Creighton Ralls, a proclaimed Jack-of-All-Trades, graduated from Walton College of Business, UofA Fayetteville. His first job was at Ray Winder Field. He has held a variety of jobs including waiting tables, taking white water photos, starting multiple businesses and working in a storage freezer before settling into his present career at The Pyramid Building in downtown Little Rock.
Creighton is committed to the rejuvenation of Little Rock, Arkansas' downtown. More than a decade ago, his family bought and began the mission of restoring the first skyscraper in Little Rock, Arkansas, The Pyramid Building on Second Street. Constructed in 1906, this 10-story building was touted as having numerous modern features, with its steel framing, electric elevators, mail chutes, mosaic tiles, marble and state of the art fireproofing technology.
Creighton's family has renamed the Pyramid Building to simply Pyramid Place, and rightly so. His new place has residences, rentals, art gallery, fitness studio, conference facility, wine cellar and more. Here he oversees condominium sales and rentals and manages the different retail venues on the first floor.
Listen to the podcast to learn:
Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[0:00:07.9] CC: Welcome to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show offers listeners firsthand insight and the starting and running the business, the ups and downs of risk taking and the commonalities of successful people. Connect with Kerry through her candid and informative weekly blog where you’ll read and may comment on her chronicling of life as an entrepreneur.
Now, it’s time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:41.9] KM: Thank you Chris. Like Chris said, I’m Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get up in your business, I just put all those really tricky words in the opening there like chronicling.
[0:00:50.0] CC: I saw that, I was kind of going like -
[0:00:53.4] KM: You can do that, yeah.
[0:00:55.0] CC: I should have proof read.
[0:00:57.3] KM: Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice? Professional over there doesn’t think you need to do any of that. Before we start, I want to introduce the people at the table, we have, you just heard him and who I was just giving a hard time to, Chris Canon, my co-host who will be managing the board, he’ll be taking your calls and he’s keeping it real. Say hello Chris.
[0:01:15.1] CC: Hello.
[0:01:15.3] KM: And recording our show today to make a podcast available next week is our technician Jason Malik from Arise Studio in Conway, Arkansas, he is bringing a lot of professionalism down here, we’ve got a soundboard, what’s that thing he’s got up behind us?
[0:01:27.7] CC: That is called a sound wall.
[0:01:29.8] KM: We got a sound wall.
[0:01:30.8] CC: Kind of the buffer the sound in here.
[0:01:32.5] KM: First time I ever seen that. If right now you’re sitting at your computer, you might want to watch us live on flagandbbanner.com’s Facebook page, it’s kind of fun to see what goes on behind the scenes and you can see my guest waving to the guys behind the wall. It’s reality radio, you know? Just keeping it real, it’s my favorite way to go.
If for some reason, you miss any part of the show or want to hear it again, there’s a way and Chris is going to tell you how.
[0:02:03.3] CC: Listen to all UIYB interviews by going the flagandbanner.com and clicking on Radio Show. There, you’ll find our podcast and links to resources you heard on each show. Stay up to date by joining our email list or like us on Facebook to get an early sneak peak of each week’s upcoming guest.
[0:02:24.1] KM: Thank you Chris. This show, Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy began as a platform for me, a small business owner and a guest to pay forward our experiential knowledge in a conversational way.
Originally, my team and I thought it would appeal to entrepreneurs and want to be entrepreneurs but it seems to have a wider audience appeal because after all, who isn’t inspired by every day people’s American-made stories. It’s no secret that successful people work hard but another common trait is underneath their exterior is the heart of a teacher. They’re good at communicating and they love paying forward their knowledge.
Another discovery I find interesting is that most of my guest have a spiritual bent they believe in higher power, thus, enabling them to be risk takers and last, this next discovery really caught me by surprise and that is that the consideration that the business, business, business, business, business, in of itself is creative.
My guest today, Mr. Creighton Ralls as a creative, self-proclaimed jack of all trades, after graduating from the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, he sold his young career oats traveling, waiting tables, and photographing white water in Colorado, before coming back to Arkansas and joining the family business of overseeing condominium sales and retail rentals at Pyramid Place in downtown Little Rock Arkansas.
Pyramid Place, once known as the pyramid building is located on 2nd street and was built in 1906 and are you ready for this? Was Arkansas first skyscraper. Standing a whopping 10 stories high and at the time, causing quite a stir to passer byers who openly fretted for the safety of the workers and it was written about in the Arkansas Democrat.
The history of this building is fascinating and I’ll let Creighton tell us all about it. It’s a pleasure to welcome to the table, a family friend and jack of all trades, Mr. Creighton Ralls.
[0:04:21.4] CR: Thank you. Good afternoon, thank you for having me.
[0:04:24.1] KM: You’re so welcome. I met your sister, I was saying this before we went on. I met your sister Jen first, she’s a friend of my daughter’s. I met your brother Rolly second, he’s a friend of my daughter’s. I met your Barber the next, she worked on the Clinton administration, Clinton campaign, right?
[0:04:39.7] CR: She did, that’s correct.
[0:04:41.4] KM: She’s a friend of my mother in law and then I met you. Say it again.
[0:04:45.9] CR: Hi mom.
[0:04:48.2] KM: Let’s talk about your family a little bit because you have a very modern and a very blended family like so many people today do, tell us about your childhood a little bit, what it was like growing up?
[0:05:00.7] CR: Well, I grew up here in Little Rock. I spent my whole youth in Little Rock, grew up in West Little Rock. You know, we would rarely venture downtown you know? I’m pretty young 42 but back in the 80s, people didn’t really come downtown much so I didn’t even know how wonderful downtown was until we’d come to farmer’s markets and I guess we used to have hoop fest and you know, my father worked almost close to downtown and then my mother when she became a partner at Baird Kurtz and Dobson, they were located in what’s now the Union Plaza Building and that was the first skyscraper experience that I really had.
I think that was on like the 16th floor and then they moved over to what then was First Commercial Bank building which is now the regency building and of course up on the top floor, they’ve got the Little Rock Club which I think back, it used to be called Jack and Susan’s restaurant up there.
You could see forever so I’ve always loved the – loved tall buildings and loved downtown and urban living but you know, back to my youth in growing up, you know, we did have a mixed and fairly – I don’t know if it was modern family but you know, mom and dad both worked, were both professionals and yeah –
[0:06:18.7] KM: I thought your dad was in the military, you said he worked downtown?
[0:06:20.9] CR: He was in the military. My dad had an interesting life and career. He was in the military, he went to WestPoint, graduated 1955 and he ended up getting a PHD, at I think George Washington University while he was serving at Pentagon. During the Vietnam War and after he passed out, you know, was passed up so many times, I think for like colonel or something like that, he ended up becoming a college professor.
[0:06:47.5] KM: Wow, really?
[0:06:47.8] CR: He is a Professor of Economics at the University of Arkansas and that’s where I think he and my mother met in Fayetteville and then they ended up getting married in 1975 and he moved to Little Rock, he commuted for a while and still taught and then he started a business as an economic consultant for attorneys so he would do expert witness work, evaluation on lost property, whether that’s human property or real physical property.
[0:07:10.4] KM: What an interesting guy, did not know that about your father. He died early too.
[0:07:15.5] CR: He did.
[0:07:15.5] KM: How old were you?
[0:07:15.6] CR: Cancer got him. I was in high school, I was 13 years old.
[0:07:19.4] KM: What a critical -
[0:07:20.9] CR: Yeah, cancer sucks but yeah.
[0:07:24.0] KM: That long ago, it was not – the survival rate was not as good.
[0:07:26.8] CR: No, and he had melanomas. Skin cancer so – I think it was carcinoma or one of the nomas, the really mean nomas. It was a less survivable cancer.
[0:07:37.9] KM: Was he out in the desert or anything for his work in the military? Do you think the exposure during the military - was he ever out in the field?
[0:07:45.7] CR: Well, he was but you know, I don’t think people really lathered up much with sunscreen back then. I’m a very big proponent of it.
[0:07:53.4] KM: I bet you are.
