Reality TV show helps Colorado Springs entrepreneur grow his business | Content reserved for subscribers

The glow of Felipe Velasquez’s phone reflected on his face as he scrolled through Facebook. He wasn’t looking for anything in particular until an ad caught his eye. Click on. And down the rabbit hole he went.

Velasquez, owner of Felipe’s 109, a restaurant in Colorado Springs known for its taco burgers, followed an advertisement promoting the possibility of appearing in the second season of the online reality show “The BloxThe documentary series features a group of over 20 entrepreneurs who compete for the chance to be dubbed the best startup company through a series of challenges and games. The winner receives business assistance.

“This experience has been the best I’ve ever had as a small business or as an entrepreneur,” Velasquez said. “If I didn’t apply to this reality show…my business wouldn’t be where it is now.”

Velasquez began running his food truck in 2020. As he expanded his business into a brick-and-mortar location at 3008 S. Academy Blvd., near the corner of the Academy and Hancock Freeway, he applied to “The Blox”. The journey of applying for the show, being chosen from hundreds of thousands of applicants and competing taught him lessons more valuable than any business school he could have received, Velasquez said.

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“It took all of me to learn these things,” Velasquez said.

The show’s experience led Velasquez to increase his social media presence, gain publicity, and grow his business from two workers (his wife and sister) to 12 employees. Velasquez said he increased his gross income by three to four times more than before joining the show.

“It showed me that customers aren’t just customers, they’re other human beings,” Velasquez said. “And they would like more than the value of your business, but the reliability, the vulnerability and the knowledge of your history and your life.”

Velasquez said he was planning to expand Felipe’s 109 to a second location.

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But his entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t stop there. In January, Velasquez purchased a barbershop, Clip Joint Barbershop, at 3304 Austin Bluffs Parkway; he also plans a second or maybe even a third location for this business.

Velasquez is also trying to start his own non-profit organization. The non-profit organization would be an extension of its hair salon, with a mobile service that would provide haircuts to children with special needs and their parents at home.

“I have two kids with special needs,” Velasquez said. “I have Georgiana and I have Leo. And that’s why we bought the hair salon for Leo, because it was so hard for us to get our hair cut.”

Leo is 6 years old and Georgiana is almost 2 years old. Leo was diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome that causes microcephaly and severe developmental and neurological delays. He also suffered a brain injury at birth which left him with cerebral palsy and visual impairment. Georgiana was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Velasquez said.

With the mobile barbershop, Velasquez said the barber would be able to provide haircut services tailored to each child’s needs.

From tacos and burgers to scissors and razors, Velasquez said The Blox gave him a boost he never would have had otherwise.

“Not every opportunity is going to be the right one, but I would say apply to all and whoever is supposed to come – you take that,” Velasquez said. “You never know when you (will) get the next one. I just took my picture and there it was.”

Velasquez wasn’t allowed to say whether he won “The Blox” or not, but encourages people to watch the show. The first episode of the second season of “The Blox” was released on July 12 and can be viewed on Facebook Watch, Google Play, iTunes or The Blox app.

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