? What a great question. Dad, you do not have $300,000 laying around, do you? Well, no I do not. And then I get to talk about –
Chantry: That is cool.
Chantry: I have not done it for a while, but even a handful of years ago I had a college professor that taught finance. I would go teach him about credit even at the college level. That was kind of fun.
Jeremy: Oh yeah, it is. Right?
Chantry: Even now, adults do not have a clue yet still. Unless you have bought one, there is just no way to know.
Jeremy: There is no way to have any real kind of concept of that. So I have this conversation with my boys. Well, no, most people, some do, what percentage of deals are cash right now?
Chantry: I have heard like 40%. It is a lot.
Jeremy: It is a lot.
Chantry: We are always higher. The national average is probably more like 25.
Jeremy: It is a lot of cash deals, man.
Chantry: Southern Utah has always been high, right. Just because it is a big retirement, selling homes in California, it has always been a high cash market.
Jeremy: Right. Right because, and Jeriah says he is surprised. And if you think about this for a minute, gang, and we are going to introduce him better momentarily. A lot of these folks they have a home. Regular people, ooops, I knocked that right off. Regular people have a home in California. A regular home. Like regular folk, as they say. They buy a house for $250,000, $450,000. It now appreciates to $850 or a million and they go to sell it. They have been paying the mortgage down for 15 years.
Jeremy: And they show up in St. George with $500,000 in their hands. Right?
Jeremy: And they look, it is different than you think. And they look really rich. Like man, these rich buyers from California. A lot of these people are regular people just like me and us and our listeners. These are not people who are so independently wealthy. They are just folks who bought at the right time, they held real estate. We have been talking on this show for five years that it is such an incredibly better decision. Chantry, you probably heard us talk about, maybe you have been on here, the average net worth of a homeowner over 60 years old, over 64 years old is $300,000, and the average net worth of a renter over 64 years old is five grand.
Jeremy: That is what Keeping Current Matters put out.
Chantry: When you speak about the average, a lot the California people –
Jeremy: There is no net worth.
Chantry: The average buyer typically what we see is they are retired on a pension. We get a lot of firefighter, retired policemen, school teachers, five grand a month pensions, not very good in Southern California, but here it is pretty good. They can do well.
Jeremy: Yeah, you are not doing anything in Southern California.
Chantry: So that is what happens is –
Jeremy: That is your property taxes.
Chantry: — they have to change.
Jeremy: So I have got Chantry Abbott here with Guild Mortgage. We have got Jeriah Threlfall. I love saying your name, and everybody does. I got up this morning and I just said it a lot of times so it could be easy. He is with St. George Economic Development. Do we call it the Economic Development Council anymore?
Jeriah: Yeah, sometimes we do. Economic Council office. Anything works.
Jeremy: I am going to put into my English, and I am going to let him correct me. But these guys work with really pushing healthy growth for St. George, and what we are talking about is economic development. Right? Bringing businesses in, especially value-added businesses. I am going to have define that momentarily for our listeners.
Jeremy: And the reason I speak with fluency, right, because, you might remember, but my first career was with Gilbert Jennings and Larry Gardner. That was my first real career doing Fort Pierce Industrial Park. I got a lot of experience at the time. Scott Hershey. But these guys are looking to bring commerce to Washington County, jobs to where we live. So define value added, Jeriah, for us. What a value-added business is.
Jeriah: To keep it simple, historically, we have always looked for people that make something in our area and then it sell it to someone outside of our area.
Jeriah: Just a really dumb-downed version of value added. We try to look for people who are not competing with established businesses in the area, and then recently, we have expanded as well. We are also looking for professional. We are having some good success going and recruiting, for example, like small engineering firms out of California.
Jeriah: Need a place to relocate. It is interesting you were talking about a pension. Five thousand a month pension does not do as much for you in California as it does here. We have got companies where their engineers are making $160,000 a year –
Jeremy: Good grief.
Jeriah: — and they cannot buy a house.
Jeriah: And they live four hours from the coast. It is not, they are not trying to buy a beach house.
Jeremy: Yeah, they are not on the water.