[0:07:55.7] CR: Yeah, my children don’t go outside unless there’s –
[0:07:57.2] KM: Your mother remarried?
[0:07:58.8] CR: She did. She married my stepfather, James Freeman, he’s a nice gentleman.
[0:08:04.8] KM: Then did they have – did you get a half brother out of that or did you just gain stepbrothers and sisters?
[0:08:12.0] CR: Jen and Michael are my two steps.
[0:08:15.9] KM: Steps?
[0:08:16.3] CR: Yeah.
[0:08:18.6] KM: Then Rolly is –
[0:08:20.9] CR: Rolly is my brother.
[0:08:21.7] KM: Okay, let me see if I got this right because I know your whole family is –
[0:08:24.4] CR: My mother and father, Rolly and I and then Jen and Michael, my stepfather James and my mother.
[0:08:30.7] KM: Okay, there’s four of you?
[0:08:32.3] CR: There’s four of us, well, three now.
[0:08:33.4] KM: Two his? Two hers?
[0:08:34.4] CR: Yes, and we’ve lost my younger brother.
[0:08:36.3] KM: Then recently, your brother, our family friend Rolly passed away, that’s not been very long ago.
[0:08:43.7] CR: It will be four years this year.
[0:08:44.5] KM: He’s pretty young guy.
[0:08:46.1] CR: He was, great person.
[0:08:48.5] KM: He was and you work with your sister, I think?
[0:08:50.4] CR: I do. It’s a family business that we have now and it’s been interesting, I’ve had a lot of work experiences in my life and family businesses are pretty awesome but they’re also as you know, it’s an adventure every day, right?
[0:09:04.3] KM: All business is an adventure, that’s why I love it. It’s problem solving 101, what I did learn though is don’t firefight, be proactive and know what’s coming before it gets there, I don’t like that firefighting business.
[0:09:16.9] CR: Putting out fires is tough.
[0:09:17.6] KM: That’s the part I don’t like.
[0:09:19.0] CR: It’s tough.
[0:09:20.0] KM: I like kind of forecasting.
[0:09:21.5] CR: The men and women that fight fires ask them, it’s real tough. Do you ever get to meet them? Do you ever have a fire alarm go off every so often?
[0:09:28.0] KM: Yeah, they come down.
[0:09:28.6] CR: As a building owner.
[0:09:29.4] KM: Yeah, they come down all the time and check it up. They really just come down to see the Dreamland Ballroom, all the fire guys are like you know, we got to make calls this afternoon, let’s go down the Dreamland Ballroom and walk around, it’s a cool little building. I’m surprised they don’t’ that at your Pyramid Place.
[0:09:42.5] CR: They actually came and we had a little party going on and one of our apartments got pretty full. This was only about three weeks ago maybe and somebody accidentally hit the stove and there was a piece of paper on it and it caught on fire.
The alarm went off at about 9 PM on a Friday night.
[0:09:59.9] KM: One of your residents was having a party?
[0:10:01.6] CR: They were, which is, it happens every so often, yeah, people party, that’s great. Fire department came and we went to investigate the fire and one of the young ladies asked if they were the strippers and –
[0:10:17.8] KM: I love her.
[0:10:18.9] CR: I did too, I thought that was great but kudos to our Little Rock fire department, gentleman that came, they started to strip. They did not follow through completely with it but they did give – they started to go with the flow so they had a fun time, they do a really good job and when they show up, they’re 100% engaged if there really is a fire, we’re going to be fine.
[0:10:45.4] KM: Yeah, that’s good.
[0:10:46.5] CR: They do much better than I do at putting out fires.
[0:10:49.1] KM: In the next segment, we’re going to talk about how your building, when it was built was boasting about fireproof which I think is really – it was the technology, it was state of the art technology for being fireproof or at least that’s what the y put in the paper in 1907 when they were opening the doors. That’s the next segment. Let’s talk about you going to college.
I didn’t realize your daddy was in economics professor at college, is that why you went to Fayetteville and why you studied at the Walton School of Business?
[0:11:15.2] CR: Well, you know, I got my undergraduate degree at University of Central Arkansas and I had always –
[0:11:22.0] KM: I thought you went to Fayetteville?
[0:11:22.8] CR: I got my graduate degree at Fayetteville.
[0:11:24.5] KM: I’m with you.
[0:11:26.3] CR: I’d always wanted to go to the University of Arkansas and I don’t think I was – had enough self-discipline to go as an undergraduate. I’d probably still be trying to get my undergraduate degree today.
[0:11:36.2] KM: I agree, I’m with you, I understand.
[0:11:38.8] CR: But, when I decide that it would be good to that idea to get a graduate degree in business, it’s top notch institution and it’s a great university and I’m a proud supporter of it.
[0:11:53.1] KM: Yeah you are.
[0:11:55.6] CR: That’s funny.
[0:11:55.5] KM: We’re going to talk about that.
[0:11:57.1]CR: I do sit on the dean’s academic adviser council at the Walton College and we meet twice a year and its’ a great group of professionals and –
[0:12:05.1] KM: Harvard teacher.
[0:12:06.6] CR: You know, I thought long and hard about maybe who knows five, seven years from now, if PHD would be something I’d be interested in but you know, my hands are full right now.
[0:12:16.7] KM: You got two babies?
[0:12:18.4] CR: Yeah, I’d love to teach, I mean, it would be, I don’t know, I’d love teaching people every day something. If you had a curriculum to deliver to young people and maybe impact their lives on top of that, I think there’s a great ability to do something with, I don’t know, to carry forward with your life.
[0:12:35.3] KM: learn a lot about you.
[0:12:37.5] CR: Altruistic streak that I try to not use too much.
[0:12:43.4] KM: You graduated from college, didn’t use your degree, went to work.
[0:12:47.6] CR: Initially I didn’t use my – I don’t know, I think I’ve used my degrees, I learned a lot but –
[0:12:55.5] KM: You went to photograph.
[0:12:57.0]CR: I did take photographs of white water.
[0:13:00.2] KM: What was the name of the river you were on?
[0:13:02.4] CR: I think it’s called the Payat, they’re up in Idaho.
[0:13:06.0] KM: That was Colorado.
[0:13:06.6] CR: There’s a group out there in Idaho and right, north of Boise, some amazing white water and –
[0:13:13.8] KM: Did you lead tours?
[0:13:15.0] CR: No, a friend of mine, a family friend, he graduated from college and got a little bit of seed money and this was in – I want to say like 2001 or two and so digital cameras, nice digital cameras were just a big thing. He figured out a need that people were coming doing tours and none of the companies were taking photographs on these rivers and they were pumping people through.
He figured out if he took photos or if we took photos and ran thumb drives up and down the river system to the store at the end and then caught people coming out of the water and say hey, come down here and take a look and brought them thumbnails, that they would – and sure enough, they stopped and would buy $30 photographs and we print them out and cut them out.
[0:13:57.7] KM: How long did you do that?
[0:13:59.1] CR: We did that for a whole summer, it was a lot of fun. I like kayaking and outdoors, it was kind of a dream job for –
[0:14:08.1] KM: You paid for your hobby?
[0:14:11.1] KM: What made you decide to come back to Little Rock?
[0:14:14.3] CR: Well, you know, this is a long story coming back to Little Rock. After I got married, my wife and I, we moved to Seattle and then to spoke hand Washington and I wanted to come back to little rock after our first daughter was born to be closer to my mother and you know, have the grandparent experience and we’d already been out in Washington for a long period of time and that’s how we came back, we missed our folks.
I mean, our people’s like, we’re from Arkansas, we wanted to be home and we’re very glad that we made that decision. We loved it out in the Pacific Northwest, don’t’ get me wrong but this is where we’re from.
[0:14:49.2] KM: This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Creighton Ralls, owner and overseer of Pyramid Place in downtown Little Rock Arkansas, we’ll talk about the history of the Pyramid building, Little Rock’s first skyscraper. Learn about the business of Airbnb , a business that many of you might be interested in learning.
