ARCHIVED  May 1, 1997

Quark deal sealed in a minute

CHEYENNE – Every economic-development officer in America is looking for the deal that literally falls into his or her lap, but a deal made in a minute?

That was the case when Fred Ebrahimi, CEO of Quark Inc., came to Cheyenne looking for land for a new sales and distribution center and sat down with Jack Crews, president of Cheyenne LEADS, the economic-development arm of Cheyenne and Laramie County.

“Negotiations took less than one minute,” Crews recalled. “I pointed out some comparable sales. His reply was, ‘Is that fair?’ and I said, ‘Yes it is,’ and he said, ‘That’s OK with me.’ I said, ‘Do we have a deal?’ He said ‘Yes,’ and I said ‘Done.’ And that was the entire deal.”

“I’ve never heard of another deal like this,” he added. “This has got to be the once-in-a-lifetime deal because it’s just an anomaly in the world of economic development.”

Crews, president of Cheyenne LEADS since 1988, knows that economic development deals usually take far longer than Quark. LEADS recently announced that Rex Stores Corp. would build its western distribution center in Cheyenne, a deal that was almost two years in the making. SafeCard Financial Services, Inc.’s move from South Florida took almost three years.

But this deal proved to be a case of a willing buyer and willing seller and a community anxious to expedite the permitting process.

“It was an amazing story that came about from a referral,” Crews recalled. “An attorney in Cheyenne, John Metzke, was aware that Quark was looking for some land here. That beats any kind of marketing in the world. The day after the referral, we were able to meet with Fred and his real estate person, and it just was very obvious it was going at warp speed.”

“In 34 days, we had closure on the land deal, ground was broken immediately, and they plan to have that building done by the First of July.”

Ebrahimi is a man who likes to move decisively, but when he announced his plans for Cheyenne, he noted that he was impressed with the speed with which the deal came together.

“We were just at the closing,” he said. “My wife was shocked – it only took 10 minutes. Any other closing in my life I’ve gone through to buy or sell real estate, it has taken hours.”

Getting the necessary city and state permits proved painless. LEADS owns the land in the Business Parkway, and it’s already in the city, platted and zoned. The appropriate local and state regulators met with Quark in a single meeting and resolved every issue.

“If you want the classic example of one-stop permitting, this is it in spades,” Crews said.

Ebrahimi also expressed happiness with the lack of red tape.

“When we discussed our decision to come, I just asked one thing: Treat us fairly, and we will treat you fairly. It took less than one minute,” the Quark CEO said.

The Quark deal probably didn’t need a clincher, but Crews had one just in case. If Ebrahimi had any doubts about doing business internationally from Cheyenne, there were soon allayed by LEADS chair Keith Richardson, CEO of Sierra Trading Post, who uses Quark software for his catalogs. Ebrahimi was impressed with Richardson’s building in the Business Parkway and wanted to talk to him.

“And Keith was in Munich on a buying trip, so I got ahold of him and told him to call Fred, and they exchanged ideas,” Crews said. “It couldn’t have been better staged. If we would have had the moxie enough to figure that out and stage it, we couldn’t have done a better job.”

CHEYENNE – Every economic-development officer in America is looking for the deal that literally falls into his or her lap, but a deal made in a minute?

That was the case when Fred Ebrahimi, CEO of Quark Inc., came to Cheyenne looking for land for a new sales and distribution center and sat down with Jack Crews, president of Cheyenne LEADS, the economic-development arm of Cheyenne and Laramie County.

“Negotiations took less than one minute,” Crews recalled. “I pointed out some comparable sales. His reply was, ‘Is that fair?’ and I said, ‘Yes it is,’ and he said, ‘That’s OK with me.’…

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