Archives: Featured Company

Letitia Frye — America’s “auctiontainer”

I’m guessing you haven’t heard the term auctiontainer before, am I right? I hadn’t either, at least not until I stumbled across Scottsdale’s Letitia Frye via an article in Modern Luxury. She has a very unique job title: Auctiontainer.

As you can imagine, this was more than enough to pique my interest and so after doing a little research on her, I learned that her unique title was a direct result of her personal style and approach to live auctioning at charity fundraisers.

I couldn’t help but to reach out and ask her a few questions. Here’s what happened:

[Ryan] You have been called America’s foremost Auctiontainer. What exactly does that mean and when did the title really start to stick?

[Letitia Frye] Funny, America’s Foremost Auctiontainer came from my client and friend Alice Cooper. We were at a soundcheck for his annual Christmas Pudding event and he saw me working the mic while warming up my chant and said it was like watching another performer. I don’t stand at a podium or use notes because I have a photographic memory so it leaves me free to roam the crowd with a handheld wireless mic and perform rather than just auction. In fact I have been known to dive off stages into the crowd like a rock star, thus the auctiontainer.

How do you prepare for an upcoming auction? Is there a method you use to better understand the audience or prepare for the unexpected?

There is so much more to prepping for one of my events than meets the eye and I tend to do more prep work than the typical auctioneer. For one, most auctioneers do many different types of auctions from real estate, livestock, cars, benefits and more. Although I did my training in a multitude of mediums in the auction industry, about 8 years ago I decided to only do benefit auctions and to specialize as a charity fundraising professional in addition to auctioneer. I volunteer for every client I work with. I have been to Haiti twice to work with orphans, I trail hospice doctors, rescue horses on the border, volunteer at various camps for kids with cancer and at risk teens, and so much more. That is the first part of the prep work and the most important so that I can become passionate about who we are working to help with the funds raised at the event. Then it’s time to analyze the event itself. The timeline, the items, the crowd demographic, the benefit of creating a customized fund a need, etc.. There is so much work that goes into this process before the actual event, the event itself is probably what I consider the icing on the cake. The fun part after all the work leading up to it.

Letitia Frye an auctiontainer

With all the auctions you’ve supported over the years, I’m sure you have some good stories. What’s one of your favorites?

I average about 107 charity auctions a year and I have seen a lot of wild and interesting things happen. One of my favorites was with Larry the Cable Guy. We were doing Alice Cooper’s golf tournament and I sell actors and musicians to play in the tournament as part of your foursome. Usually the sexy, hot beefcake type sell really high, but Larry took the cake. He actually used to auction himself and we had worked together before so I had us do kind of a tag team auction almost like a duet. The crowd was going crazy and the bids getting higher and higher. Then I jokingly told Larry he should take his shirt off and get the ladies going. I was only joking as Larry is a lovable big guy, not really your body builder type. Well he did it and the crowd was in hysterics and one woman stood up and bought him for $20,000. He sold higher than anyone else, who knew!

Meet Letitia Frye

Contact Letitia Frye:

You can learn more about Letitia Frye on her website, here. And be sure to check out her recent feature in Modern Luxury, if you haven’t already.

Featured Arizona photographer: Chris Loomis

I recently discovered a very talented Phoenix and Scottsdale area photographer in a roundabout sort of way. I had stumbled across the “auctiontainer” Letitia Frye and happened to pick up on the photography on her website. Turns out it was the work of Chris Loomis, a multi-faceted photographer who has shot everything from architecture to portrait to high fashion.

[Ryan] You seem to photograph a range of subjects, from high fashion to architecture, how would you explain your personal style and approach to photography?

[Chris] I have become proficient shooting a range of subject matter (in the commercial arena) by necessity in the Phoenix area. To make a living specializing in just one area can be difficult in a particular market. That being said, I believe my portfolio/website is a comprehensive look at the subject matter I most gravitate towards and in some cases the blending of these subjects, i.e. fashion in context with architecture, etc. My style is driven by finding a relationship between my subject matter and the environment…in the case of my editorial portfolio I love illustrating through environmental portraiture, people intimately embedded in their place of work or amongst things they create…or even creating that relationship through my own sense of art direction (I art direct most of my photo shoots.) This is also how I handle my fashion photography…I’m really into high fashion/wearable art and also vintage styles. Additionally, I like to use unorthodox lighting, when appropriate, to create more drama and interest in my imagery…it is also my own personal touch. My Personal (fine art) work and Theme Park portfolio is more about capturing subtle moments candidly while traveling or through concept that are powerful and full of memory, yet still tell a story.

Chris Loomis Photography

When shooting, where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from pretty much everywhere…but I’m a total fan of surrealism and creating projects that are high concept. My background is growing up watching healthy amounts of Star Trek, weird sci-if movies, 70’s cartoons etc. I’m also very impressed by architecture…particularly mid century modern and futuristic…but I also love gothic cathedrals and even ruins…then putting a model in these places!!!

Chris Loomis Photography

I think that a lot of men don’t feel real comfortable in front of a camera. Are there some simple things men can do to get more of a “red carpet” look?

For men being photographed: DONT BE SHY….let yourself go….don’t constantly wait for direction from a photographer…they will tell you what to do when they need to push you in a certain direction. Be yourself!

Chris Loomis Photography

Contact Chris Loomis

Visit the Chris Loomis website to view his portfolios and contact him directly!

Spotlight on Fort Collins real estate development – The Exchange

Oftentimes, it seems like Denver and Boulder get all the attention when it comes to development and trendy spots, but Fort Collins is marching right along too. There has been a fair amount of activity regarding Fort Collins real estate development lately. A great example is the Exchange project – a mix of retail, restaurant, and office space slated to open in Spring 2017.