We’ll talk about art because on the first floor of Pyramid Place is an art gallery, we’ll have him describe his mother’s love of art in the gallery where she sells it. Last, this one cracks me up. His Hambulance, that’s right, you heard me, his Hambulance, it’s an ambulance that he bought and has converted into a razorback tailgating mecca. We’ll be back after the break.
[0:15:32.4] CC: You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago, with only 400 hours, Kerry founded Arkansas flag and banner during the last four decades, the business has grown and changed. Starting with door to door sales then telemarketing, to mail order and catalog sales. Now, a third of their sales come through the internet and this past year, flag and banner added another internet feature. Live chatting.
Over time, Kerry’s business and leadership knowledge grew, as early as 2004, she began sharing her knowledge in her week weekly blog and then in 2009, she founded a nonprofit, friends of dreamland ballroom and then in 2004, starting an in-house publication called brave magazine, who’s next issue is slated for October 2018.
Today, she has branched out into radio with this very production. Podcast and live streaming on facebook Each week, on this show, you’ll hear candid conversations between her and her guest about real world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that we hope you’ll find interesting and inspiring.
If you would like to ask Kerry a question or share your story, send an email to questions with an S at upyourbusiness.org. That’s email@example.com. Or, send her a message on flagandbanner.com’s facebook page.
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Go online for a free quote or drop by our historic show in the 800 west ninth street in Little Rock.
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[0:19:15.9] KM: You’re listening to Up in your business with me, Kerry McCoy. I’m speaking today with Creighton Ralls, owner and overseer of Pyramid Place in downtown Little Rock Arkansas.
Before the break, we talked about Creighton’s life. He’s got a modern blended family, we talked about some of the losses he had with his family and how he wanted to come back to his family that’s still alive and I think that may have to do think with family seem almost more important to you because you feel like you understand how one day it can all be just taken away so quickly.
[0:19:45.1] CR: Sure.
[0:19:45.1] KM: If you haven’t kind of lived through that, sometimes you don’t realize till you get older and you know.
[0:19:52.5] CR: Sure, loss is never fun whatever it is, right?
[0:19:55.4] KM: That’s right.
[0:19:57.1]CR: I think you grow from it.
[0:19:58.8] KM: And you learn, yeah.
[0:20:00.0] CR: Obviously, yeah. Or you can.
[0:20:02.5] KM: Or you can get stuck.
[0:20:04.9] CR: Then you went white water rafting for your profession. Now you’re back home and you are taking care of the pyramid place which your mother bought. Let’s just talk a little bit about some of the cool stuff.
[0:20:17.6] KM: I do want to clarify for our listeners. My family owns the building. I don’t have any money so don’t think that. I just take orders well.
[0:20:30.6] CR: You sound like my son, he walked in the other day and I said, I asked him something and he said, I just do what I’m told, you tell me what to do, my wife tells me what to do, I just do what I’m taught.
[0:20:38.6] KM: It’s easy that way.
[0:20:41.4] CR: God, you’re young, you’re already been trained, you only been married three months and you’re already saying that. That’s pretty good. That save you years of grief.
[0:20:50.3] KM: As you know, I love old buildings and your building is older than mine.
[0:20:53.1]CR: Is ours?
[0:20:55.8] KM: 1916 and yours is 1906. I know it, right? It was built by Judge William Mamaduk Cavanagh, is that who Cavanagh the street in Arkansas in Little Rocks been named after?
[0:21:09.9] CR: It’s my guess, it’s spelled the same so it would be pretty coincidental otherwise.
[0:21:13.5] KM: He owns Southern Trust Company.
[0:21:15.4] CR: That’s right.
[0:21:16.3] KM: When I went to the Arkansas encyclopedia page and read about your building, if anybody wants to do that, there’s an Arkansas encyclopedia page about it. I thought it was interesting that when he bought that building or he bought the land to build it for his Southern Trust Company. He decided to just start a Southern Construction Company.
[0:21:34.8] CR: Pretty smart.
[0:21:36.0] KM: Was his own contractor.
[0:21:37.8] CR: That’s pretty smart.
[0:21:39.8] KM: I thought this was cool too. I’m telling everything about your building like I’m an expert but –
[0:21:46.6]CR: You know almost more than I do. I’m embarrassed.
[0:21:48.7] KM: I kind of wondered about that. I can take George Mann.
[0:21:53.0] CR: I do know about the man, Mr. Mann and the Mann Building and his other work.
[0:21:55.5] KM: Where’s the Mann building.
[0:21:56.4] CR: The man building is at Samantha’s, are you familiar with – not to plug another business or anything.
[0:22:00.4] KM: That’s all right, fine. Samantha’s, yeah.
[0:22:01.3] CR: Wonderful restaurant.
[0:22:02.0] KM: Wonderful restaurant downtown on main street, that’s the Mann Building?
[0:22:04.2] CR: That’s the Mann Building. I assume the same Mann if it’s – are there two N’s there?
[0:22:08.6] KM: Yeah, two N’s.
[0:22:09.8]CR: Got to be the same guy. Then the Boyle building.
[0:22:12.9] KM: He built that one?
[0:22:13.5] CR: That was after the –
[0:22:15.4] KM: What about he did the Arkansas State Capital Building?
[0:22:16.9] CR: Yeah, that was one of them too.
[0:22:18.2] KM: Yeah, we’re talking about these otherwise, well he did the state capital.
[0:22:22.6] CR: He did a pretty good job.
[0:22:24.4] KM: It’s modeled after Washington DC.
[0:22:26.3] CR: It’s beautiful. I like the doors a lot. I like old doors, kind of like everything with the old, beautiful, clouded.
[0:22:33.7] KM: What are those?
[0:22:34.4]CR: Metal doors.
[0:22:33.9] KM: You mean those gold doors?
[0:22:36.2] CR: You see at a lot of the state, well, some of the state buildings and you know, probably most of them have probably been taken over the years if it wasn’t the capital, you know? If there were any of those on the old buildings.
[0:22:46.0] KM: Yeah, they’ve been taken.
[0:22:47.0] CR: Gone.
[0:22:47.3] KM: They stripped everything out of my building when I bought it.
[0:22:49.7] CR: Us too.
[0:22:49.8] KM: How about you?
[0:22:52.2] CR: parts of it, I think we’re taking a lot of it is intact to be honest with you. I think more so than a lot of other buildings. I think part of that is because it’s always been occupied. It’s never been –
[0:23:03.0] KM: vacant.
[0:23:03.2]CR: It’s never been vacant since it opened. There’s always been a tenant.
[0:23:06.6] KM: It would be hard to go in there and raid them fixtures.
[0:23:09.2] CR: There’s a big vault door that I don’t know where it went but I think it’s well before our time.
[0:23:14.0] KM: Well, that brings me to a great thing I read.
[0:23:16.7] CR: Did you find the vault door?
[0:23:18.0] KM: No, but I read this. It said, this is what the Gazette said about your building. Early interpretation and glass and steel design concept, I think that’s one of the firs steel skeletal framings.
[0:23:31.8] CR: It was the first.
[0:23:32.9] KM: Or it was the first.
[0:23:34.1] CR: At least here in Arkansas.
[0:23:35.4] KM: Electric elevators, male shoots, state of the art fire proofing technology that we talked about in the first break, I don’t know what that means.
[0:23:47.3] KM: Is that right?
[0:23:47.4] CR: And steel maybe? I don’t know.
[0:23:49.3] KM: I bet that’s exactly what it was.
[0:23:51.4] CR: Here’s one - Have you heard this one before? It boasted it was burglar proof, fire proof and mob proof vaults.
[0:24:02.4] KM: No, I’ve never heard that, that’s awesome. It’s on the encyclopedia.
[0:24:05.9] CR: What’s the difference between burglars and mobsters, we’re going to get in trouble probably.
[0:24:09.9] KM: Well, I know we’re going to get shot but burglar proof, fire proof and mob proof vaults. You’re talking about the vault, you think that’s what they’re talking about?” Because you can’t –
[0:24:19.3] CR: Yes, now we do still have the large vault that we believe was in the bank lobby is still there and intact and so if you – there’s Hanaroo Sushi bar there, there’s one door there.