Jeriah: They are in a climate that is almost exactly like ours. Kind of a high desert. They cannot afford. The older, the people who have been at the company 20 years or so, they have their houses. They are okay. But the people coming out of college, unless the husband and the wife are engineers, they cannot buy a house at $160,000 a year.
Jeremy: Is that wild, Chantry?
Chantry: That is wild. Yeah. How many people in St. George do I meet that are making $160,000 a year? That is very few.
Jeremy: How many? How many a year? What percentage?
Chantry: A handful. Less than 1%.
Jeremy: Less than 1% that come through your mortgage office are making 160. Combined incomes.
Chantry: Yeah, probably combined household. Yeah.
Jeriah: Yeah, one of the companies that we have been working with is in Paso Robles. I think their median home price is like 675.
Chantry: So 675, what would you say ours is?
Chantry: 300. So yeah, more than double.
Jeremy: They might see 330 but 300 realistically. Because the median is the middle. Right? And Jeriah makes a great comment here about value-added companies. So for instance, Olive Garden is not a value-added company. Right? Because it is almost like to tell people, show people what it is not.
Jeremy: Talk to me about a company that is coming to St. George. Let’s talk about the economic summit from a week ago and then we can put this in perspective.
Jeriah: People who are coming right now? We have got a lot of people we are working with that we are still under confidentiality agreements with.
Jeremy: Okay, what type of business?
Jeriah: If you look at someone who presented at the summit was Ram, the Ram Company.
Jeriah: Textbook. They are value added. They make their solenoids and their aircraft parts and all these things and they sell them all over the world. So they are taking money from other local economies and bringing it in to our economy.
Jeremy: Versus coming in and saying well, we are competing with all the other companies locally. They are really not.
Chantry: So value added, let me understand that one more time. They do not compete with somebody local.
Jeriah: They can and still be value added. We try. We are not going to go recruit someone who does the same thing Ram does.
Chantry: Ideally, not competitive, but (indiscernible)
Jeriah: For us. Yeah.
Chantry: But the main thing is they are exporting outside of our area, so they are bringing money into Washington County that Washington County is not paying for.
Jeriah: Fresh dollars.
Chantry: Wow. That is cool. I love that, too.
Jeremy: I love that. Fresh dollars. That is a good way to say it.
Chantry: I have known Jeriah for years. I have been to the Economic Summit for years.
Jeremy: You did his mortgage loan. Right?
Jeremy: He did. Yeah.
Chantry: And we get this all the time. I get this all the time.
Jeremy: Even Jeriah had to borrow money to buy a house.
Jeriah: Just a little bit of it.
Chantry: People always say I wish St. George would get some jobs. It is like it is not lack of effort. It is just probably a long road.
Jeriah: It is.
Jeriah: It is, and it is interesting that when the economy is down people are nervous to make a move because they are like things are down right now. And right now, we are facing the battle that the economy has been good for so long that people are afraid it is going to go down. And so, time is huge. We have got companies that have relocated to the area. Most of them have made initial contacts with us two years before. Sometimes you get a really quick one on a smaller-sized business, but we have got 13 projects in our pipeline right now.
Chantry: What do you guys do to help the company?
Jeriah: It depends on how sophisticated they are on their own end. If they are a bigger company, they will have their own, like Family Dollar that just recently came here. They have their own site selection team. So, we help them. We make connections for them. We help line up state incentives, local incentives, anything we can do to help.
Chantry: So some of these companies can get state government incentives or local –
Chantry: — money to help them come here.
Jeremy: And this is kind of cool. I am just throwing a thought in here. So, Family Dollar comes to down. Do you remember what they spent on that land? I am trying to remember. It was a ton.
Jeriah: It was a lot. It was right before my time, but it was a lot.
Jeremy: It was. So they come into town. They buy the land, which pumps tons of money in the economy.
Chantry: Yeah, think about how much that cost you.
Jeremy: They built this massive facility, which pumps tons of money into the economy. They create jobs. Right? Which is creating jobs. Then the facility is now using, has usage, uses things. It uses power, and of course, one of the number one reasons that these companies go to Fort Pierce is, Jeriah, drum roll, please.
Jeriah: Cheap power.
Jeremy: Cheap power.
Jeriah: Very reliable. Very good power.
Jeremy: Cheapest or second cheapest power grid. Was that what I remember?
