POST FALLS - After finishing second on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” last January and riding a public speaking wave for the business mogul’s associates since, Clint Robertson is back in Kootenai County going for the gold.
The 42-year-old has gone from strutting his business skills at Trump Tower to buying, of all things, a pawn shop in Coeur d’Alene with a focus on buying gold and silver.
“I am now the ‘Gold Guy,’” he said, referring to his marketing plan.
Some may see Robertson’s chain of events as bizarre, but he calls it divine.
Robertson and his family were renting a Post Falls home during the airing of the show, but moved to Florida afterward to hit the speaking circuit.
“I looked all over the nation at pawn shops for sale and, lo and behold, the one that worked out is in Coeur d’Alene,” he said. “That’s called providence. This is where the Lord wants us.”
Robertson said after getting a taste of the high life and rubbing elbows with the likes of Steve Forbes, chairman of Forbes Media, he’s ready to settle down in laid-back North Idaho.
“You just know when you’re home, and this is home,” said Robertson, adding that he has purchased a place in Post Falls.
Robertson purchased City Loan and Pawn at 1604 N. Fourth St. in Coeur d’Alene.
The name has been changed to Golden City Gold Buyers, which also buys silver, coins, jewelry and silverware.
“Troy McLean (an earlier contestant from Boise on ‘The Apprentice’) gave me some advice on what to do,” Robertson said. “He said go speak, but at the end of the day you still have got to have a j-o-b.”
Robertson, whose dad was a coin collector, said the plan is to eventually move the pawn shop portion of the business to a separate location.
Post Falls’ Anita Whitmore, who sold coins and jewelry to Robertson this week, said she never would have guessed Robertson would wind up back in the area owning a pawn shop after being one of Trump’s favorite candidates.
“It surprised me – he should’ve went further – but I’m glad he’s here,” Whitmore said. “He was awesome to me as far as explaining things (when buying metals).”
Whitmore said it was also nice to have Robertson pray for her and her mother for healing after the two lost a relative.
Rick Bennett, who sold the shop to Robertson and still works at the business, said the transition has worked nice.
“What I like about Clint is that we did the deal over a soda at the (Coeur d’Alene) Resort,” said Bennett, who didn’t realize Robertson was on “The Apprentice” until it was brought to his attention. “They don’t come any better than Clint. He’s just a good old Texan.”
Robertson lived in Texas, running a real estate firm, before going on the show due to struggling to make ends meet during the recession.
Robertson said he hopes local churches and charities will consider holding gold-buying fundraisers to help during tough times. Such events have caught on in other areas due to skyrocketing metals prices.
“In this tough economy, you’ve got to be a fireman and find opportunities when people are running out. In this economy, gold, silver and precious metals are that opportunity,” he said.
After believing he did what he had to do to win on “The Apprentice,” Robertson said Trump’s final decision and settling on $10,000 compared to the $250,000 winner Brandy Kuentzel received was “surreal.”
“I won the task, but lost the beauty contest,” he said.
But he said he now realizes opportunities – first in Florida and now in North Idaho – wouldn’t have come had he won.
“I don’t have a lot of money, but I have a lot of faith,” Robertson said. “I also get up every day loving what I do. I love the free, entrepreneurial spirit.”
Selling gold or silver? Here are some tips
If you plan to sell your gold or silver, Troy Gordon, co-owner of Integrity Coin and Bullion in Hayden, offers these tips before heading out:
• Know the current “spot price” – the price quoted for immediate payment – of gold and silver going in. Gold has been hovering around $1,700 per ounce and reached more than $1,900 about two months ago. Silver has been around $35 per ounce and broke $50 two months ago.
• Most jewelry is not pure gold, so you’re not going to get back what you paid for it when it’s melted.
• The higher karat weight, the more gold and value to the piece. Copper is added to a lot of gold products to make the metal harder. For instance a 14-karat ring, has about 53 percent gold.
• Silver or gold coins from mints typically have more value than jewelry. If they’re pure gold or silver, they should be able to fetch the spot price or close to it. Some dealers may pay slightly less for spot, some slightly more.
• It pays to get a second opinion. Prices from buyers can vary a lot, just as the quality of metal and stones can.
• Be careful about ads asking to mail in your gold or silver and large groups that come to an area hotel to buy one day and are gone the next.
