My Favorite Clients at Compass Commercial
Camille Johnson, Motor City Dance Factory
Richard Colbert, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
I tried to reach Rich Colbert by phone over 10 years ago. He was a super busy man, as he had just taken over the real estate department for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Rich tried calling me back but missed me. He left his email address and asked me to email him some information about myself and the company. Without ever talking to me directly, he invited me in for an interview to handle the real estate for the Society.
I flew out to meet Rich, and we talked about what he had inherited, or, more precisely, what kind of mess the previous real estate person had left him. There were no procedures, just a partial list of 100 locations across the US. The local offices handled all of the leasing, and there were some people who had a good idea of how to lease and others who had no idea.
Together, we worked through the information we had and developed an actual process for the Society to follow. There were many highs and many lows over the years, and I’m very proud of the work we did together.
When two people work together for as long as we did, a friendship naturally develops. Rich has had an amazing career. As a teenager, he was a campaign boxer. Amazingly, he served our country. Then, he was an actor in General Hospital. He met the love of his life, got married, and had beautiful children. Additionally, he participates in triathlons—not the wimpy ones like I do, but the big ones.
He is one of the most accomplished people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I’m happy to call him my friend. Rich, you have been one of my favorite clients and a great friend. I truly admire what you have accomplished in life.
Denise Dalrymple, Girl Scouts of Southeastern MI
Denise Dalrymple is the CEO of Girl Scouts of Southeastern MI. She is responsible for the administration of over 100 staff who provide services to 24,000 girl members and 8,000 adult volunteers through five service centers and two camps in eight counties in southeast Michigan. She is one of my favorite clients I have worked with in my career!
Denise and I met at a networking event to raise capital to support women business owners. Not long after that, she asked me to review the lease of her office to see if the agreement could be canceled. I reviewed the agreement and talked with the owners, but since the building was in foreclosure, the landlords couldn’t let them out of the lease.
Several years later, a year before their lease expired, she called and asked me to help her relocate their offices out of the Fischer Building due to continued maintenance issues.
Denise is the most dynamic leader I have ever worked with. She had a vision for the space that exceeded everyone’s expectations. She knew exactly how to work with her board, and, most importantly, she made great decisions. To top it all off, she is a great individual. I consider her a good friend, and I loved working with her on this project.
Art Bashi, The Art of Custom Framing
Art Bashi’s The Art of Custom Framing offers original artwork, sports memorabilia, framing supplies and installation. He and I were a part of a networking group for many years. When his lease was expiring, he asked me to help him buy a building.
This was about 6 years ago. Not only had his company outgrown the existing space, but also there was water bubbling up through the concrete. The parking lot had been poured incorrectly, causing water to seep in. This would be an issue for any firm, but it was especially difficult for a firm selling artwork and sports team memorabilia.
Together, we looked at about 6 buildings over a one-year period. For one reason or another, none of the buildings were right. Then, late one Friday afternoon, I found a former racquetball court that had just been listed for sale on Rochester Rd in Troy, MI. We were the first people to look at the space. I knew within 5 minutes of arriving that it was perfect for his business. Art felt the same way, but he wanted to sleep on it first. He called me early on Saturday morning to tell me he had to have it. Each racquetball court still had beautiful hardwood floors, and Art was able to use these to show off the artwork.
Art is a fabulous human being. He is always positive, which is why he is one of my favorite clients. It was such a joy to see the final product, but what was even more fantastic was that his sales went up steadily from the day he moved in. You’ve heard of the phrase “location, location, location!”? Well, that is what he found, and then he made it a beautiful space to visit.
Jill Gleba, Gleba & Associates
Jill’s company consults with business owners to create retirement plans for themselves and their employees. They take pride in choosing a plan that best suits each business, including 401(k), Solo 401(k), Profit Sharing, Cash Balance, SIMPLE, SEP, and payroll-deductible IRA Plans. They provide insurance for Key Person and Buy/Sell Agreements.
