If you’re considering a move to Greeley, Colorado, you may want to check out what one local realtor is doing to help first-time buyers and residents discover the best their city has to offer.

Meet Ashley Colgate, aka Agent ‘A’, a Greeley neighborhood specialist with Equity Colorado.

Since July of 2018, Colgate has been using her Parkbench neighborhood website to publish self-produced interviews with many of Greeley’s business owners, companies otherwise overlooked by local news media.

Through her short, candid interviews and articles, Colgate aims to show prospective buyers and residents what Greeley has to offer.  She shares her interviews on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to generate free online exposure for each business owner featured.

In addition to free advertising, local news, events, and property listings, Colgate’s website provide small businesses with a suite of free tools to promote their deals and services online. Business owners can claim a free business listing, add deal coupons, events and generate reviews from local residents.

Colgate, a family-oriented entrepreneur, with a background in Organizational Management in Christian Leadership, obtained her real estate license in 2008. It wasn’t until May of 2018, however, that she discovered the Parkbench family, a network of over 1000 community-minded real estate agents seeking to build relationships by supporting neighboring businesses.

“I saw a Parkbench ad on Facebook and my first impression was ‘I like this’! I realized I could help fellow entrepreneurs like myself, I could build relationships, connect more people and spur growth in the local market. My conscience is clear when I support other business owners because I’m an entrepreneur too. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: to do what we love and make a real difference in people’s lives through the value we offer.”

As the exclusive Parkbench sponsor for Greeley, CO, Colgate invests considerable time, money and resources to showcase entrepreneurs who have turned their passion into a business.  Dance Fusion, Oopsa Daisy, Queenwood Designs, Tula Fit, and Fit 4 Mom, are just a few of the female-owned businesses featured on her website to date.

Describing her method of interviewing, Colgate explains:

“Each one (interview) takes about 2 hrs, which is time well spent! At first, I chose businesses that I already know and support. They referred me to others and the ball just started rolling from there.”

Although none of the business owners had heard of Colgate or her website prior to the interviews, Colgate says she made new friends and meaningful connections that have made her a better agent:

“I spend an hour with them and make a real connection that makes me more informed about the neighborhood, not just the real estate market. What surprised me most was their commitment to Greeley. They’ve chosen to start a business here because they love the sense of community. I haven’t done as many as I’d like yet but…it’s not about the number, it’s about building relationships that benefit the community.”

Since moving to Greeley 9 years ago, Colgate, a long time Colorado resident, has witnessed the city’s slow economic recovery from the 2008 market crash. She acknowledges the ongoing struggle for first-time buyers has deterred many prospective homeowners from entering the market.

Describing some of the changes she has observed, Colgate explains further:

“Greeley is attracting new restaurants, businesses, and is hosting many downtown and neighborhood events over the past 4 years. Wages, however, have not increased at the rate of housing costs. Our 3600 sq ft home was built in the 70’s and has almost tripled in value in the last 8 years. 1970’s condo units have doubled in value but wages haven’t kept pace…First-time buyers are struggling to keep up, rent is astronomical but new constructions are starting and home prices are slowly adjusting.”

When asked about her focus on local businesses, Colgate’s motivation isn’t difficult to understand:

“A lot of young people are being priced out of the market, but owning property is the best way to build wealth. I’m supporting local business because when small businesses do well, they can hire and invest locally. That means people can find employment close to home, or start a business of their own in the neighborhood they love. A strong local economy attracts investment and hopefully more new home construction as a result.”

Her interviews have also created opportunities to meet new people, connect with residents, and even new clients.

“Local business owners appreciate the exposure they get from my interview, but I also give them free access to my website so they can publish their local deals and events whenever they want. Since I started supporting my peers and neighbors, I’ve actually gained 2 referrals in less than 1 month!”

Asked about her future plans, Colgate exudes enthusiasm:

I just love the parks in Greeley, there are over 40 of them and each is unique, but not everyone is aware of how many we have. I’ve already written a few articles about the parks here in Greeley but I plan to cover much more about our amazing outdoors. Our Director of Parks and Recreation (Andy McRoberts) approached me in the skatepark with my twins. He’s also inviting community input on upcoming renovations in the park, and now I’ll be interviewing him as well!”

Colgate a member of the Greeley Board of Realtors, also plans to interview and feature local contractors, community influencers and non-profits.

Business owners who would like to be featured on her Parkbench website can reach her by phone or email to schedule an interview.

Local residents can subscribe for free to her Greeley neighborhood newsletter to receive weekly updates on the latest offerings from local businesses.

Are you a community-minded real estate agent? Visit Parkbench to claim your neighborhood, and become the go-to agent in your community!