[0:24:31.9] KM: On the first floor of your building?
[0:24:32.8]CR: On the first floor, in the lobby, yes, you can actually come see the old bolt doors are still there. They’re huge but the one in the basement which I think it’s all guided and whatnot and I’m pretty sure that that was where the safety deposit boxes were kept. That door is not there, the inner doors are still there and we keep it locked and use it for some storage but –
[0:24:52.9] KM: In the basement.
[0:24:53.1] CR: But somebody stole the big, huge, I don’t even know how they would have gotten it out.
[0:24:57.2] KM: They probably sold it, you can’t steal that.
[0:24:59.6] CR: Chopped it apart.
[0:25:01.4] KM: And sold it? Would have taken a week to get it out of there probably.
[0:25:04.6] CR: Probably.
[0:25:05.6] KM: You think because it was built by an insurance company that they probably kept all their money in there.
[0:25:10.0] CR: Yes. Well, it was a bank and then an insurance company so there was a lot of cash at some point and who knows, maybe precious metals, I’m not sure.
[0:25:18.0] KM: In the basement of all this though, there’s still a big vault down there?
[0:25:20.1]CR: There’s a huge vault in the basement and there’s –
[0:25:22.0] KM: How big?
[0:25:23.5] CR: About 400 square feet. That’s why I think it was safety deposit boxes.
[0:25:27.3] KM: That’s definitely a walk in vault.
[0:25:28.9] CR: It is, There are two vaults in our basement, both of them you can walk in to and then there’s one vault up on the lobby level as well.
[0:25:36.7] KM: But the one on the lobby level is missing?
[0:25:39.1] CR: No, it’s got its original doors, you can actually – somebody’s put glass on the inside, you can see all the moving parts.
[0:25:44.0] KM: You get to see all that if come visit you?
[0:25:45.7] CR: You can, I’ll show it to you, yes.
[0:25:48.4] KM: I want to see that.
[0:25:48.2]CR: I have to open the door up and then you can see on the inside. It’s really cool.
[0:25:50.6] KM: Is it locked?
[0:25:51.9] CR: No, we got the combination, it functions. We actually have artwork inside of that like fine pieces of art. Yes, inside of there. It’s definitely fire proof, it’s all cinder blocked and it’s pretty solid.
[0:26:05.5] KM: I think that’s called mob proof vault.
[0:26:07.6] CC: It’s about the size of my apartment.
[0:26:09.5] KM: Is that right? 400 square feet?
[0:26:11.8] CC: That’s maybe two of them.
[0:26:16.2] KM: That’s the size of your bedroom.
[0:26:17.1] CC: Yeah, pretty much.
[0:26:18.5] KM: Let’s see. Then I wrote down the design and I don’t know what this means, classical revival style, vertical columns.
[0:26:26.7] KM: Stone corners, mosaic white towels, white marble base boards which I’ve seen. You shaped, design to maximize the natural lighting and the fresh air circulation.
[0:26:39.7] CR: Which is really neat. As we’ve done some demo and uncovered some of the old heritage and pieces the building I guess. We found where on the columns, they had installed plugs to plug fans in higher up I guess for the summer time to circulate the area and all the windows open and that horseshoe shape, they still do. We can let fresh air any time and anytime we want to.
[0:27:01.1] KM: All windows were –
[0:27:02.0] CR: All the windows in the building were.
[0:27:03.3] KM: That’s very unusual.
[0:27:05.1] CR: Which is – it’s really cool. Actually.
[0:27:06.4] KM: Are they new or old?
[0:27:08.1] CR: The windows are new.
[0:27:09.1] KM: How new?
[0:27:11.1]CR: I think 2014, they were replaced so we got great windows but they’re still open, we want to make sure they still open. I mean, you can get great drafts there in the summer time I think that’s why it was built that way and I’ve read something that I didn’t go on your – the same page but I used that newspapers.com and so I’ve read some old articles of about the building and there were people that would even stay there instead of their apartment houses because it was cooler in the summer time higher up.
They would sleep in their offices and the reporters back in the day and then I’ve also read, they had elevator operators to operate the elevators and dogs were not allowed on the elevator apparently. I saw that –
[0:27:56.6] KM: Is that a problem?
[0:27:56.8] CR: Apparently I guess it was. Anyway, that talks about the air coming through so the U shape, it’s pretty unique. People get lost in the building all the time because it’s not a square building.
[0:28:10.6] KM: Was lost there, you had to keep showing me around, I didn’t realize it was U shaped.
[0:28:13.7] CR: It is. It’s like a little horse shoe.
[0:28:17.3] KM: What’s in the center?
[0:28:18.8] CR: The center is open, all the way down, there’s a roof on the lobby level that’s there which is where the mechanical on the top of the roof.
[0:28:27.5] KM: I was going to say, probably hide stuff there.
[0:28:29.3] CR: We hide stuff there. There used to be a lot of pigeons there, they don’t come back anymore.
[0:28:33.0] KM: That’s hard to get done. All right, opened in 1907.
[0:28:37.2] KM: That’s what they tell me, at 3:00 in the afternoon.
[0:28:39.7] CR: It was to the fanfare apparently.
[0:28:43.8] KM: They said thousands of people, now, does that mean 2,000? Does that mean 1,000, all they said on the paper was thousands of people, that’s a lot, I don’t even know how many people were in Arkansas in Little Rock in 1906 to have thousands of people come down to opening.
[0:28:56.0] CR: It’s a spectacle.
[0:28:57.5] KM: And, it went – people continued to continue till past midnight. In horse and buggies, out in midnight.
[0:29:06.1] CR: Which is outstanding.
[0:29:06.5] KM: Coming down to your building.
[0:29:07.6] CR: See it. Just to see this new amazing structure in Little Rock, Arkansas. That was something they’d never seen before.
[0:29:16.6] KM: Yeah.
[0:29:17.2]CR: Little Rock was happening. Still is.
[0:29:20.4] KM: That’s what you think.
[0:29:21.1] CR: Especially over in your block.
[0:29:22.7] KM: Yeah, right. But you do think that, you do believe in Arkansas and what’s happening.
[0:29:27.7] CR: Absolutely.
[0:29:31.6] KM: When that building was built, it kind of made the whole area, the district was dubbed the wall street district of little rock which led to other high-rises coming down there? It’s had lots of owners, I even kind of tried to list all the owners because my building, I don’t know if it had lots of owners or not. I know that when I bought it, the title was a mess.
[0:29:49.7] CR: I’ve heard you say that, that you had a detangle all the –
[0:29:53.1] KM: Leans on it, I don’t know that any have owned it but everybody and her dog had a lean on it for soft – not paying their bills.
[0:30:00.6] CR: How do you free that up?
[0:30:02.0] KM: You hire a lawyer.
[0:30:02.7]CR: Is that – that’s the easy way?
[0:30:05.4] KM: I’d have no idea.
[0:30:05.5] CR: Right.
[0:30:06.6] KM: It takes about six months.
[0:30:07.9] CR: Okay.
[0:30:08.0] KM: Car jacked and noticed, notify everybody that has a lean on it and ask them if they still want the lean and of course all people did. US government and the state of Arkansas both had a lean on it.
[0:30:18.2] CR: They forgave it.
[0:30:19.6] KM: I guess they were so grateful that I bought the doggone thing, they were like, just give it to her. I think probably can’t even remember what the lean was for, probably back taxes I’m sure.
[0:30:30.4] CR: Can I ask questions to you too?
[0:30:31.6] KM: Yeah, come on.
[0:30:34.8]CR: You obviously have fallen in love with this old building of yours.
[0:30:38.0] KM: Old man, old biulding.
[0:30:40.9] CR: What is it about it? I mean, I’m not into all men and –
[0:30:45.6] KM: Like a whiskey. No, you’re like a whiskey too much.
[0:30:48.0] CR: I used too.
[0:30:48.1] KM: You like old money.
[0:30:49.6] CR: I like old money. Money is – I like any money really but –
[0:30:53.3] KM: Yeah, convenient money.
