How’s Biz?

Editor’s Note: In each issue of the Airpark News, we get up close and personal with Airpark business owners to learn more about their particular operating environment and how they see the future of their business shaping up. Airpark businesses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This feature is designed to present a cross section of those companies, meet the key people involved and help you get to know the Airpark business community better.

Darlene Richert; President, Avery Lane Fine Consignments, Antiquities & Art

  • Year company was founded: 2012
  • Years in the Scottsdale Airpark: 3
  • Employees: Six to eight
  • Industry: Retail Home Furnishings
  • Annual revenue: Between
    $1 million and $5 million

Scottsdale Airpark News (SAN): How is business going relative to last year?

Richert: Traffic is robust and steady, and sales are up 15 percent over last year. We are thrilled with the level of repeat business and the support of Scottsdale’s talented design community and the area’s top realtors.

What kinds of plans for growth can you share that might give insight into some of the other things happening in your industry?

Avery Lane has established itself as Scottsdale’s consignment leader for high-end designer furniture and unique antiques and original artwork. We’re finding clients are coming from as far away as Anthem, Prescott and Chandler. While our showroom/warehouse is 10,000 square feet, we find we are physically limited and can only accept about 30 percent of the furniture we are offered. There is a possibility of expanding to a second location, either in the West Valley or Chandler areas. We also are exploring the idea of monthly Paris Flea Market sales and possibly quarterly auctions as fun events for our clients.

Are you planning to do any hiring in the next six months?

We are possibly looking for additional salespeople in the fall.

How do you find it best to recruit new team members in this age of technology?

We prefer to hire via word of mouth. We’ve used our Facebook and e-blasts to personalize our searches.

How optimistic are you about the economy getting better in the next year?

Very optimistic, but the election fever always seems to make people a bit leery. As long as real estate remains strong, we are enthusiastic. Also, a strong Canadian dollar seems to help our business.

What is one thing about your business you believe other businesspeople in the Airpark would be surprised to know?

We consign and sell an amazing amount of original artwork from all over the world, many of which are museum quality. We’ve proudly showcased and sold some very major pieces including a Vicente Viudes, Picasso, Roberto Marquez, Dutch masters, Stan Natchez and Pletka to name a few.

What are some of the challenges faced by your industry and how is your company working to overcome them?

Many of the Avery Lane shoppers are visiting from all over the world, and while here, they fall in love with large pieces of furniture or an exceptional piece of art that needs to be shipped. We have now developed good outsource partnerships to enable us to ship all over the United States. Also, because we have new furnishings arriving two to three times per week and our inventory is constantly changing, we are challenged with providing current information to our clients. We are finding our website, Facebook and Mailchimp e-blasts to be our best marketing tools.

Who is a role model in business whom you look up to?

Prior to opening my own business, I worked in the private golf industry with some of the country’s best developers. They were all visionaries and great entrepreneurs: Lyle Anderson (LAC), Francis Najafi (Pivotal Group) and Don Kent (DMB). They continue to inspire me. I’m also inspired by so many local designers: Mary Meinz, Donna Vallone, Wendy Black Rodgers, Tony Sutton (Est Est) and Deb Malone.

How about a few words of wisdom?

Be true to yourself and your vision. Take time to envision your brand from top to bottom—how you define yourself, the customer service style you present and the aesthetic of your business. And be fierce in holding up those standards. Don’t stray from your brand and what defines your company.

What are your business goals over the next 12 months?

Avery Lane hopes to have continued strong sales and deliver a stellar consignment experience with the possibility of a second location down the road.


Dillan Micus; Executive Vice President of AXA Advisors Southwest

  • Year company was founded: 1967
  • Years in the Scottsdale Airpark: 10
  • Number of employees: 135
  • Industry: Finance
  • Annual revenue: More than
    $10 million

Scottsdale Airpark News (SAN): How is business going relative to last year?

Micus: Business is busier than ever. Our staffing needs are greater than ever. On the financial side, things have been looking up year over year as we are finally putting distance between ourselves and the economic tsunami that hit Arizona so hard.

Over the past decade since joining as the head of the branch, we’ve grown the firm from approximately $4 million to more than $16 million a year in revenue in what has, for some, been the most devastating economic climate in recent memory.

SAN: What kinds of plans for growth can you share that might give insight into some of the other things happening in your industry?