Jill and I met over 10 years ago at the National Association of Woman Business Owners. I was a new business owner at the time. She had owned her business for at least 10 years before we met. One of her goals in life is to help other business owners grow their business, so she asked me to join a mastermind group at her office, where she taught us a system for setting goals. All these years later, I still use the same basic system she taught me.
As Jill’s business continued to grow, she asked me to help her with her real estate needs. She is another business owner who has a vision and makes decisions easily. I’ve helped her with her real estate needs for many years now, and over time we became great friends. She is always referring business to me. Thank You, Jill, for your friendship, patronage, great advice, and for being one of my favorite clients!
Jim Bianchi, Bianchi Public Relations, Inc.
Jim’s firm is well known for their social media and public relations skills. It was 7 or 8 years ago when Jim found me on Linked In through my social media posts. Jim had worked with a so-called “Tenant Representative” before he reached out to me. Unfortunately, his experience was not a positive one. His agent did little if anything to protect his interests with the landlord.
I was able to review his lease, make requests to protect him as a tenant, and reduce his rent. Then, 5 years later, I helped him with his lease renewal process again.
Being the great human being, he is, Jim has supported my business ever since. Thanks, Jim! It has been such a privilege to serve you.
Misty Delegato, Relevar Home Care
A Vistage Advisor introduced Misty to me back in 2016. Her business assists with elder care needs. Her firm needed to double their space, and she gave me a 5-mile radius within which to locate a new building. She told me she would be happiest if I could find her a space at M59 and Van Dyke in Utica. However, there are very few buildings at this intersection, and none of them were for sale.
The first two prospective buildings we looked at appeared to be ok on the surface, but as we dug deeper, we found issues with each of them. In the meantime, I kept my eye on the corner where she really wanted to be located. Against all odds, one of the nicest buildings I’ve ever shown came on the market. Within 24 hours of the building being listed, we had an offer out on it. We moved so quickly that no one else even got in the building to show it! This was a fun project!
Vinita Ghandi CEO, Pioneer Plastics
Pioneer Plastics is an injection molding company located in Madison Heights, MI.
I met Vinita and her husband, Rajeev, at the holiday party over 10 years ago. When we met, it was as if we had been friends for many years. Vinita’s company was in a very small building in Bloomfield Hills, but their business had been growing steadily, and they needed to triple the space. This was around 2008 when most businesses were downsizing.
We searched for buildings everywhere from Detroit to Auburn Hills, and we probably toured at least 10 buildings. As we drove around the city, we found that even though we had been raised in two different countries, we were very similar. Our friendship was formed during this period.
We ended up finding a great building that was double the size they needed, and it had the cranes they needed to run their business and the price was right.! I’m happy to tell you that their business continues to grow to this day. I’m thankful to have met and become friends with Vinita. It’s great when you work with someone and become friends too. Our friendship is the reasons these great people are one of my favorite clients!
Lisa Mininni, Excellerate Associates
All across North America, Lisa Mininni educates business owners and leadership teams about the relationships between human’s innate wiring and business systems. She teaches people how to hire staff, how to write a book and become a best-seller, and much more. She also offers mentoring.
Lisa and I met through the National Association of Women Business Council well over 10 years ago. She is a dynamite person! She approached me about buying a building so that she could create a coworking space for small business owners. Lisa had no background in owning a building, managing tenants, or renovating a space, but she was determined to get this done in less than 6 months. We only toured a few buildings. I was really surprised when she decided to take the building that was just one step above a dump. It was really in rough condition. No one had occupied the space in years, none of the systems worked, and the roof was leaking.
What I was most impressed with was her ability to imagine what the building would be like when it was done. Even more impressive was her ability to get the design complete and the contractors hired. The building was ready for occupancy quicker than I’d ever seen when other landlords took on that level of work. Had I not been there to watch firsthand, I wouldn’t have believed her ability to get this done so quickly.
Great job, Lisa! Thanks for being one of my favorite clients!