Peter Seiler, PVREA Member, US Marine Corps Veteran & Small Business Owner
As we celebrate Veterans Day this month, we’d like to pay special tribute to our veteran members who own their own small businesses and those who support them.
Wet sat down with one of our veteran members, Peter Seiler, at a local Wellington community center – Sparge Brewing. Rich Efird, owner of Sparge and US Army vet, also joined us to talk about his military experience and the importance of communal ties in making it as a small business.
Peter, who owns a ranch in north Wellington, created a unique family-friendly game that focuses on sharing experiences and short stories to bring people together. Top Tale is “all about storytelling,” says Peter. And what people choose to share has the potential of bonding strangers or shedding light on things you didn’t know about your best friend or partner!
To play Top Tale, you pick a card from the deck and read the card’s topic and caption aloud. Then provide your answer to the topic which can range from happy, or silly, to serious. Players then vote on their favorite response or play without keeping score.
“By the end of the game, after you’ve done all these rounds, it’s not about who won the most points you just feel good about sharing stories and getting to know people.”
Topic examples: Your closest friend, and why. Best way to spend $1M. A tale involving homelessness.
Peter says Top Tale is, “a balance of happy stories, middle of road stories, and some darker stuff because that’s when you get people connecting. I’ve seen people laughing, crying, and getting angry because it pulls on all those emotions.”
Peter said he was always playing boardgames and wanted to be a computer game designer. After his time in the US Marine Corps, he earned his degree and started working here at HP as a computer system designer. But he still had the itch to do something fun and creative.
One day while working his ranch, Peter said he got the idea for his family-friendly game. After creating his concept, he needed a place to test it out and get feedback. So, he reached out to Rich at Sparge Brewing to see if he could play test his game with Rich’s patrons.
There’s reason why Peter chose Sparge as the ideal place to meet his community. “We fought for our existence on what type of bar we were going to be,” explained Rich. “We wanted to be a family friendly, kid friendly, and pet friendly. It’s a very easy place to come in.” Rich said that he even hates using the term ‘bar’ but instead prefers to call it a ‘community center’.
“The youngest baby that has been in here is three days old!” They also have the largest American flag in Wellington.
Rich told us the idea of helping another small business went hand in hand with his values, stating “I wouldn’t be here without small helping small.”
“We go out of our way to support small business,” said Rich. “What’s always been in our DNA is small working with small, which helps promote each other, which helps spread each other’s business. And when you tie the veteran-to-veteran piece in it, it was easy for us.”
Advice to Take Home with You
Peter says the lessons he learned in the military impact how he runs his own small business. Confidence and tenacity were two things Peter highlighted. “Confidence helps you get in front of people and sell something. Tenacity (means) you don’t give up if you hit some bumps in the road, you finish the mission.”
“It’s hard starting a business, especially if it’s not something you’re necessarily super familiar with,” explained Peter. He said you also, “get what you put into it. You have to be committed to what the long-term plan is for the business.”
Rich recited an adage he learned in the service: “Two equals one, one equals none.” To him, that means putting your plan in order. “Have a backup or a spare for everything you’re doing. I’ve adapted that into this business on ‘here’s our plan, what’s our contingency?’ We want to do this but what are we going to do if that doesn’t work or if it’s not on time.”
Rich expanded on how important it is to support each other, especially our fellow veterans. They went out of their way to stand up a veteran and first-responder group that meets the last Wednesday of every month at Sparge. Find information about this group on their website.
Rich’s idea of small helping small fits perfectly within our cooperative business model here at Poudre Valley REA. Without the small community who first banded together to help get electricity to their farms and ranches back in 1939, we wouldn’t be here today!
And Peter’s advice demonstrates the power of our community as we come together with the confidence and tenacity needed to achieve our goals, despite the obstacles we face.
We want to thank these two men for sharing their stories with us, for their service to our country, and for the small businesses they run.
Top Tale – Learn more or purchase the game online at www.yubnubgames.com.
Sparge Brewery – Find location, hours of operation, and more at www.spargebrew.com.