Micus: Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 today and about 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 19 years. This means the amount of money that will move from the accumulation phase to the distribution and eventual transfer phases will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

Couple all that with the volatile market in recent years, and the need for professional advisers has never been greater. But here is the thing…advisers are dying off. Less than 5 percent of the existing 316,000 financial advisers in the country are under 30. The average age of advisers is now 50.9 years, and 43 percent of advisers in the industry are over the age 55.

Millions of Baby Boomers are heading into retirement at the same time as their financial adviser, losing a trusted caretaker of their money. These trillions of dollars will be up for grabs over the next decade, as less than one in three advisers has a formal plan for handing off their client list.

SAN: Are you planning to do any hiring in the next six months?

Micus: Absolutely! We’ve already brought in new team members, but are looking to hire at all levels through the end of the year—perhaps even beyond. From new graduates to senior advisors, we have openings and training programs to get anyone comfortable with our programs and platforms—with mentorship and assistance along the way.

SAN: What is one thing about your business you believe other businesspeople in the Airpark would be surprised to know?

Micus: To us, our company culture is key. Part of that company culture—paying it forward. In 2014, we gave away $35,000 in scholarship money to students in the community who were making a difference locally and worldwide.

SAN: What are some of the challenges faced by your industry and how is your company working to overcome them?

Micus: Traditionally in financial services, firms look for qualified, established advisers and recruit accordingly—generally those with a book of business and decades old network. These individuals required little to no training, and certainly start making money for the firm immediately, whereas it is often seen as “taking a loss” to focus on new and recent graduates.

Focused on re-writing the industry assumption that youth development was a long-term investment and not a loss, AXA has put programs in place to maximize this huge opportunity—to bring youth into the financial industry.

SAN: How about a few words of wisdom?

Micus: When you find a company you love, and it treats you right, and you’re doing something you love, find a way stay with them. Loyalty matters today as much as it did back then.


Samuel Colby; Owner at Exercise SOS

  • Year company was founded: 2012
  • Years in the Scottsdale Airpark: 5
  • Employees: Six
  • Industry: Health and Fitness
  • Annual revenue: Less than $500K

Scottsdale Airpark News (SAN): How is business going relative to last year?

Colby: This is has really been an exciting growth year for us already. We have more than doubled our client base since last October.

SAN: What kinds of plans for growth can you share that might give insight into some of the other things happening in your industry?

Colby: We have been working on several things the past few years that seem to all be blooming at the same time! We have recently released a revolutionary fat loss/body contouring circuit called LipoCircuit, utilizing a new fitness device that I invented called the CorePump machine. I will also be releasing a professional training certification called IKT that will certify an individual to become an Iso-Kinetic Training Specialist.

SAN: Are you planning to do any hiring in the next six months?

Colby: I will definitely be hiring passionate LipoCircuit clinicians this year as we intend to expand into Glendale and Chandler.

SAN: How do you find it best to recruit new team members in this age of technology?

Colby: Well I actually have three prerequisites to become a team member of Exercise SOS: you must be certified as a chiropractic assistant; you must have earned your IKT certification; and you must have previously been a successful LipoCircuit client. I want everyone who walks through our doors to know that the LipoCircuit clinician that greets them and takes them through their journey to better health and well-being was once standing in their shoes.

SAN: How optimistic are you about the economy getting better in the next year?

Colby: Very optimistic, especially for me and my specific field of business.

SAN: What is one thing about your business you believe other businesspeople in the Airpark would be surprised to know?

Colby: How all my businesses are synced together. My LipoCircuit utilizes my fitness invention, the CorePump machine. Also to become a LipoCircuit clinician you have to become IKT certified (for which the CorePump machine is the primary training device). And everything is done inside my wellness center, Exercise SOS. Everything under one roof.

SAN: What are some of the challenges faced by your industry and how is your company working to overcome them?

Colby: I think one of the main challenges in my industry is establishing a unique program that encompasses valuable services offered by med spas, personal training studios and wellness centers, but charging a fraction of the price, so that the LipoCircuit can be affordable for everyone.

SAN: Who is a role model in business whom you look up to?

Colby: My business partner Brian Tompsett, who is an excellent example of how to make important decisions without negatively stressing yourself out. He definitely is my more balanced half in the business world.

SAN: How about a few words of wisdom?

Colby: Don’t outgrow yourself or your customers. The second you think you’re unstoppable, the universe puts a stop to that real quick.

SAN: What are your business goals over the next 12 months?

Colby: To have every fitness-minded individual in Arizona working out with my CorePump machine.