Winter is coming, but hopefully this lovely fall weather will last a bit longer. One of the things I love about North Idaho is that we enjoy all four seasons. Every season brings every business different challenges and successes. Some of our local businesses have found a way to extend their summer seasonal business by adding special events, extended hours or discounts in order to attract the locals and the out of town visitor. We recommend you check the chamber website for a complete list of events, attractions and links to business happenings. Information: www.postfallschamber.com
Recently we have been hearing a lot about “Job Creation” from our national leaders. While we may feel rather helpless in the national discussion, there is a local program that employers should know about; Hire One Vet — Idaho. This is a collaborative program of the Idaho Department of Labor, the Idaho Chapter of Employer Support of the Guard & Reservists and the Idaho National Guard. Employers that hire a veteran can earn sliding scale Income Tax Credits. Note there are specific qualifications.
- Upbeat Breakfast Nov. 8 with guest speakers including Phil with UGM (Union Gospel Mission), Mike Baker with Dirne Clinic and Jeff Conroy with St. Vincent DePaul.
- Business After Hours, Nov. 24 at Clark, Anderson, McNelis & Co., PA.
- Lighting Ceremony Parade, Nov. 25
- Resort Holiday Lightshow, Nov. 25 to Jan. 1
- The Festival of Trees, Nov. 25-27
The next wave in medical gizmos isn’t an imaging machine or robotic surgeon. It’s your mobile phone.
The next wave in medical gizmos isn’t an imaging machine or robotic surgeon. It’s your mobile phone.Texted medication reminders is on the broad list of possibilities for an emerging health-care tool: wireless technology. Providers call it “non-compliance:” when patients don’t follow instructions complications can occur, so some physicians are looking at ways to use cell phones to give them more control.The idea may be fairly new, but it’s catching on. Take the West Wireless Health Institute. Founded in 2009 in San Diego WWHI is an independently-funded, nonprofit medical research organization focused on using wireless technology for health-care innovation and cost reduction. It seems to be the first of its kind, but undoubtedly won’t be the last. Ideas include intensive care units managed by iPad, using immediate consultations with online physician specialists. That’s better than waiting for a doc to call back or drive over. With wireless technology, the patient’s medical data can be streamed “live” and discussed by the ICU and the consulting doc remotely, all in the patient’s room.Similar technology can be used for hand-held ultrasounds and other tests. Already emergency rooms aren’t what they once were. Things can be done faster, and time spared can mean a life saved. A local patient who went to Kootenai Medical Center’s ER with heart palpitations in September didn’t have to leave the room to get a chest X-ray. A portable unit was brought to the bed and the film taken while the patient sat on the gurney.In a pinch, cell phone cameras could be used to take photos of a patient’s injury or condition, and sent to the health-care provider. While that’s not nearly as good or thorough as a live consultation, mobile technology can prove useful in certain situations, allowing “diagnosis at the point of care.”Telemedicine is the next wave.How about wireless blood pressure monitoring? An article in the Aug. 11 issue of Scientific American reported on a device that looks remarkably like a tiny tattoo — a skinlike, electronic patch with wireless mini-circuits that pick up and transmits blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The chips are layered on silicone strips, 50 nanometers thin and almost transparent, in an exciting example of integration between man and (miniature) machine.The technology itself is nothing new, but the configuration is. There are hiccups yet to work out, such as shelf life. The device stays on only about a week and needs to be close to a power source to function without interruption. Researchers are working on it; the device has big potential for preventing emergency situations, potentially saving millions of dollars annually on ER heart-related admissions.On the other side of the wireless coin, especially regarding use of cell phones (and iPads), is privacy. Patients would need to consent to the use of mobile medical messaging and perhaps incur their own increased responsibility in monitoring both the communications and access to their devices.In the end cost may be what drives the wireless train. With health-care costs increasing for consumers and providers who need expensive equipment, health insurance costs getting more prohibitive even for middle income consumers, and the overall cost to the economic picture, whatever improves that picture will be embraced of necessity.Technology is moving so fast with home- and phone-accessed Internet that people are self-diagnosing online more often, and worse, self-medicating (or not medicating). Bringing physicians into the wireless picture has to be an improvement. Health care is best managed as a team.
The flu, or influenza, is a viral illness that affects the respiratory tract including your nose, throat, lungs and bronchial tubes (the airways that lead to the lungs).
The idea for his own apparel company didn’t just pop up like a silk-screened logo in Mike Alexander’s brain.