Southwest Capital Bank

“Our family is heavily intertwined with not just this institution but New Mexico as an institution” passionately said by Greg Levenson, third generation owner of the local bank Southwest Capital bank. Greg inherited the family business that originally his grandfather, S.D Levenson, and other investors took over in the 1960’s. S.D. immigrated to west Texas and became a traveling salesman. While traveling for work, he often would stop in local New Mexican communities which he would eventually fall in love with. With that love, S.D. decided to move his family to New Mexico and start a life there after purchasing the bank with other investors.  The love for these communities continues today with Greg. Greg explains how the acronym C.A.R.E is important to his bank. C, which stands for community, is very important. Living in the community, being a part of their lives, and understanding the locals needs help stand them apart from other banks. A, which stands for accountability, and knowing your neighbors are giving you their life savings and in trusting you to do the right thing. R, for relationships, and personally know your customers. He understands his customers’ abilities and reputations. Knowing his customers personally goes hand in hand with E, Entrepreneurial Spirit. Greg often helps locals start their businesses with giving them funding, assistance, etc. even if they lack credit. Greg and his bank strides to help local businesses.

 

Greg states that “it is important to me that New Mexico is a place that people want to live because I got two little people that I want to live here.” Greg further explains his hopes that his children one day, who are currently still in grade school, will eventually take over the family business and become the fourth generation to work at the bank. Like his children, Greg was born and raised in New Mexico. His first job was with his family’s bank at the age of 10. He would later go away for college, but then come back home within 30 days of graduating. Greg voiced “I love New Mexico! I think New Mexico is the land of enchantment.” He explains that although there is some things New Mexicans can change and make better, New Mexico is a great place for entrepreneurs and there is “tremendous” opportunities here. There are more things to love about New Mexico. The food, the four different seasons, and particularly the culture. The culture is unique to the world and specifically the United States. Greg loves his community and especially the people who live in it. As a banker, he is honored to help his community and to be a part of their everyday lives. He ends with “I think the opportunity is here and there is an opportunity across the board. An opportunity to make a difference for those who want to be involved.”

Randy Asselin - Rock Tops Founder

Rock Tops Digital Media

Originally from New Mexico, Randy Asselin owner of Rock Tops Digital Media and Rock Tops Food Trays, had his sights on living in different parts of the United States. Randy found himself moving to Hawaii and then Arizona for career opportunities. He then came back to Albuquerque for just a visit when he found himself staying instead. In Albuquerque he founded his companies Rock Tops Food Trays and Rock Tops Digital Media, which creates mobile apps for businesses throughout the United States. A true entrepreneur, Randy is on several boards and is a mentor to other entrepreneurs.  For anyone seeking to move to New Mexico to start a business, Randy’s advice would be to study the market for your product or service and find your early customers outside of New Mexico. New Mexico only has about 2 million people in the state and this sampling size may be too small to truly understand if your product or service will be successful. When you do find your target audience, Randy explains that New Mexico is a good place to start a business that has a “national appeal.” Albuquerque has a very low cost of living which in turn will be a “huge” advantage for entrepreneurs. A new company has to have staying power to be around long enough to give your product or service a chance to succeed. With high cost of operations or high cost of living, a new company can go through their funding quicker than planned and will ultimately fail. So with the low cost of living, a company can have a longer staying power compared to other places in the United States to give their company a chance to get off the ground. Randy describes Albuquerque having a “vibrant start up community” and “a lot of great community networking resources” as additional positives for starting a business in New Mexico. Within the small community, it is easier to connect with local business leaders. Randy found when developing his mobile apps business, it was not as complicated to execute his business model because he was able to speak directly with business owners or business decision makers. It was not difficult for him to evolve his business in the local community because of this access.

Overall, Randy not only believes that starting a business in Albuquerque will be an advantage for entrepreneur’s but the city as a whole will provide an amazing quality of life. The city pushes for an active lifestyle, with plentiful trails to enjoy hiking and cycling or even skiing and snowboarding during the winter being minutes away. There is great food, an “incredible microbrew scene”, and a rich culture that you can experience in Albuquerque to give you an enjoyable lifestyle.