I first caught wind of the project by chatting with broker Jake Arnold, of Fort Collins based Waypoint Real Estate. Waypoint is spearheading the effort to revitalize this location. The firm is redeveloping pretty much an entire city block in Old Town where the old EZ Pawn building once stood.

The Exchange in Fort Collins takes shape with Fort Collins Real Estate Development

Notably, the development aims to create a mixed-use common space where the parking lot currently exists. “We are working with the city on a “common consumption corridor,” which will allow for drinks (alcoholic) and food to be taken into the plaza area,” says Arnold.

Looking over the present plans, I was happy to see a real nice mix of tenants. It’s looking like there will be a nice balance between retail and restaurant space. However, what caught my eye the most is the proposed large grassy space, intended to be available for lounging in the Colorado sun, hosting community events, and being an all-around great meeting spot.

Arnold went on to tell me that “…we are trying to create a place where people can enjoy a variety of vendors in one area. It should be a great place for a whole family to spend an afternoon or evening with a variety of food/wine & beer options.”

And fans of Denver’s Work & Class and Cart & Driver on Larimer Street will be pleased to learn that shipping containers may be rolled into the architecture plan. Personally, I think shipping containers offer a great aesthetic when paired with organics so I’m anxious to see what happens.

The Exchange project in Fort Collins Real Estate Development

I’m very excited to see downtown Fort Collins stretch its development legs a bit. Especially, when the intention is not merely to create a shopping center, but to establish a place for people to meet and live. Yes, that often means food and drink, but development projects that are careful to include space to sit and enjoy the outdoors are really wonderful, in my opinion.

I also hope that projects like the Exchange and Boulder’s Rayback Collective help to prove to people that the idea of a “food court” can be an awesome thing and far from what I would call a traditional North American model (i.e. food courts in shopping malls). The hawker centers of Singapore and Bangkok, for instance, are a flurry of activity and full of unique tastes and experiences.

Domestic developments like Denver’s Avanti and The Duce in Phoenix are headed in the right direction. It’s looking like the Exchange project will earn its place in the conversation.

Waypoint Real Estate

For more information on Waypoint, please visit their website here.

 

5280’s Top of the Town voting

So, it’s that time of year again. 5280 Magazine is rolling out their annual Top of the Town voting today. Results of the balloting are published in the June issue and consistently reflect the best that Denver has to offer in a range of categories.

You shouldn’t have any problem voting for the best menswear boutique, right? :). How about the other categories?

I wanted to write a quick blog post and offer up some recommendations for a handful of genres. I’ve personally worked with each of these businesses and they are run by some really amazing people who are super passionate about what they do. More importantly, they uphold the highest level of quality and attention to service. The latter I think is worth emphasizing, because in an increasingly digital world, good customer service can seem difficult to come by.

But these are just my recommendations. The important thing is to vote for the company or individual that you think has earned a spot on the list!

Top of the Town voting!

Here’s the link to vote!

A note on how to vote: The reader voting (that’s you, as opposed to the editor voting) is a write-in format. That means that you’d type in something like, oh say, Bespoke Edge, for the Local Men’s Boutique category. You certainly don’t need to fill in all of the line items, just scroll through and pick your favorites!

Barber

I’ve been a loyal patron of Al’s Barbershop for something like 5 or 6 years now. In the beginning, I was frequenting the Denver barbershop in Larimer Square. When I moved to Boulder a couple years back I would go to the Boulder shop. And now that I’m back in Denver, well, you guessed it.

Simply put, Al’s a master at cutting men’s hair.

Something you probably wouldn’t know if you didn’t ask, is that Al cuts hair for a handful of models at national fashion shows. He is even a recognized speaker at industry conferences. And to have him cut your hair and listen to him explain his approach and watch what he does, you’ll soon understand that Al and his highly skilled team are the very best at what they do.

Local Jewelry Designer

I met Abby Sparks a couple years back, because well, most of us custom folks end up gravitating towards one another sooner or later!

And when Brett got engaged I decided that he deserved a pair of custom cufflinks to go with his custom suits. That’s when I had an opportunity to work one-on-one with Abby. I thought it was interesting at how similar her process is to ours, in that you can literally control every aspect of what you’re building. For us, it’s custom suits, and for her, custom jewelry.

Abby is an incredibly talented and personable woman. She has a knack for taking sketches and turning them into amazing pieces of jewelry.

I’d recommend taking a peek at our article on Brett’s custom cufflinks. It has a lot of great photos of some of her rings too.

Website: Abby Sparks Jewelry

custom cuff links abby sparks designs and 5280 top of the town

Wedding Gowns

For years now, Ron and I have known Little White Dress Bridal Shop owner Cate Malone and her daughter and business partner, Kelly Hinde. They are really wonderful people who consistently find the best in designer gowns and bring them to the mile high city.

Recommended reading: 5 style tips for grooms, an interview with Kelly Hinde

Accessories

Denver based HIM Clothing has been making some impressive menswear accessories for a while now. Several years ago I stumbled across the brand and met with cofounder, Hugh Hartigan. Now, there are a handful of people making ties in Colorado today and I’m no stranger to vintage and cotton neck wear. When I first had the chance to inspect one of HIM Clothing’s ties, the first thing I did was flip it over and look at the construction. It immediately became clear that this company knows how to make ties. They’d be a great pick for the Top of the Town accessories category.

Read the BE Featured Company blog post on HIM Clothing here.

HIM Clothing and the 5280 top of the town voting