Daily Archives: September 20, 2019

Broker, Frank Yocum, Recognized as “Best of Maryland Heights”

On August 14, 2019, Hilliker Broker, Frank Yocum, was recognized as one of the “Best of Maryland Heights” by the Maryland Heights Chamber of Commerce.

With years of commitment to the community, Frank Yocum is currently helping 5 businesses find and negotiate optimal locations in Maryland Heights, while also volunteering to build the community through dedicated volunteer work with:

  • The Maryland Heights Chamber of Commerce
  • The Taste of Maryland Heights
  • The Maryland Heights Development Committee
  • The Maryland Heights Business Expo
  • The American Legion Post 213
  • CHAMP Assistance Dogs
  • Leftovers, Etc.

Congratulations, Frank on your well-deserved recognition!

St. Louis entrepreneur uses business as springboard into investment, then retirement

Multifamily Investment Property in St. Louis’s Metro East

Dan Lester is living the American dream.

Having begun his career as a mechanic, Lester opened Lesco Enterprises, a pre-owned car dealership and auto repair shop, in 1987. As Lesco grew, Lester was eventually able to stop leasing from someone else. He purchased property for the business in Cool Springs, MO, near West Florissant and I-70.

In 2009, he continued to diversify. He learned about a nearly 12,000 square foot multifamily investment property for sale at 1901 State Street in Granite City, IL.

The building was booked solid with tenants, promising an immediate source of income on day one. The bottom floor was ideal for a new business idea he had — a showroom for selling used appliances. Positioned in the business district and close to a bus stop, the location was right. He purchased the building as an investment for the future.

With Lester as landlord, tenants enjoyed a full-service lease, and Lester determined not to raise the price as long as he was the owner.

Though Granite City went through tough economic times (the city’s top employer, US Steel, had stopped production in 2015), the building stayed leased. For Lester, it served as a reliable investment for many years.

A Set-Back Turned into an Opportunity

Unfortunately, in 2016, the building suffered from a fire. Though no tenants were hurt, the building was devastated. It needed a complete overhaul if the tenants were going to move back in.

Though it was not an ideal situation, Lester decided to turn it around to improve his property’s value and his tenant’s experience.

He took the insurance payout to remodel the building, inside and out.

  • He updated the roof.
  • Had the exterior professionally tuckpointed.
  • Painted the interior and exterior.
  • Installed brand new carpet.
  • Updated the bathrooms with modern sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.

Additionally, he covered up the cinder block walls, framed in the apartments, and put in drywall. The building became more beautiful, matching a steadily redeveloping downtown area.

Making a Dream Come True

By 2017, Lester was ready to cash out and transition into retirement. Lester had a specific goal. He wanted to move to Thailand.

Having spent vacations there many times, he had fallen in love with the culture, people, and way of life. He wanted to find a way to spend the rest of his years in the South Pacific.

John H. ShepleyHe sold the auto repair shop and pre-owned car dealership. Then, he contacted Jake Shepley of Hilliker Corporation, who listed 1901 Granite City for sale. Together, they went to work looking for a buyer.

It wasn’t easy at first. Granite City real estate was moving slowly, and investors were looking for a high capitalization rate of return (cap rate). Shepley and Lester had to price strategically if they were going to attract an investor.

For the first year, they didn’t see any serious buyers. However, the city had a boost when its primary employer, US Steel, restarted production. Bringing back 800 workers in 2018, Granite City became a more attractive place for investors.

Soon, they heard from Kelvin Lai of Eugene Investments. Based in Atlanta, Lai has several holdings in the St. Louis area. He sent his local property manager and appraiser to tour the building several times.

They were impressed by Lester’s recent renovation, the quality tenants, and the town’s rising employment numbers.

Lesco, represented by Jake Shepley, sold 1901 State Street in Granite City, IL to Eugene Investments. Combined with the proceeds from the sale of his business, Lester is making plans to move to Thailand this year.

Where Are You in Your Commercial Real Estate Lifecycle?

Hilliker’s brokers are here to guide their clients into profitable decisions wherever they happen to be in their Real Estate Lifecycle.