[0:30:53.1] CR: Like I said, I don’t have any. In that regard, I used to see this as more of a chore, this building that we manage, right? Now I love it. I feel like a mother hen in a way like how do you feel in your building?
[0:31:09.8] KM: When did you turn the corner?
[0:31:11.2]CR: you know, it was just in the last probably in the last 18 months.
[0:31:16.2] KM: Because I have seen you in the last, you gave me a tour about a year ago and you were a very proud mama.
[0:31:22.1] CR: Yes. If you had me caught me maybe six months earlier and maybe my frustrations would have shown through but.
[0:31:27.7] KM: What changed?
[0:31:29.0] CR: I don’t know. We didn’t – it’s not that we completed anything but something hit and struck and –
[0:31:34.8] KM: Maybe it’s because you moved in there.
[0:31:38.0] CR: That’s a possibility but I was already
[0:31:40.3] KM: In love?
[0:31:40.8] CR: I was already living there but I mean, it was more, well, it was a love/hate relationship and that turned more into a love relationship but I really feel like that this old building that we have some custodial responsibility to continue its mission, what it was originally so with all that fanfare and we’re trying to make it alive again and make it a center of maybe it’s not a wall street but more, in the center of the arts and something exciting for Little Rock.
We only have one property that we manage and take care of.
[0:32:09.7] KM: It’s this one.
[0:32:10.9]CR: It’s this one and we want it to be the best that it can be.
[0:32:14.2] KM: I think it’s a big responsibility, especially when I read the history of it.
[0:32:19.0] CR: I mean –
[0:32:20.4] KM: Did your mother know it had that history when she bought it?
[0:32:22.8] CR: She did, you know, this is funny. She was pregnant with me in that building, she worked in that building.
[0:32:28.7] KM: We have something in common.
[0:32:30.4] CR: In 1977 I think. I was born 1977, 1975, I don’t know.
[0:32:36.2] KM: She was working in that building out which is probably when she fell in love with it.
[0:32:40.3] CR: Maybe.
[0:32:40.3] KM: She was an accountant for –
[0:32:41.7]CR: I can’t remember the name of the firm but you may have it.
[0:32:44.5] KM: I probably do have it.
[0:32:45.9] CR: She would know, we can text her but –
[0:32:48.0] KM: No.
[0:32:49.1] CR: She’s in a meeting. Bottom line is, yeah, she’s always loved that building I guess. I didn’t know why she loved it, I didn’t even know she was pregnant with me in it until after.
[0:32:59.3] KM: So she was pregnant with you when she worked in that building.
[0:33:02.5] CR: That’s correct.
[0:33:03.2] KM: I was pregnant and now you work for her, so listen to this synchronicity. I was pregnant with my son Mathew when I bought that building and started renovating it and now he works in that building.
[0:33:15.5] CR: Did Mathew tried to get away from it?
[0:33:18.3] KM: Well sure.
[0:33:18.8] CR: Because I did to.
[0:33:19.9] KM: Well he just came back a year ago.
[0:33:21.4] CR: Now does he really love it?
[0:33:22.3] KM: Yes, he loves it. He’s the one that got the grant with the Dreamland Building, he loves it.
[0:33:26.2] CR: So there is something about these prop, again you are pulled to them and you’re compelled to take care of them. I mean they are a piece of history. It’s a piece of Little Rock, they’re a piece of you and eventually as it’s passed on you’ve left this mark in a very short period of time on this building, right?
[0:33:44.0] KM: It is kind of your legacy.
[0:33:45.2] CR: A part of it is yeah and especially with to me I mean it being in a city I love, a state that I love, I think we can leave something nice behind.
[0:33:53.4] KM: We wouldn’t even be talking about Judge Kavanagh who died probably a hundred years ago if he hadn’t renovated that building. So just think, 50 years from now somebody will be sitting in a radio station talking about the Ralls Family.
[0:34:05.0] CR: Well that would be cool.
[0:34:06.8] KM: That would be cool. It went through lots of owners. It had Judge Kavanagh, Paul Insurance Company, First Pyramid Life Insurance, Patrick Associates bought it, William Thomas bought it, CWR Farms bought it, they bought it for cheap because the value downtown went down. They bought it cheaper than anybody else does. It went as high as $2 million and it went down as low as $500,000 and then your mother came in and bought it in 2005.
She came back around to her love of that building, I should have her talk about how much she loves the building probably. I was going to say let’s talk – she says, your mother Barbie is a creative business woman. I have known her for a long time and she describes the purchase and the project of restoring the pyramid place and this is a quote, “It’s a three-fold motivation to make money, save the building and put something back in Little Rock.”
[0:35:01.8] CR: Well I think she has accomplished all of those three things so far.
[0:35:08.1] KM: So now you’re renting in –
[0:35:08.9] CR: And more.
[0:35:09.2] KM: Oh yeah, she has. She’s a very successful woman. Now you are renting this place out.
[0:35:14.4] CR: That’s correct. So we’ve always been renting it out but we built 21 apartments, 21 starting in – I move back here late 2014. So we started in 2015 and we started leasing them in March of this year. So it’s about two and a half –
[0:35:35.0] KM: You mean you weren’t leasing prior to March of this year.
[0:35:37.6] CR: We weren’t leasing apartments no.
[0:35:39.2] KM: Oh, you renting – you were selling condos.
[0:35:40.7] CR: Well office space. Well it is –
[0:35:43.0] KM: Okay, tell us what you are doing down there.
[0:35:44.5] CR: So what we’re doing, we got mixed used building right? So we have arts studios, we have retail, we have art studios, we have an art gallery presence and then we have office space from our third floor up to our seventh floor and then eight, nine, ten and the terrace level are all residential.
[0:36:01.7] KM: Oh.
[0:36:03.7] CR: So it’s mixed used. It’s running all day. We have full service basement on top of that. So we renovated the whole basement. We have a fitness studio down there, bicycle storage, we have regular storage, our mechanical is down there obviously and then we do have plans to put in a nice wine cellar as well.
[0:36:27.0] KM: You started doing Airbnb, you just could not do it could you? You just had to get in there with everybody else.
[0:36:31.8] CR: We did. It has been interesting.
[0:36:33.3] KM: Tell us about that.
[0:36:35.0] CR: It’s been an adventure. It’s fun. We probably had 80 different bookings since March.
[0:36:40.5] KM: 80 Airbnbs, since March.
[0:36:43.0] CR: 80 different unique individuals have come through that building. The majority of them obviously from out of town and a lot of people love it. They say it reminds them of the big city and it’s a good business, also it is a great way to get your brand out and so we started doing it because our website that we were having redone wasn’t finished and we had them ready to lease. We were just like, “Just put them on Airbnb and see what happens.” And there was a weekend in July where we had the 21st units, what we call our terrace unit which is a very large penthouse terrace that the owners used to stay in.
[0:37:27.3] KM: How big is that?
[0:37:27.7] CR: It’s about 3,000 square feet but the other 20 were all full at the same time.
[0:37:35.9] KM: On the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th floor.
[0:37:38.0] CR: On the 8th, 9th and 10th floor, yep in July for a weekend. So between March, nothing. July all 20, we’ve been that busy.
[0:37:49.0] KM: Wow, all Airbnb?
[0:37:49.7] CR: No, it’s a mix. So we have people with five year lease. It’s going to purchase one at the end of the five years.
[0:37:58.1] KM: So you could sell them, lease them or Airbnb them.
[0:38:00.7] CR: Yeah, all of it. So we’ve got a great mix of folks that stay with us and we’ve had people that have been getting treatment at the hospitals or children that are sick and children –
[0:38:14.0] KM: Yeah, that’s right.
[0:38:15.3] CR: And I mean people who have sold their houses, they needed a place to stay as they figure out what are they going to do next. Obviously business travelers, people on vacation, you’d be surprised. I don’t know, I mean we’re downtown but a lot of people come to Little Rock for vacation in the summer time. Yes, we got a lot of vacationers and they go to Central High Museum, they go to the library. They go out to Pinnacle. They like to be outside even though it is hot in the summer but they like to eat –
[0:38:45.6] KM: We have more museums per capital than most cities do.
