Two iconic Colorado Springs businessmen have formed an unlikely duo that will launch both of their national expansions.
Perry Sanders, who owns The Mining Exchange hotel and Springs Orleans restaurant downtown, partnered with Bobby Brown, a bail bondsman made famous for his role on A&E reality television series “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
The two formed an LLC.
“It’s called P&B,” Brown said. “Hold the J.”
They formed the official alliance to buy a building in Castle Rock where Sanders will open his second Springs Orleans restaurant and Brown will occupy the third-floor office space with a new bail bond office.
But the partnership doesn’t end or even start there.
Both Sanders and Brown see this as one of their earliest ventures into national brand expansion. They probably won’t expand together after Castle Rock, but the partnership worked for this first big step.
Brown is looking all over the country for office space and existing bail businesses to buy.
Sanders sees this new Springs Orleans location as a stepping stone to franchising and opening corporate-owned restaurants in other parts of the country.
It started on TV
Nationwide expansion is where they’re going, but they came together in Hollywood style.
Sanders is building a film studio and editing bays in what he’s calling the Gold Room, an entertainment venue on the ground floor of the former Utilities building across the back alley from the Mining Exchange on Nevada Avenue. The building also will be home to a private Mining Exchange Club and luxury suites that will connect to the main hotel with a small skybridge. Sanders expects it to open in May.
He decided to add the film space and equipment after the Colorado Legislature last year passed an incentive program for the movie and television industry. It offers a 20 percent tax credit and a one-of-a-kind loan guarantee that could cover up to 20 percent of a production budget. Sanders said he suspects those financial incentives will bring creative film and television crews to town. He has a place for them to work, stay and eat.
Of course, he’s interested in the business himself and has created the Sanders Media Group, which offers production space for rent, but which is also producing a new reality show — “Bail With Bobby Brown.”
Brown already has a following of fans who watched him in regular guest appearances on “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
“The bail expansion is happening,” Brown said. “But the most exciting thing is the reality show.”
In the pilot episode, Brown invited a family with two young girls battling cancer to Colorado Springs and has decided to help children with terminal illnesses throughout the show.
“We’ve just filmed the pilot so far,” Sanders said. “And there are already networks interested.”
Though there will be an element of outreach on the show, it will focus on Brown’s business.
“Everyone who comes through the door of Bobby Brown — it’s a story,” Brown said. “People go to jail for whatever reason. It’s no secret that some of the biggest high-profile cases that land in the newspaper, I probably bonded them out.”
Those rich stories, along with some of Brown’s own investigations into cold cases, will make up the show.
Brown’s business ballooning
Brown has two offices in Colorado Springs and one in Divide. He plans to open at least one more in the Springs, as well as in Teller County, along with Castle Rock and Pueblo. But he sees expanding all over the country. Earlier this week, he was looking at real estate in Cheyenne, Wyo. He wants to open offices in California, New York, Florida — everywhere.
“I’m taking it on a national scale,” he said. “We’re going to open Bobby Browns all over.”
They’ll all be corporate-owned, Brown said, not franchised. “Now is the right time to do it,” he said.
Brown has been in business 22 years and, because of his TV presence, has a recognized brand that lends his business credibility. That will enable Brown to be competitive even in markets that already have some competition. And that recognition will only grow once his own reality show hits the airwaves, he said.
He said bondsmen can typically charge up to 15 percent of a bond. But in competitive markets, like Colorado Springs, the rates are much lower.
“We’re going to really be able to help,” Brown said, “and we’re going to put people to work.”
Sanders had interest in the fall from a Louisiana company that wanted to franchise Springs Orleans. But he said he needed to find the right person to develop the systems that would allow a seamless expansion.
A little more than a month ago, he hired Mike Stewart, who worked with Ruby Tuesday as a manager for 10 years and helped open new stores for them before working in a high-end luxury ski resort in Park City, Utah.
Sanders was looking for a new location between south Denver and Monument, but he didn’t find the right building until the end of the day. Edge Real Estate is located in the three-story building at 810 Memphis Court near the intersection of Founders Parkway and Interstate 25. He walked into the building with his broker to discuss options. It wasn’t on the market, but it was just what Sanders wanted.
“It struck me as an ideal location,” he said.
Sanders plans to create a counter-service version of Springs Orleans on the ground floor of the building, which used to be a brew pub. The second floor will be luxury fine dining and the third floor will remain office space, which Brown will occupy.
There is indoor and outdoor seating on both floors, and Sanders is thinking about expanding the decks.
“It’s just a fabulous setting,” he said. “It’s going to be mighty fun to sit on these decks and watch the sun set over the Rockies.”
Located close to I-25 and near the Outlets at Castle Rock shopping center, it’s a high-traffic area, Sanders said.
Offering counter service changes the Springs Orleans model some, but Sanders said he thinks it will work.
“I’ve owned point-of-sale restaurants before and it’s a really efficient way to serve people,” he said. “And it takes the majority of tipping out of the equation.”
Sanders said he’s actively looking for new locations and is considering southern California and Atlanta.
“I’ve come close to pulling the trigger,” he said. “But this seemed like the logical next step.”
The expansion gives Stewart and Sanders a new location close to home where they can iron out the kinks.
“We’re moving from our completely unique footprint here in a historical building to a more high-volume location,” Sanders said. He expects to open the doors in May.
“Perry, he is a visionary,” Brown said. “And I like to think that I am as well. But he certainly is a great guy and a good business partner.”