Category Archives: News

New Mosquito Joe Franchisee Calls on Hilliker to Find Office Space for Lease in St. Louis

A Yard Overrun by Pests

Laura Strasser lives in Des Peres, Missouri. With two kids and four dogs, she has plenty of reason to worry about mosquitos, fleas, and ticks. More than a nuisance, these insects can carry viruses, so she takes them seriously.

To deal with the problem, she became a customer of a local franchise of Mosquito Joe, a nationwide chain that specializes in eliminating these pests.

After three treatments, Mosquito Joe technicians were able to kill most of the mosquitos in her yard (they estimate 95%). They treat other kinds of properties as well: baseball fields, soccer fields, restaurants with outdoor seating, and others.

As someone who had owned franchises before, Strasser knew a great business model when she saw one. After doing a little research, she decided to invest in three St. Louis-area territories. She needed to find a small office space for lease in the St. Louis area.

Finding Manchester Road Office Space for Lease

With a house in Des Peres and a child in an Ellisville school, Strasser started looking on Manchester Road.

Strasser and Family

Her needs were simple. Mosquito Joe franchises don’t require much space, and in Strasser’s case, she only needed to find about 2000 square feet to receive shipments and outfit her small fleet of vans with the supplies they need for a day’s work.

On a drive, she found a potential candidate. Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation represented the property owners, so she called and asked about the space.

She liked Aschinger immediately. “He didn’t start by trying to get me to lease the property I was interested in initially. He started by asking me questions like, ‘What are you looking for? How can I help you find something?’”

As it turned out, the space she called about wasn’t a great fit. But she continued to work with Aschinger, who researched and shared multiple properties for her consideration.

A Prime Location for a Unique Need

They zeroed in on a retail center at 14560 Manchester Road.

Though Mosquito Joe doesn’t need high visibility (they seldom get walk-in clients), the property owners had space for lease behind the building on a lower, hidden level. Situated near MO-141, her drivers would be able to get to the highway without having to fight Manchester Road traffic.

Putting two spaces together, Aschinger and Strasser were able to strike a deal with Hutkin Development Corporation and carve out 1900 square feet of office and storage space. Settling on a five-year lease, Hutkin also performed some light buildout, including adding a water spigot for an outdoor hose.

A Low-Stress Transition

Strasser was pleased with the process, saying, “Will is doing it right. We looked at several spaces. And when we finally settled on this building, one of Hutkin’s owners came out to meet me. I’ve worked with several landlords before, and that rarely happens.”

Strasser says that with heavy rain combined with possible flooding, it may be a challenging year for mosquitos in the St. Louis area. Her team is working to put chemical barriers around properties while educating landowners about how they can enjoy the outdoors this summer.

Strasser and her Mosquito Joe franchise were able to move into the new building and start operations in less than a month, thriving as people begin to prepare their yards for spring.

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Omni Physical Therapy Works with Hilliker Corporation to Purchase Commercial Real Estate in St. Louis County - Des Peres

A Welcoming Environment for PT Patients

Commercial Property in Des PeresPhysical therapist Dr. Hunter Knight, DMP, believes each of her patients has a right to her undivided attention.

At Omni Physical Therapy, she made it her mission to see only one patient per hour. With three private treatment rooms, a fourth room for massage therapy, and two full-service gyms, she and her staff can focus on offering patients one-on-one care, whatever their needs.

An all-inclusive physical therapy (PT) provider founded by Dr. Knight in 2009, Omni has cultivated a welcoming environment, reporting a 99% customer satisfaction rate from a recent in-house survey. With a staff that includes a massage therapist, a personal trainer, and an ergonomist, they work together to maintain a comfortable and inviting space for their patients.

Finding a New “Home”: Going from Rental to Purchasing Commercial Real Estate in Des Peres

However, the medical space Omni was leasing at 1000 Manchester Road (near I-270) was at cross-purposes with Knight’s vision. Though it served her business for many years, she hoped to one day own a building that exemplified the personal care she was used to giving her clients.