[0:38:47.8] CR: People like to come to Little Rock to eat downtown. I was surprised by how many people are on vacation and we’ve got a good group of airman too. They come into town, they come into the air force base in Jacksonville to train and they’ve been referring us. So we’ve got some of them that stay with us as well and a gentleman is coming over from France actually here mid-September and staying for six months –
[0:39:14.2] KM: I think you get to meet some really interesting people.
[0:39:16.7] CR: We do and maybe that is part of the reason I’m falling more in love with this property, it is a conduit to meet lots of people and just hear all of these different stories about what people are going – and you are touching a very important part of their lives. It is where they live right? It’s where they sleep, they stay and so we want them to be comfortable and the same thing with the offices too and art. So we just want it to be a place you want to come.
You know you can just let it all go and you can either work, you can sleep, you can live, you can paint, you can sculpt and the building has a great energy to it.
[0:39:49.2] KM: It does and the windows are so light. They’re so open and airy just like you were talking about.
[0:39:53.7] CR: That’s right, lots of natural light. You can have natural air. We’ve got brand new mechanical fit. That was a big deal, air conditioning. We had an old two pipe system that ran water on a loop from the second floor to the 10th floor of the building in two inch pipes. I mean if you could imagine that is a lot of water.
So if one of those pipe has a problem, you’ve got a big problem and so we’ve replaced all the mechanical in the building and that was a project but now, we could be sitting in here and it can be 65 and you can be next door and it could be 75 which is awesome I guess for some people.
[0:40:28.9] KM: Yeah because I don’t think men and women should really like to go with this, I really like it about 85 and Grady likes it about 65.
[0:40:34.8] CR: You are growing spiders. I had a boss like you.
[0:40:38.8] KM: Well skinny girls are cold, I’m sorry.
[0:40:41.4] CR: I use to hate going in her office because if I have to shut the door it was 90 and it would be like summer time and she would have heat coming out of her industry.
[0:40:50.0] KM: No, well that is too hot. All right, this is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Creighton Ralls, owner – I am not supposed to say owner. I should say overseer, you are owner. You are a part of the family of the Pyramid Place in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. We’ll talk about the –
[0:41:05.1] CR: It depends on who’s listening.
[0:41:06.4] KM: Okay, mom don’t listen. We’ll talk about the retail space on the first floor, more specifically the art gallery and learn about the amenities of living downtown and last, we’ll talk about Razorback Tailgating and his recently converted ambulance into a Hambulance, you heard me, Hambulance I love it but first, I want to remind everyone we are broadcasting live every Friday afternoon at 2 PM central time on both KABF 88.3 FM, the voice of the people and flagandbanner.com Facebook page.
And that after one week of the show’s airing, a podcast is made available on all popular listening sites and YouTube. We’d be right back after the break.
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[0:43:47.1] CC: flagandbanner.com is proud to underwrite Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. This weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners first hand insight into starting and running the business plus the ups and downs of risk taking and the commonalities of successful people shared in a conversational interview with Kerry. Along with this radio show, flagandbanner.com publishes a free by annual magazine called Brave.
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[0:44:58.8] KM: Thank you Chris, you are listening to Up In Your Business with me, I am Kerry McCoy and I am speaking today with Creighton Ralls, overseer or Pyramid Place downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. If you’ve got a question, you have about 15 minutes to make a comment on flagandbanner.com Facebook page or write this number down and call.
[0:45:14.9] CC: You need to call 501-433-0088.
[0:45:19.2] KM: Give it again.
[0:45:20.0] CC: 501-433-0088.
[0:45:24.1] KM: And if you’re shy, you can just creep on my weekly blog about life as a small business owner, mother of four, wife to one and that blog is at flagandbanner.com. You can click on the word blog and as I said earlier you can always listen to all of these podcasts. Before the break, we talked about Creighton’s responsibility to preserve the history and integrity of his pyramid place in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas and we talked about your family. You work with your sister too. She’s got an art gallery. If people want to go look at your fabulous website.
[0:45:58.2] CR: I was going to plug that now that we’re back.
[0:46:00.9] KM: Yeah, let’s do that. What is it?
[0:46:02.1] CR: It is www.residences221.com and 221 is in numbers. So residences221.com.
[0:46:12.6] KM: Why is it not Pyramid?
[0:46:13.7] CR: We also have the same line. It is pyramidbldg.com but they go to the same site.
[0:46:20.3] KM: Because I went to Pyramid Building with the building abbreviated, Pyramid Bldg.
[0:46:25.4] CR: pyramidbldg.com or residences221.com, they go to the same page.
[0:46:30.3] KM: Why 221 is that the address on there?
[0:46:31.4] CR: 221 is our address. So our gallery is Gallery 221, residence is 221.
[0:46:37.6] KM: You know I couldn’t find the name of your gallery was on your website. You need to tell your guy. I looked all over and I was going to ask you, what’s the name of the gallery?
[0:46:43.5] CR: Gallery 221.
[0:46:44.5] KM: It doesn’t say right on your website.
[0:46:45.6] CR: Well we need to work on that, thank you.
[0:46:48.2] KM: Let me send you an email.
[0:46:49.3] CR: No you just did it on the radio so I am pretty sure I can find it, thanks.
[0:46:54.0] KM: I hope your sister is listening. She is going to go what? Or at least now look, let’s just –
[0:46:59.2] CR: So should I plug our web developer now went as much of that.
[0:47:03.2] KM: So I should say that I am not the best reader so it could be my mistake but I couldn’t find it and there is a lot of people out there like me. So that was the first question, what is the name of the gallery, Gallery 221. I love that and your sister works there and your mother has been collecting art for a thousand years. She’s had a warehouse full of art. Does she have a theme to the art she collects? Is there a genre?
[0:47:29.0] CR: No, it’s everything. It is unbelievable. You know she’s focused in certain areas I think and she like a lot of the WPA era art works. The Works Projects Administration that was during the great depression. So a lot of artists were trained as part of the WPA program, of course I am blanking but you will see beautiful murals that were public works as well done as part of the WPA program.
[0:48:00.4] KM: Oh yeah, we had somebody on the radio talking about those murals.
[0:48:03.1] CR: The Chrysler Building is a good example. If you go in the lobby, the Chrysler Building in New York City, the beautiful murals are all WPA pieces.
[0:48:10.3] KM: Yes which I think the government paid local artists to go around and pain these murals and –
[0:48:15.4] CR: They did to give them jobs.
[0:48:16.5] KM: To give them jobs and did they paint paintings that your mother could buy.
[0:48:19.3] CR: And they would train them. Yes and so she’s got a lot of drawings and paintings and different things and she knows –
[0:48:23.8] KM: That they would sketch up before they put it up or something.
[0:48:25.7] CR: Well there was some of that and then there is also artist that just produce pure works of art, fine art.
[0:48:30.7] KM: Are those expensive?
[0:48:31.8] CR: I don’t know. I don’t buy them.
[0:48:33.5] KM: Oh come on.
[0:48:34.5] CR: But yes, some of them are depending on who the artist is and I think she’s got a very good eye and she’s done a lot of research and it’s a passion for her.
[0:48:47.4] KM: It is a passion for her because she is an accountant.
[0:48:50.0] CR: She is by trading yes professionally.
[0:48:53.0] KM: A very professional top quality accountant who’s hired and travels to do accounting work for big dogs.
[0:48:59.0] CR: That was previous to her retiring yes, that’s what she would – I am not sure if she is really retired but supposedly.
[0:49:09.5] KM: So did she always know she wanted to collect this art?
[0:49:12.5] CR: I think she has known her entire life. She has always loved art.
[0:49:15.2] KM: How many pieces would you say you have?
[0:49:16.6] CR: Oh man, I’d say ball park between two and three thousand that she’s got rat holed somewhere.
[0:49:24.4] KM: How many are on display?
[0:49:26.1] CR: Well she found the internet is the problem. Throughout the building I would say there’s probably between the gallery and other spaces at least a 100 pieces.
[0:49:38.0] KM: So she decorates the property with her art.