Jeriah: In the nation. Yeah.
Jeremy: In the nation. Is that crazy, Chant? Dixie Escalante.
Chantry: So that is a big reason that they are coming.
Jeremy: Huge reason, man.
Jeriah: We are working with a company right now that is in Southern California. On this on, southern California helped us by taking their building for eminent domain.
Jeremy: They kicked them out.
Jeriah: So they are in a building they do not like right now. But yeah, just what we can safe them in power will cover the lease on a building here.
Jeremy: Could you imagine? Think about that. Just what they save in power, and that is Dixie Escalante right out there on Brigham Road in Bloomington.
Chantry: So I am just a mortgage guy. That is all I have done my whole life. I do not know any of this stuff. That is really interesting, I think, for the average person that is not involved in the development to think that the county is actually trying to give money, finding ways, grants, to bring these businesses. It is a tiny, tiny investment for the return the county is going to get probably.
Jeriah: The way I think about it is 90% or more of all incentives that are given are actually just a return on the property tax that they are going to pay. So you take a vacant piece of land and whoever owns it is paying $2000 a year on property taxes. Making up easy numbers.
Chantry: Because they are just being taxed on the value of the land –
Chantry: — which is not a lot.
Jeriah: Then you go throw a million-square-foot building for Family Dollar –
Jeremy: A million square –
Jeriah: — and all of it that entails and all of their equipment and everything, and now, they are not only paying $2000 in property tax. Maybe they are paying $100,000. So the incentive actually isn’t cash typically out of anyone’s pocket. They pay that property tax and say we, however it gets approved. I think each project, depending on the jobs they bring it and everything—
Jeriah: They may get 20% of that property tax back for the first five years. So it is not even new money. It is not taking –
Chantry: That is crazy.
Jeriah: — money out of our coffers, so to speak.
Chantry: The crazy part is we are making our money back on the property taxes. You did not even mention that. You mentioned jobs and employment –
Jeremy: Yeah, property taxes.
Chantry: — and building the building and all those other cool things that go along with it.
Jeriah: The companies that, I say we, Scott was here forever.
Jeriah: For those that know Scott Hershey. He was here for 20, 21 years before I came in when he retired. The companies that our office has brought in over the last 25 years, the property tax, we went through just for fun once and added it all up, and then allocated it out. And for example, just those companies that we helped, let alone all the rest, contribute about $750,000 a year to the school in property taxes.
Chantry: And all property taxes are county-driven, right? Each city gets a little click, but you are mostly talking about the county?
Jeriah: Yeah, so the county gets, say out of this, I cannot remember the numbers. I should have brought them. Say it is a million dollars, just for easy, that these companies that we brought in pay in property tax per year. The county would get about $20,000 of that. Most of those companies are located in St. George, so they would get about $75,000 say. The school district, the library, the mosquito abatement gets like $2000 a year. All the different tax amenities, the water conservatory district gets some. Any taxing entity gets their portion –
Chantry: Very cool.
Jeriah: — and that is all set by, that is all pre-set.
Jeriah: When you look at your, when you get your property tax bill, you can go and look at the same thing. It says right on it what percentages, what multiplier, how much goes to the school district, how much goes to the –
Chantry: Jeriah is the monopoly man on a county level.
Jeremy: He is. He actually is. Utahopoly or whatever it is. You guys, I am going to ask both of you. So Jeriah is with, of course, St. George Economic Development. Chantry Abbott is a great lender here in town, and Chantry was at the economic summit last week. I was not. I was here. So give me the highlights. What do you feel like the highlights were? And Chantry, speak up, too, because you attended.
Jeriah: For me, the highlight was all the technology worked and there were no glitches because that is what I sit there and worry about the whole time. If the mics quit working or everyone has videos. It just stresses me out.
Jeremy: How many people attended, by the way?
Jeriah: About 900.
Jeremy: So you have got 1000 people almost. All of them on their phones. All of them on the free wi-fi.
Jeriah: Yes, we have issues before but the Dixie Center has upgraded and it went flawlessly this year as far as the technology goes. But I really felt like the keynote speaker in the morning, Shawn Nelson, the CEO of Lovesac –
Jeriah: — just absolutely killed it.