Additionally, she no longer wanted to pay the high rent her space required. She wanted to invest in a building and property that would serve her business well into the future.

For Knight, it was time to purchase commercial real estate in or near Des Peres.

Believing that moving too far from her original location could prove harmful to her relationship with her patients, she wanted to stay within a five-mile radius.

One day, out for a drive, she saw the house at 13314 Manchester Road for sale. Listed with Will Aschinger at Hilliker Corporation, she called the number on the sign, and the two of them got to work.

Working Together to Build Omni’s Future

The house, owned by Fred Bueler of Bueler, Inc. (a residential design and modeling company), was 3200 square feet and had served as the company’s showroom, warehouse, and office. They purchased the building in 1991 after growing out of two separate rental spaces. Like Knight, Bueler was ready to stop paying rent. He had envisioned the two-story home as perfect for his growing business and made that a reality.

With parking in the rear and a 1600-foot walk-out basement, he worked to turn the former home into a showroom and office. When he decided it was time to retire in 2018, he started asking trusted advisors for a referral to a high-quality local broker.

A. William AschingerAfter several conversations, he called on Will Aschinger, the name that came up more than once.

Bueler says, “Oddly enough, Will and I ran into one another when I was coaching [my grandson’s fifth-grade basketball team].” Aschinger coached his own son on an opposing team, and the two developed a rapport.

Bueler prepared the house for sale: painting the walls, removing his inventory, and making small repairs. At one point, he and Aschinger had the building under contract but were disappointed when the previously eager buyers had to pull out of the deal.

Dr. Knight’s call came at the right time. Leveraging inspections already been completed under the previous contract, Bueler and Knight were able to arrive at a mutually beneficial deal quickly.

Building on Mutual Trust and Integrity

Aschinger, Knight, and Bueler enjoyed working together, each one commenting on the other two parties’ commitment to do what they had promised promptly.

For Knight, her practice is set to blossom now that she is paying rent directly to herself. Happy to be able to take control of her destiny, she’s now building equity in addition to creating her business.

The house works well with the aesthetic, brand, and customer experience she has defined as her goal. As the owner, she and her colleagues are doing half of the remodeling work themselves, contributing to the “personalized” feel of the new office.

Additionally, with a backyard where many of her patients will be parking, she’s eager to get to work doing some gardening, a hobby she believes will serve her business by beautifying the grounds and creating an even more welcoming environment.

Omni Physical Therapy will have a gym both on the top and bottom floors plus four private rooms for treatment. Having built a wheelchair ramp to ADA specifications, the building will be ready on April 1, a new home for Omni’s valued clientele.

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Naked Boot and Shoe Brings Handmade Shoes to Chesterfield, MO

Bringing High-Quality Shoes Directly to Customers

Jim Ferguson has spent his career in the shoe manufacturing business. Relying on years of experience, he knows what it takes to create high-quality handmade leather shoes.

He also knows what goes into the price of those shoes: wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. He and his partner, Bob Weber, had an idea to cut out the middlemen to bring high-quality leather shoes directly to the St. Louis area.

Together, they established Naked Boot and Shoe, a St. Louis-based handmade shoe line and retail store.

They did so by first establishing a relationship with Pakistan-based Tannery KTM Leather, a company that could use the all-natural process Ferguson believes would create the highest quality leather in an environmentally friendly manner.

Weber told the Webster-Kirkwood Times, “Because of our partnership with KTM Leather, we own and control our entire supply chain. Without the middle-man, we are able to pass our cost savings directly back to the customer.”

Additionally, they brought in senior merchandiser and fashion designer Kelly Weber (also Bob Weber’s niece) to help create custom designs for Naked Boot and Shoe. Only twenty-two, her work is already garnering attention from renowned designer Nicole Miller.

The partners opened their first location in Webster Groves at 8157 Big Bend and found it resonated with customers immediately.