  • STARTUP — Are you looking to make your first lease or purchase? We’ll help you make quality decisions that will work well for your current needs. We take the long view, however, and look to set you up for success.
  • GROWTH & MATURITY — As business owners tire of paying rent, they often want to buy their own building. We help business owners purchase commercial property. Then, we set them up for success through our tenant acquisition, lease negotiation, and property management services.
  • EXIT — Is it time for you to cash out? Or roll your current real estate into a hands-off investment? Hilliker, in partnership with our Westwood Lease Advisors, offers services to help people just like you make your transition into retirement.

Wherever you are in your Business Lifecycle, we want to help. Give us a call today.

Insulite Glass Finds Custom Industrial Warehouse for Sale

A Growing Enterprise

When Shannon Waterman was hired to manage the St. Louis branch of Insulite Glass Company in 2004, he found himself at the leading edge of flat glass fabrication.

Founded by Beau Guyette in Olathe, Kansas, the company manufactures insulated glass for buildings ranging from single-family homes to skyscrapers. They ship the glass throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Oklahoma.

In 2000, Guyette became an early-adopter of an automated manufacturing process. It catapulted Insulite’s growth, leading them to add to their staff and open the St. Louis location.

After several successful years leasing their current space in Soulard, when Waterman called to renew their lease in early 2019, he received some challenging news.

The anchor tenant was planning to expand, and Insulite had five months to move out.

Industrial Warehouse for Sale or Lease—Searching St. Louis

Insulite’s custom process and equipment required them to find a very specific kind of building.

First, workers move glass through their warehouse using a crane with an 18-foot hook height. The crane swings through the building, requiring open space both vertically and horizontally. Unfortunately, most warehouses are constructed with numerous supporting poles that wouldn’t allow for such a crane.

The building also needed garage doors at street level so trucks could drive directly into the warehouse space. Dock-height doors were out of the question as the glass needs to be placed directly onto the truck from above.

Though ramps could be installed, they increased the likelihood of breakage. And if the glass happens to break during this sensitive process, the St. Louis branch doesn’t have the resources to recut it. They would have to wait for another shipment from headquarters in Olathe.

A. William AschingerGuyette and Waterman had moved the branch twice before, each time having relied on the expertise of Will Aschinger at Hilliker Corporation. They called on Aschinger again.

Since Aschinger already knew the particularities of their business, they were confident he could help match them to a new space.

As the team went looking for properties, Waterman asked his staff if they would be willing to move to a new part of the St. Louis area. He was relieved to find out they were. With their needs in mind, Aschinger and Waterman began touring properties in Soulard, Hanley Industrial, Fenton, Arnold, and even Hillsboro.

After viewing approximately 30 properties, Waterman finally stopped to notice a new industrial warehouse under construction near his home. Located in Pacific and under development by Joe Bosse of NEC Commercial, he wondered if the new building would be available for lease.

Going from Leasing “Paying Yourself Rent”

Aschinger was on the case. He discovered the building at 509 Route 66 Business Parkway would be 20,000 square feet of warehouse and office space. It sits on more than an acre of land, leaving room to grow. It has an open warehouse and can accommodate street-level garage doors.

Not only that, it was still under construction when they discovered it. The building could be customized to the new occupant’s specifications—even allowing for the installation of a crane before exterior walls were completed.

It was perfect for Insulite.

The building was listed “For Lease or Sale,” and Guyette decided to put in an offer on the property. Though leasing had worked well in the past, Guyette wanted to build equity and obtain control of their real estate.

Aschinger negotiated a deal that would permit Insulite to move their operation in on closing day, allowing them to keep production up and revenue flowing.

Waterman doesn’t anticipate losing any staff members, and they’re ready to add positions as well. They believe the area around Pacific will provide them with the talent pool needed to bring them into the future.

Insulite Glass, represented by Will Aschinger, purchased 509 Route 66 Business Parkway for $1,202,000.

Real Estate Consultation for Every Business

Do you have a unique service or product? A process or equipment that requires a customized building? Employees or customers that need you to stay in a specific geographic location?

Hilliker brokers are attuned to your needs, working to find a “solve” for whatever problem you face. They know the St. Louis area and know how to match your needs to available properties.

If you’re ready to find commercial real estate for your unique business, call us to find out how we can help get you the space you need.

St. Louis success story, Pic the Gift, expands with new multi-purpose space lease

Entrepreneur Finds Success in St. Louis

Wes Pickering founded Pic the Gift, LLC, in 2012, believing there was a growing desire in the marketplace for on-demand printing.