Greg Levenson

Greg Levenson is the third-generation owner of the local Southwest Capital Bank. “Our family is heavily intertwined with not just this institution but New Mexico as an institution.” Greg inherited the family business from his grandfather, S.D Levenson, who purchased the bank in the 1960s. S.D. Levenson immigrated to west Texas and became a traveling salesman. During his work, often stopped by local New Mexican communities which eventually captured his heart. Inspired by that love, S.D. decided to move his family to New Mexico and start a new life there, purchasing the bank with other investors. That love for the community continues today with Greg Levenson. Greg explains how the C.A.R.E acronym describes his business approach. C, which stands for community, is very important. Living in the community, being a part of their lives, and understanding the locals needs help stand them apart from other banks. A, which stands for accountability, and knowing your neighbors are giving you their life savings and in trusting you to do the right thing. R, for relationships, and personally know your customers. Knowing his customers personally goes hand in hand with E, the Entrepreneurial Spirit. Greg often helps local start-ups get off their feet and start running with funding, resources, and assistance. Greg and his bank focus their efforts on helping local businesses.

Greg states that “it is important for me that New Mexico is a place that people want to live, because I’ve got two little people that I want to see live here.” Greg explains that he hopes his children, who are currently still in grade school, will eventually take over the family business and become the fourth generation to operate the bank. Like his children, Greg was born and raised in New Mexico. His first job was with his family’s bank at the age of 10. He later traveled away for college, but came home days after graduating. Greg voiced “I love New Mexico! I think New Mexico is the land of enchantment.” He explains that although there are some things New Mexicans can change and make better, New Mexico is a great place for entrepreneurs and there is “tremendous” opportunity here. There are so many things to love about New Mexico: the food, the four distinct seasons, and the culture in particular. New Mexico’s culture is unique in the United States, and there’s no where in the world like it. Greg loves his community and works hard to improve the lives of those around him. As a banker, he is honored to help his community and to be a part of their everyday lives. “I think the opportunity is here, and there is an opportunity across the board – An opportunity to make a difference for those who want to be involved.”

Randy Asselin - Rock Tops Founder

Randy Asselin

Originally from New Mexico, Randy Asselin, owner of Rock Tops Digital Media and Rock Tops Food Trays, had always planned to live in other parts of the United States. Early in his career, Randy ventured all the way to Hawaii and then to Arizona pursuing business opportunities. He finally came back to visit Albuquerque, and quickly found himself laying the foundations of a very successful business.

Albuquerque is home to his new company Rock Tops Digital Media, which creates mobile apps for businesses throughout the United States. A committed entrepreneur, Randy serves on several company boards and is a mentor to other local business leaders. To anyone considering New Mexico as the home for their business, Randy’s advice is to study the market for your product or service and establish your first customers outside of New Mexico. Since New Mexico only has a population of about 2 million, the sample size may be too small to determine if your product or service will be successful. When you do find your target audience, Randy explains that New Mexico is a good place to start a business that has a “national appeal.”

With a lower than average cost-of-living, Albuquerque offers a “huge” advantage for entrepreneurs. A start-up company needs to establish itself immediately in order to be around long enough to give your product or service a chance to succeed. In states with a high cost of operations, a new company can exhaust their funding quickly and struggle to succeed. With Albuquerque’s low cost of living, a company can establish longer staying power compared to other cities in the United States and give their company a chance to excel.

Randy describes Albuquerque as having a “vibrant start up community” with “a lot of great community networking resources.” With the city’s close-knit community, it is easier for entrepreneurs to connect with local business leaders. Randy found that when developing his mobile app development company, it was much more simple to execute his business model, because he was able to speak directly with business owners or business decision makers. It was not difficult for him to evolve his business in the local community thanks to this access.

Randy believes that starting a business in Albuquerque is not only an advantage for enterprising entrepreneurs, but the city as a whole provides an amazing quality of life. The city promotes an active lifestyle with plentiful trails for hiking and cycling or even skiing and snowboarding during the winter. There is great food, an “incredible microbrew scene”, and a rich culture that you can experience in Albuquerque to give you an enjoyable lifestyle.