Chantry: He nailed it, man. It was awesome. I loved it. He was my favorite part, too.
Jeremy: People said he was great.
Chantry: He is just very like super down-to-earth guy. Even kind of had some funny photos. You know the 10-year challenge that is going around right now?
Chantry: Before the 10-year challenge last week, he had like three photos of him of when he was on, in fact, he was on a show with Richard Branson.
Jeriah: Yeah, the rebel billionaire.
Chantry: And he actually –
Jeriah: — with the bad hair. He kept saying –
Chantry: He wore it and had like, I want to describe whose hair, but I, it is like bleached, really long, like down to his shoulders, kind of a chubby-faced looking 20-year-old basically when he started this thing. It was cool.
Jeremy: Oh man. Boy-band hair.
Chantry: Yeah, and he is just making fun of himself, just really easy going.
Jeremy: Who are we talking to? It is his brother-in-law. Who are we talking to this week?
Chantry: Jeremy Back.
Jeremy: Jeremy Back. Thank you. It is Jeremy Back’s brother-in-law. Jeremy Back is my, really the only other Jeremy really in real estate right now, and the CEO of our brokerage.
Jeremy: It is his brother-in-law. Classic. Okay, so Shawn Nelson was awesome with Lovesac.
Jeriah: Yeah, he really was amazing.
Jeremy: What is a takeaway from him?
Jeriah: His message is incredible as far as the sustainability of their business model. But the thing that I got the most I went home and told my kids that are little, inspiring entrepreneurs is that he never gave up. His first order was for 12,000 lovesacs, and he did not have a way to make them. So he went and got an agricultural loan and bought a tractor and a haybuster and used that to shred foam. So he got a USDA agricultural loan, drove it to downtown Salt Lake, parked his tractor outside the building, ran a pole in so he could turn the haybuster and shredded foam to make this order.
Jeremy: This is so good, man.
Jeriah: He had to put a ticket to Shanghai, China on his credit card so he could go order the fabric.
Jeriah: He did not know he could speak Mandarin Chinese thanks to his mission.
Jeriah: So he was able to negotiate better than the average 20-year old.
Jeremy: Oh heavens.
Jeriah: It was incredible.
Jeremy: This is good.
Jeriah: It was a great story.
Chantry: Same thing and then I think the order wanted, the first company wanted a $60,000 deposit, which he did not have $600.
Chantry: For the order. Right?
Jeriah: To the factory, the Chinese factories.
Chantry: He said well I am Lovesac, and I have never had to pay a deposit.
Jeremy: He put it out there.
Chantry: And they thought wait a minute. So they gave him the money because he just acted like he had it figured out.
Jeriah: The factory needed 60,000, so then he called the people who placed the order and he said yeah, I need the 60,000 deposit. They are like we do not do deposits. He is like well we have never done one without a deposit.
Chantry: I am Lovesac. I have never done a deal without a deposit. Which is true because he had never done a deal.
Jeremy: This is pretty funny.
Jeriah: He kept saying we are the best not beanbag company in the world. It was like him and his cousin.
Jeremy: Wow. I have to tell you that it is super helpful to me just a couple of thoughts you just shared there.
Chantry: And the journey he went through I think was the point Jeriah was making. Knowing how hard it was, would you start over and do it again? I do not know. It was, was it 20 years in the making and he has had a lot of, he has failed a lot of times and had a few really crazy successful moments.
Jeriah: Yeah, he showed pictures of the Lovesac Limo and then the restructuring and then the ups and downs. But the thing that I kind of relate everything to my kids and how interested they are in things. And the thing that I told them that I was really impressed with is that he had an idea and he got off the couch and did it. And that is his slogan is get off the couch, and it makes sense because get off the couch and onto a Lovesac, but it is also a life creed. How many 18-year-old kids, he tells it he was just sitting around eating a bowl of Captain Crunch like a week after school, and he was like how cool would it be if I had a beanbag that was as big as from me to the TV? And then he was like I am going to get in the car and go to Joann Fabrics and make a big beanbag.
Jeremy: We are going to do it.
Jeriah: And now he is the CEO of a publicly-traded company based off getting off the couch for that one good idea.
