Daily Archives: November 5, 2019

Finding office and warehouse space in Fenton - a testimonial

Another satisfied client submitted this testimonial about Hilliker brokers Hal Ball and Will Meehan! Great work from a great team.

When my Landlord of fifteen years informed me that he would not be able to renew my lease, I knew it was finally time to step up and buy a building. Additionally, I had invested in several farm properties and felt it was a good time to sell those to help with the new building purchase.

My Landlord recommended that I work with Hal Ball and Will Meehan at Hilliker Corporation as they had done some consulting for him and he felt they had professional expertise and a good knowledge of the market.

I followed his suggestions and am glad I did.

The market was very tight so finding many good building options was difficult. Will and Hal stayed on it and informed me immediately when properties came on the market and were also aware of several “off market” options. Ironically I then heard through the grapevine of a property possibly coming up for sale, and I asked Will and Hal to help with the negotiation and sale process. We worked as a team and negotiated such a good deal that the Tenant with a first right of refusal stepped up and bought the building!

Undaunted, Will and Hal dug back in and found another property which was larger than I required but had good tenants in place to help pay the mortgage. We negotiated a good deal and I was also then able to roll the proceeds from my farm parcel sale into the new property as a 1031 exchange. The entire process was more extensive and time consuming than I first imagined but I was happy to have my real estate professionals by my side.

We moved in last week and to my surprise a vase of flowers arrived shortly thereafter from Hilliker to welcome us to our new offices.

I would strongly recommend contacting Hal Ball and/or Will Meehan  should you need to relocate or purchase a building.

Carl Alsbach – The Closet Factory
(Purchased a 36,000 Sq. Ft. multi-tenant office/Warehouse in Fenton in June of 2019)

The Minifig Shop goes from online store to brick and mortar retail

Building a Small Business Brick by Brick

Mike Atwood is skilled at building things. When he was a kid, he’d work up to 70 hours a week in his dad’s engine repair shop. As an adult, his building skills shine through a different medium — a successful full-time career as a software engineer.

Mike’s son, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), has always loved building things, too. Like other children with ASD, LEGO® bricks became a considerable part of his developmental process.

As a result, Mike and his wife Kelly Atwood began buying used LEGOs in bulk for their son. They learned how to find bargains online, then started making connections with dealers throughout the country.

As their son outgrew his fascination with the toys, Mike and Kelly began listing them for sale online. They found they could sell used LEGOs at a profit and began to build a lucrative side business. The extra money was helpful for the growing family, allowing Kelly to stay home to raise their children.

Soon, the couple had developed a specialty in collecting and selling minifigures, the tiny block-like figurines which have grown considerably in popularity in recent years. Though LEGOs have been around since the 1950s, they introduced “minifigs” in 1978 and have since produced over a billion. They’re incredibly collectible. Both children and “Adult Fans Of LEGOs” (AFOL) buy, sell, and trade them without their original sets.

Before the Atwoods knew it, they needed to lease 1000 square feet of warehouse space just to keep up with saleable inventory, which they were turning around quickly.

Searching for Retail Space in the St. Louis Area

By the beginning of 2019, The Minifig Shop — the Atwood’s online retail store — was out of room. They had so packed their warehouse with LEGOs that Mike, Kelly, and nephew Bob Atwood (whom they brought on as a partner) barely had room to work.

The Minifig Shop was ready for an upgrade, and they believed it could be in the form of a retail location. Mike had always dreamed of having a brick-and-mortar shop the way his dad did. Bob, who has a background in retail sales, was looking for a new challenge.

The three partners were all on board: Mike and Bob began looking for a retail space for lease where they could display the Minifigs and share them in-person with customers.

Jeffrey J. AltvaterThe store would be an experience for young families, featuring huge LEGO displays and places to play. That way, The Minifig Shop wouldn’t have to compete with box stores or online retailers.

To make their vision a reality, however, they needed a highly-visible storefront in a walkable area — one that would include other “draws” for their target market. Kirkwood would be ideal, but they weren’t sure it would be in their price range.

With a desire to find something in mid-St. Louis County, they were open to property as far west as Maryland Heights and as far east as Webster Groves. But after a few weeks of browsing listings on their own, a former coworker (and electrical contractor) referred Mike to Jeff Altvater of Hilliker Corporation.

A Great Place for Families

Using a combination of methods, Altvater quickly found approximately 20 available storefronts that fit within Mike and Bob’s parameters. Before long, they had narrowed their search to about eight properties — all of them with triple-net (NNN) leases.

However, the Atwoods quickly focused on 200 South Kirkwood Road. It’s a walkable distance from the Kirkwood Farmer’s Market, historic train station, and The Magic House. The building itself features popular anchor tenants Kaldi’s, Bar Louie, and Crushed Red.

Additionally, Kirkwood is a great place for retail businesses during Halloween and Christmas, when neighborhood events attract thousands of young families to Kirkwood Road. And when Alvater presented the Atwoods with a favorable report from a traffic pattern analysis, they were sold.

It was everything they were looking for.

Financially, it fell on the high side of their budget. However, Altvater negotiated five months of free rent so the Atwoods could remodel the store. The two main tasks were:

  • Installing the display cases (handled by Jeff Herzog of Fixture Contracting);
  • Putting together a series of jaw-dropping LEGO sculptures for customers to view.

Mike enjoyed working with Altvater, saying, “Jeff’s a really good guy — a straight-shooter. He was very helpful through the process.”

Mike, Kelly, and Bob set a goal of having the shop completed and opened for Kirkwood’s yearly Halloween walk — a goal which they met.

The finished store is an incredible place for fans of LEGOs. Customers can buy used bricks in bulk (they keep between two and three thousand pounds at all times). They can also choose from 20,000 Minifigures on display, many for $3 or less.

What’s next for your business?

As your business grows, your goals and method of doing business will mature as well. As new opportunities arise and new dreams take shape, Hilliker Corporation develops alongside you. We help entrepreneurs like you take advantage of the best the real estate market has to offer.

If you’re in a time of growth or change, let Hilliker Corporation come alongside you and guide you through your next real estate transaction. Contact Jeff Altvater and get started finding retail, industrial, warehouse, office, or institutional space for you and your business.