Here’s how it works: Pic the Gift allows customers to choose from a variety of printable products through an online design portal. Their customers, both individuals and corporations, customize the item’s look. They can select its color or a pre-created pattern, then add logos and photos.

Some of their printables are relatively small (mouse pads, holiday ornaments, and no-show socks). But some are comparatively large (lounge chair covers, shower curtains, blankets, and beach towels).

They also print on a wide variety of surfaces: cloth, glass, stainless steel, and ceramics, among others. The production process requires a range of large printers able to handle any scale and media.

Since they’re in the center of the country, Pic the Gift can ship to anywhere in the US in fewer than four days. Their market niche, location, and excellent service have made them an in-demand vendor for potential buyers throughout the country.

About the company’s growth, Pickering says, “We’ve been busting at the seams for eight months, growing much more quickly than we projected.” He needed a short-term solution to handle his inventory while he looked for a larger space for his business.

Commercial Industrial Warehouse Space in Overland, MO

The staff at Pic the Gift was only twenty people in July of 2017. By the beginning of June 2018, they had grown to fifty, and expect to bring on another thirty to forty employees over the next six months.

At the time, they were leasing two spaces totaling 15,000 square feet, much of it occupied by large production equipment of various kinds. They were dependent on their properties because their equipment requires more electrical service than most buildings can handle: 1,200 amps and 480-volt power.

Lacking the space to continue to grow his staff, Pickering had to turn down projects the business didn’t have the resources to handle. He didn’t want to have to do that again. For him, the growth has meant “a fun ride, but it certainly is challenging.”

It was near the end of 2018 when Pic the Gift realized it had an immediate need, which was to find space to store seasonal holiday inventory. They already had leased auxiliary warehouse space, but it had filled up much more quickly than he had expected.

After looking at approximately twenty separate buildings, he got a tip from a friend.

Picking Space with Help from Hilliker

Jeffrey J. AltvaterThe friend, who leases a portion of 10838 Ambassador, had seen a 20-year tenant vacate their space in the same building. The friend put Pickering in touch with Jeff Altvater of Hilliker Corporation, who represents the landlords.

Altvater showed Pickering the building. At 30,620 square feet and with 16 feet of ceiling clearance, it was a little larger than Pickering needed at the moment, but that wasn’t a bad thing, given their rate of growth.

When he toured the space, he liked the layout – 15% office, 85% warehouse with five loading docks. Only a half-mile from his current building, it maintained continuity and convenience for his staff, local customers, and vendors.

In fact, it offered everything a business like his needed except for one thing: enough electrical power for his equipment. Regardless, he could envision the building as a long-term office and warehouse for his whole operation.

For their part, the owners of 10838 Ambassador were highly motivated to win over Pic the Gift. They liked the story of the company—that it’s local, growing, and operating a smart and lucrative business model.

They offered to upgrade the bathrooms, as well as the previous tenant’s old fluorescent lights to LED.

But most of all, 10838 Ambassador’s owners were prepared to make a substantial investment in bringing the requisite power to the building. That included bringing in Ameren to put in a new pole and a dedicated transformer. They were also willing to pay to have the trench dug to deliver power to the building.

Pickering said, “This has been an easy, straightforward process and overall good experience. Which is what we needed, because we didn’t have a lot of time to go back and forth. We couldn’t afford to play games.”

Looking Forward to Growth

Most of Pickering’s staff has been able to tour the building. They’ve expressed excitement about the move. He says, “We’re looking forward to stretching out.”

Planning to move in August 2019, Pickering is personally overseeing construction of the new space while his staff prepares for the move and incorporates new technologies.

He’s proud of his workers, saying, “They treat people well. They do a great job.” That, along with an in-demand service and properly proportioned new office and warehouse, is what positions Pic the Gift to keep growing.

Entrepreneurs: Are You Looking for Light Industrial Warehouse Space in the St. Louis area?

When a business starts growing faster than projections, it can feel like “the best of times and the worst of times.” Though the company may be prosperous, it leaves owners with little time to consider how to deal with the sudden influx.

Hilliker Corporation understands this. We’re the entrepreneur’s choice, coming alongside to advise you. We make it our goal to improve your life, making your work more manageable, and your real estate transactions as smooth as possible.

Call us for a consultation today.