Business continues to amaze me. Different business models, different types of business. I find it quite fascinating to watch how people innovate and set themselves apart from the competition.
I am writing this beachside in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where I am attending an Alliance of Area Business Publications conference. OK, it is tough work, but someone has to do it.
The competition for the tourist dollar in Puerto Vallarta is intense. As I experience the different businesses that make up this once-sleepy fishing village, I see innovation. Sometimes it’s just a way to survive; sometimes it is a thriving investment.
One experience that really struck me as pretty cool is a nightclub called Helo’s.
A couple of other publishers and I were walking around in downtown PV when this club with enormous statues, loud music and flashing lights caught our attention. OK, maybe there are a lot of clubs with this type of décor, but nightclubs are not somewhere you find me very often.
The business of Helo’s was something I found interesting. This wasn’t just a bar. This place was a show – a technological, light and sound show. As the three of us talked business, the sound system started heating up. Every song (if you can call them songs in this day and age) got louder.
I figure this club would not be legal in the United States because OSHA would shut it down for not supplying ear plugs. The staff, in a well-orchestrated dance, positioned a set of stairs jutting out from the long, lighted bar. I was wondering why there were no bar stools.
The people started flowing in to the point that there was a line outside. As people left, an equal number were let in.
The technology center that ran the lights and music was a story above the main floor. It looked like the command center at NORAD – computer monitors, headsets and several people moving from one screen to another.
As the loud music and lights got under way, the DJ, (I never did find out where this person was physically located, maybe he was computerized, too) called for women to climb onto the bar. Aha – the reason for the steps.
As people danced all over the place to the loud music, a mind-numbing light show, which probably in some way affected my cerebral cranium in an adverse way, ensued. The DJ kept saying “and we can have this fun until 6 o’clock in the morning.” Jeez, how anyone could take this environment more than the couple of hours we were there is beyond me.
Now, why am I telling you this? I am talking about the innovation of this nightclub. It sets itself apart. This business model was working. It was an experience, not just a service. It flirted with all of a person’s senses.
Personally, I prefer a social establishment that allows people to have a conversation, to interact – but what do I know?
Businesses are booming in Puerto Vallarta.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at or 329-5202.