[0:49:41.3] CR: Especially on the residence level, less public areas otherwise you’ve got to nail it down pretty good just in case right? But it definitely compliments the space as well.
[0:49:54.3] KM: And so if you want to go buy some of her art, it’s for sale?
[0:49:57.6] CR: It’s for sale, everything in the building is for sale.
[0:50:00.7] KM: For sale, but the hours are?
[0:50:06.0] CR: The hours for the gallery are from 11 to 6, Monday through Friday and then by appointment and anytime we’ll do an appointment, get some wine out for you and you can look at it. We’ve got multiple galleries. We’ve got the gallery on the first floor, the retail and then we also have galleries up on the second floor with our art studios up there and –
[0:50:25.2] KM: And what’s an
[inaudible] you can come there and paint?
[0:50:27.0] CR: Well you rent studios. So we have a whole floor of art studios that are all rented. It is the best rental business that we do and right now, I am working on two thirds of the third floor will also be art studios when I am finished and I’ve got three out of the 14 pre-leased.
[0:50:42.2] KM: Because the lighting is so good?
[0:50:43.4] CR: The lighting is great and I just don’t think there is a structured environment for artists who can have a studio and the set up that we have in Little Rock that I know of and it is a good community. I think that they all know each other kind of – well they have been there a long time and we really love our artists and our artist’s tenants.
They are a big part of what we do and I mean they are critical to what we think that building is about and what we think that space is about and we are big supporters of those tenants and so we’re actually going to do something pretty fun I think. Hopefully it launches around January. I don’t want to –
[0:51:24.5] KM: You are not going to tell me.
[0:51:25.7] CR: Well I want to tell you but I don’t think so, yeah. Well it is more fun to find a surprise right?
[0:51:31.1] KM: He is a tease.
[0:51:32.1] CR: I can’t say. It will involve maybe beverages, alcoholic or morning beverages and maybe some food and things and so the gallery is based on the first floor. It is going to change a little bit.
[0:51:48.5] KM: So the first floor has got an art gallery that’s with art for sale that you could make appointments or go save from 11 to 6 days, your sister runs it how often do they change the art up?
[0:51:58.2] CR: She rotates it out, we have rotating shows once a month. So we’ll change our windows and change up some of the artists.
[0:52:05.6] KM: So you just walk by and look at the windows.
[0:52:06.8] CR: You can come out or at the windows, come inside and chat with us –
[0:52:10.3] KM: And then there is a restaurant there on the first floor.
[0:52:14.6] CR: There is a restaurant. There is a sushi restaurant, Hanaroo Sushi Bar.
[0:52:17.3] KM: Is that good?
[0:52:17.7] CR: It’s good.
[0:52:18.4] KM: I love sushi, okay and then –
[0:52:19.4] CR: Mr. Yu is awesome, he actually owns that. So we are a horizontal property regime. So he’s bought that condo unit there.
[0:52:25.7] KM: Horizontal property regime.
[0:52:28.2] CR: That is HPR for short.
[0:52:29.8] KM: I have never heard that term in my life.
[0:52:31.3] CR: Which is how you can cut out portions of your building for sale if it is selling that way. So it is a zoning thing. So he owns Hanaroo and he owns that part of the building. We also have a taco. It is called Wicked Taco Factory, WTF I think it’s kind of cute and it is a local couple. Well they are opening it, they are working on opening, I am hoping it’s open in about 90 days but they have a contractor and getting the permits and doing all of the things. So they had a food truck and then they decided to – sorry my watch.
[0:53:09.0] KM: We turned your phone off but we forgot to turn your watch off. Chris my god this is get smart. Well get smart, I guess that is a home joke, nobody know what that show is.
[0:53:19.6] CR: I know who he is, Maxwell Smart.
[0:53:22.0] KM: Oh you do know, okay.
[0:53:23.4] CR: He talk through his nose a lot I think, right?
[0:53:26.4] KM: I think so. So on the first floor we got two restaurants, an art gallery and a vault.
[0:53:33.7] CR: And a vault yeah.
[0:53:35.3] KM: Okay cool.
[0:53:35.7] CR: Yeah and some elevators.
[0:53:36.8] KM: And three elevators, okay and then we go up to the second floor and third floor are all artist studios.
[0:53:44.1] CR: Are all artist studios that’s correct.
[0:53:45.9] KM: Four through seventh are all office space.
[0:53:48.1] CR: That’s correct.
[0:53:48.4] KM: With mail shoots and then eighth, ninth and 10th are residents but the 10th floor is almost all taken.
[0:53:58.6] CR: That’s correct, two of the penthouses, there’s three penthouses too.
[0:54:03.5] KM: And then on the top floor because you are now calling on the 11th floors because on the top floor, you get a spa. You got an outdoor living space.
[0:54:07.5] CR: We got a patio out there, right so we call that our rooftop terrace. We got a hot tub up there, a lounge area, full grill, full bathroom. It is really nice like tonight would be perfect to go through and have a glass of wine or something.
[0:54:23.0] KM: Why would tonight be perfect?
[0:54:24.0] CR: The weather is great now, you know? It is cooling off finally in the evenings.
[0:54:27.5] KM: Why else?
[0:54:28.6] CR: Why else? Oh, it’s full moon.
[0:54:29.3] KM: There you go, that was 14 on it.
[0:54:32.2] CR: Yeah it’s all full.
[0:54:32.9] KM: You are the one who even told me that, I didn’t even know.
[0:54:35.4] CR: It would be a beautiful night with the view from our rooftop.
[0:54:38.9] KM: We’ve only got a few minutes and I am going to tell everybody just real quick. I am just going to do a station to tell you that you are listening to Up In Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I am speaking to David Creighton Ralls owner and overseer of Pyramid Place in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas and we are now going to talk about your Hambulance. You came to work for me and met my son who graphic wrapped your ambulance that you bought used.
[0:55:03.3] CR: And I almost broke your garage.
[0:55:04.8] KM: That is another story and sorry to almost break your ambulance. I don’t know which one and – I think we’re tied. So the ambulance, you bought it used. The person who has no money has this crazy hobby. He goes out and buys ambulances and converted it into?
[0:55:20.7] CR: All ambulances are cheap by the way.
[0:55:22.4] KM: Are they really? Okay, tell us all about it. Tell our listeners all about it, they are not going to believe this.
[0:55:26.4] CR: It is a fun story, so I’ve got some buddies that we tailgate and go to Razorback games and all of that and one of them had seen an ambulance, a converted ambulance at a professional game. I think maybe Houston or something like that and so threw the idea out there and go hit Craig’s List and boom, up in cab, there is an ambulance for sale. So we go and look at it and the Bryant, I think it was a Bryant Police Department, somebody already had it and tricked it out and made it like a surveillance vehicle.
So everything was up to date, all the electrical was but they didn’t drive it so much. So we buy this thing, it’s great and we were like, “Yeah let’s take it to Fayetteville,” this was probably three or four years ago, get it up there we are going to do all of these great stuff to it. Well, we made it to Pottsville and it sat there for about six months because we are so busy, we couldn’t go pick it up from the gentleman who fixed it for us and take it the rest of the way to Fayetteville.
[0:56:18.3] KM: What year is this ambulance.
[0:56:19.7] CR: It’s a 1994, F350.
[0:56:22.9] KM: Okay so it’s a 350 engine, I guess.
[0:56:25.3] CR: I don’t even know much about engines. Well one of the great things about our tailgate is we have an ambulance mechanic who is part of our crew and so he takes care of it for us.
[0:56:35.4] KM: Oh there you go. That’s the way I like to roll, we don’t need to know.
[0:56:38.1] CR: We give Sam tickets and Sam makes sure that it makes it to the tailgate spot. We also grouped out trying to go to the ANM Game last year in Dallas.
[0:56:45.9] KM: Okay so then you got it back to Little Rock.
[0:56:47.0] CR: And caught it on fire and the fire department they came out.
[0:56:51.9] KM: What part caught on fire, okay go ahead.
