November 21, 2012

Crestone Telecom is a Unique Business Model


        Ralph Abrams is the Executive Director of Crestone Telecom, LLC, is an innovative start-up company that delivers high speed broadband Internet and VoIP phone service to the Crestone/Baca/Moffat area in Southern Colorado.  They also incorporate local community involvement into their business model and offer membership share ownership of different levels in their LLC.
            Ralph often describes his life as hitting all the points of the wheel.  From an early age, Ralph worked the counter in his Dad’s wholesale supply house in Huntington Long Island, learning over 30,000 different electric parts, and how things went together as he helped the electrical contractors. 
            Along the way he learned how to drive a semi truck and eventually started a trucking business in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Often working 60-70 hour weeks, the company grew to eventually have 40 employees and generated close to four million dollars a year in revenue.  The general downtown in business in the late 1980’s inspired Ralph to shift his focus to renovating distressed properties around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan.  Once again, Ralph built a strong business of approximately 75 rental units and a positive cash flow.  Ralph says his skills are to watch the bottom line, get the best bang for the dollar, present a high quality product at a reasonable price, and always go the extra mile in terms of customer service.  These are the qualities instilled in him from the very earliest days working for his father.
            After studying Hinduism, and later Buddhism, he became deeply involved in spiritual communities, managed and directed a number of spiritual centers, which brought him to Crestone.  He started a construction business, building energy efficient, affordable housing, employed local sub contractors, and kept a crew of three working pretty steady until 2009 when the economic downtown hit Crestone and construction job opportunities became scarce.  It was then that Ralph asked himself: “What other economic base can Crestone use to help maintain economic stability?”  The answer was a reliable, high speed, internet service.  And thus began a year of inquiry, research, and grass roots effort that resulted in the formation of Crestone Telecom.  Ralph used the free and confidential services of the SLV Small Business Development Center, along with other local economic development groups in pursuit of developing this company.  You can visit to find out about the other founding members and the details of this unique business model.  To request the SBDC’s services, you may contact Donna Wehe at 589-3682.

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