Jeremy: Yeah, a northern Utah kid.
Jeremy: Born and raised in Utah at the risk of the risk. A Mormon kid. Right? They are not Mormons anymore. It is the Church of Jesus Christ, but truly a local kid. Not Richard Branson. Right? Not Bill Gates. Not Seth Godin, one of the great thought leaders that we follow. Because it is always somebody else. But what he is saying well, not really. Why does it have to be somebody else?
Jeremy: Why can’t it just be anybody right off the couch right here? So what other highlights from the summit?
Jeriah: That was my favorite. Do you have anything you want to say?
Chantry: How many people normally do you have? It seemed, I have been to a few and it seemed sold out. It was awesome. A great turn out.
Jeriah: Yeah, we have been growing. We sold about 70 more tickets this year than we did last year. We are about the maximum.
Jeremy: You almost sold me one. Well, Dixie State D1. I do not want to miss that.
Chantry: Yeah, that is cool.
Jeremy: Dixie State announced they are Division 1. It was pretty cool this morning on my way, I live right downtown, Jeriah, close to our office. I am by Town Square, so I take a kid to Tonaquint and then I take a kid to Dixie Middle, and then I come back up to the show. It was fun to see the one up here with the light where the D was not lit up and then you could see the one was completely temporary.
Jeriah: Yeah, it was pretty exciting.
Jeremy: Right. So Dixie State is going Division 1, which, what does it really mean for the university and the town? In a simple overview. Better athletic opportunities, of course, and athletics in college is money to the college.
Jeriah: For me, and I do not speak for the whole university or town or anything obviously, but for me, I think it validates it. There is no higher level –
Jeriah: — and so we all have believed in Dixie State University clear back when it was the high school, the junior college, the everything in between. The thing that I am excited is to be able to watch them compete against the top level in sports or anything else.
Jeremy: Right, and just for fun, Division 1, just because I know a lot of out, I know you are a sports fan, but a lot of listeners would not know this. So to give you perspective, when we are talking about Division 1, here are your top five ranked football teams – Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Georgia. That is Division 1.
Jeremy: So even the non-sports fans are like oh, that is Division –
Chantry: We are one of those.
Jeremy: — yeah.
Chantry: Dixie is one of those now.
Jeremy: We are going to get killed in the short-term at sports.
Jeriah: At first. Well, the nice thing, I was at, they announced that on Friday at the university and they had all the student athletes come.
Jeriah: And I was just standing there waiting to talk to somebody, and I heard a couple of the athletes talking about now they are Division 1 athletes and just the pride that they felt in that, that they get to compete at that level for the next four years.
Chantry: That is a good point because if you are high school kid, you want to be able to say hey I went D1. It is top, top level. That is cool.
Jeriah: Yep. I think it is a great thing. It is a great opportunity for all of the students. It is a great opportunity for our town. For me in economic development, it is huge too because anything you can do to get outreach and get some notoriety, and people ask questions like that. It is not, the number one concern is is my business going to be profitable? Can I succeed there? But then right away, they typically go to the university and the culture that it brings.
Jeriah: That is where you are going to get most of your plays and your concerts and your sporting events and all of these things and being Division 1 is going to be a good thing for us.
Chantry: So what Division 1 schools are there in the state? BYU? Utah? Weaver? Logan?
Jeriah: Yep. SSU.
Chantry: SSU is D1. And then Dixie.
Jeriah: Utah Valley.
Chantry: They are D1 as well?
Jeriah: Yeah, so we will be in their conference now. And that is the amazing thing is when this started being talked about, we –
Jeremy: Ten seconds.
Jeriah: Because no one thought we could get into a conference and we got –
Chantry: How cool.
Jeremy: By the way, I was a Dixie State graduate when it was a two-year college.
Chantry: Same here.
Jeremy: Got my associate’s degree. You got your associate’s degree.
Jeremy: Jeriah Threlfall, thank you, man.
Chantry: So cool.
Jeremy: Chantry Abbott, thanks for being in here. Folks, Mike is going to give you some contact information if you have got real estate questions. We will help you in 2019. Thank you.
Mike: Thanks for joining us. If you would like to know more about St. George Real Estate, give them a call at 275-1690 or Sold in St. George dot com.