[0:56:53.3] CR: Some part of the transmission but the first responders that came out they actually signed a Razorback flag for us and we’ve got it inside of the back. So it turned out to be a fun story and you are not allowed in Texas to own an ambulance and drive it around and impersonate an emergency vehicle. So we were fortunate that we never made it out of Oklahoma because we probably could have gotten in trouble down at Cowboy Stadium. We found that out after the fact so it may be a blessing in disguise.
[0:57:20.0] KM: I don’t know why anybody would make you are impersonating, it has a hog nose on the front doesn’t it?
[0:57:24.7] CR: It does, well it’s got our hogged arteries it’s like our little group.
[0:57:29.1] KM: What’s it called?
[0:57:29.8] CR: Hogged arteries, so I’ve got two of my tailgate friends, Graham and Keith are both architects and so they were able to do the vector files and put together all of these artwork for us that we were able to then send to you all and make I think you all’s job a little bit easier.
[0:57:47.5] KM: What other puns are there? Hogged arteries.
[0:57:49.2] CR: Hogged arteries, the Hambulance, we call it the Ham Van and we draw pretty good little crowd up in Fayetteville.
[0:57:56.8] KM: So what is in it you open the back and what happens?
[0:57:58.6] CR: So you open the back and we have repurposed all of the storage obviously for a different tailgating things. So whether it’s cups or hats or jackets.
[0:58:07.5] KM: You sell stuff?
[0:58:09.1] CR: No, just our things you know kind of storage. There is a bar in there, there’s TV in there, the grill comes out. We’ve got two TVs actually, the little satellite we put up on top to watch games.
[0:58:21.2] KM: Oh yes.
[0:58:22.0] CR: And the guys next to us have the music, so we don’t mess with –
[0:58:25.3] KM: But do you have the same place you park every time?
[0:58:27.1] CR: Every game.
[0:58:27.7] KM: So you don’t rent this thing out.
[0:58:29.1] CR: No, well we haven’t tried I mean maybe somebody would have.
[0:58:31.8] KM: I thought you rented it out for some reason, it’s just your hobby.
[0:58:36.2] CR: It’s just a hobby, it’s an expensive hobby yeah. Jinx, you owe me a coke.
[0:58:42.0] KM: Okay.
[0:58:42.9] CR: Or Pepsi if it is University of Arkansas. They don’t serve Coke at the stadium there. It is a big deal for some people.
[0:58:50.6] KM: Okay, so you don’t even drink. How can you stand to go up there and sit with all those people?
[0:58:58.1] CR: It is fine, I mean we have a good time. It is a family atmosphere. I mean what’s cool is a lot of people stop by we got the little corn hole that we play and it is a place for people to stop by and have a good time, grab a bite to eat.
[0:59:10.5] KM: Do you have a tailgating flagpole and flag that you bought from Arkansas Flag and Banner?
[0:59:14.3] CR: You know I’ve –
[0:59:15.3] KM: With the tire mounts so you can roll your ham, your lens over it and voice step your flagpole and your flag.
[0:59:20.7] CR: I love buying flags from Arkansas Flag and Banner so much that yes we do have a hogged arteries flag. We have a Facebook page, everybody can look for it.
[0:59:28.7] KM: Okay, give everybody your contact information, we’re running out, how do people – do you want people to read about the Hambulance?
[0:59:33.4] CR: They can, it is on Facebook. We have our own Facebook, it’s just the Hogged Arteries Hambulance I think. If you search for it on the internet, you’ll find it. I think the guys set up a Twitter page and maybe Instagram, I don’t know. I guess that is just beyond me, right?
[0:59:45.0] KM: And then if they want to come and rent or Airbnb from you or come to your art gallery, they go to –
[0:59:50.9] CR: Either pyramidbldg.com or residences221.com or Airbnb, they just search for residences 221 they’ll find it.
[0:59:58.9] KM: What do you think is going to happen downtown?
[0:59:59.8] CR: I think downtown is going to be a thriving place and I think it is already –
[1:00:06.7] KM: People like you are going to make it that way.
[1:00:08.3] CR: I think it is already there, I think it’s just going to get better. I do want to tell you though that the cherry on top of our project and this is not to inflate your head was our flag, our flags.
[1:00:22.5] KM: Oh yeah, you put a big flagpole on top of your pyramid building.
[1:00:25.1] CR: A big flag, we put a 30 foot flag pole up on top of the building, that is our cherry on top and then you all made this, you made hogged arteries flag on me and also a Pyramid Place flag that flies with the federal flag and the state flag and then for game days, we’ll put the Razorback flag out there. We flew it during when Omahogs were in the college World Series, we flew it the whole time.
[1:00:47.5] KM: What do you call them?
[1:00:47.9] CR: The Omahogs, that’s where they had the college world series. They call it Omahogs when we go do that and the baseball team.
[1:00:53.9] KM: Oh, I didn’t know that. Yeah.
[1:00:56.7] CR: Do I need to put this on?
[1:00:57.6] KM: Yeah okay so everybody, if you are on Facebook, we see that we’ve all gotten hog nosed. Oh you can’t get it on, you got too much stuff on your head.
[1:01:06.4] CR: How’s that? There you go.
[1:01:10.5] KM: Okay you all look so stupid. I am not putting that on. In the sides that’s got tusk, these are male noses.
[1:01:21.9] CR: It is not a good look. This is not going to happen.
[1:01:24.5] KM: All right, look here is your gift for coming on with me today.
[1:01:27.7] CR: Oh that is so – is this old merchandise?
[1:01:30.4] KM: No, it’s brand new. Let me tell everybody what it is. It’s a car flag with Razorback.
[1:01:35.5] CR: Facebook can see it.
[1:01:36.6] KM: Oh yeah, Facebook can see it. It is a Razorback flag, car flag that you can out it on there. You are so welcome.
[1:01:42.3] CR: I want to tell you all very much for the speaking of the Hambulance from myself and the rest of our crew. Thank you very much. It looks so cool and without those graphic it wouldn’t be what it is. So without you all doing that for us, we thought the university was going to find you.
[1:01:57.7] KM: I thought the university is going to find you.
[1:01:59.9] CR: Well they tried to.
[1:02:00.9] KM: That is a whole another subject.
[1:02:03.2] CR: As long as we are not trying to sell anything with it. Yeah, it’s fun.
[1:02:06.8] KM: There you go, that’s how you do it.
[1:02:08.1] CR: Somebody we saw there when in Fayetteville and it had whatever their business was on the side of it and they’ve got a cease and desist or whatever and they had to sell it.
[1:02:15.0] KM: Yeah, you can’t sell products. Good that’s how you get rounded up. I was wondering how you were getting to those play on words. Chris who is our guest next week?
[1:02:20.8] CC: Michelle Town from Inviting Arkansas Magazine.
[1:02:23.7] KM: That is a tough business, you have to write all day long and put up your – make your magazine and then all night you have to go to events and take pictures of people. She is hard worker.
[1:02:36.2] CR: I wonder if the events get old after a while.
[1:02:37.2] KM: Well you know it must.
[1:02:39.3] CR: Like everything else you do.
[1:02:40.3] KM: Everything does for a while. That’s why I keep reinventing my job, that is why I started a radio show two years ago.
[1:02:45.2] CR: That’s smart, we didn’t even talk about reinventing. I have to come back on.
[1:02:47.8] KM: About reinventing – okay sounds good.
[1:02:50.5] CR: Every decade.
[1:02:52.2] KM: And when you change every decade you do. Chris, thanks for hosting with me today.
[1:02:56.9] CR: Thank you Chris, you got it.
[1:02:58.7] KM: You’re great. If you have a great entrepreneurial story that you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Send a brief bio or your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be in touch and finally, to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me. If you think this program has been about you, you are right but it’s also been for me.
Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve heard or learned something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and that it, whatever it is will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I’m Kerry McCoy and I’ll see you next time on Up In Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[1:03:34.7] CC: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. If you missed any part of the show or want to learn more about UIYB, go to flagandbanner.com and click on “Radio Show” or subscribe to her weekly podcasts whenever, wherever you would like to listen. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week with links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.