Building on that momentum, they decided it was time to open a second location, this time in Chesterfield, MO. To find the right retail space for rental, Mr. Ferguson called on commercial real estate brokers Rebecca Thessen and Jeff Altvater at Hilliker Corporation.

Looking for the Perfect Fit in Chesterfield

The opportunity in Chesterfield was clear. With lots of shopping in the area and a clientele used to a high-end experience, there were no handmade shoe boutiques in the area. Naked Boot and Shoe could fill that need but first had to find a small retail space for rental in Chesterfield, MO with complimentary businesses nearby.

At the same time, Thessen and Altvater’s clients at 1590 Clarkson Road had an opening. Owned by Southern Real Estate and Financial Co., the building’s anchor tenants are Talbot’s and Chico’s, with a nearby nail salon and yoga studio. The open space, once occupied by a gourmet cupcake shop, had been vacant over a year.

Ferguson loved the space and decided to pursue it.

Cutting Out the Middleman

Thessen commented that representing both the tenant and the landlord made for a smoother negotiation process.

In such circumstances, she says, “I know the expectations of both the tenant and the landlord,” and that not going through a third party made the process “more time-efficient. I know them. I know what they like, and I know what they don’t like.”

Thessen said of Ferguson, “Jim is a great guy to work with, very efficient, very on top of things. He’s familiar with the business.”

Additionally, Thessen and Alvater were excited to have a retail solution already lined up for their client, an opportunity afforded them by being part of the Hilliker team.

 The Right “Next Step”

Southern Real Estate’s John Roberts says, “It’s exciting to have [Naked Boot and Shoe] in the Chesterfield area,” believing placing them near Chico’s and Talbot’s will benefit all three stores, adding to the success of the retail center.

Positioned for expansion, Ferguson and Weber are bringing their vision for high-quality handmade shoes to West County. Naked Boot and Shoe’s second location at 1590 Clarkson Road is set to open March 15, 2019.

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St. Louis Business Purchases and Rehabs South County Retail Plaza

Family-run Fire Truck Business Set to Rehab South County Retail Plaza

From Childhood Dream to Thriving Business

Commercial Real Estate St. LouisBill Franz grew up loving fire trucks. And in 1986, he saw an ad in the paper that changed his life.

It had a phone number and a simple message: “Sell fire trucks.” Bill was in. He called the number and went to work for a company out of Chicago doing just that.

Soon, he and his wife, Norma, decided to start their own firetruck sales company out of their house. It’s grown into Sentinel Emergency Solutions, a thriving family business with two locations in the St. Louis area: one in Arnold, one in Freeburg, IL.

Sentinel sells, repairs, and customizes fire engines for municipalities throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. They also provide the life-saving boots, helmets, gear and breathing apparatuses firefighters use every day.

In 2007, Bill’s son Brian Franz became a partner in the business, and several members of the family are also heavily involved.

With a lease on their Freeburg, IL, location set to expire, Sentinel was ready to buy commercial property in the St. Louis area, one that would bring their two sites together. They also wanted room to grow, looking toward the future.

For that, a mutual business advisor referred them to Brendan O’Brien of Hilliker Corporation.

A Belief in Serving Communities

Bill and Brian Franz hoped to find a piece of raw land where they could build a structure that would suit the needs of their unique business model: bays for repair and customization, offices, a showroom, and a large lot.

They knew they needed to stay near I-255 for the sake of their clients. Brian said, “There are gravel floors in some southern Illinois fire departments. They have Bingo nights to pay for gas.” Neither Bill nor Brian wanted to ask these valuable customers to drive any farther than they needed to.

However, there was little raw land or other industrial buildings that would suit their needs. With the help of O’Brien and their partners at Doering Engineering, they saw an opportunity.

Franview Plaza, a commercial retail space in unincorporated St. Louis County and just off Telegraph Road, looked like it might meet their needs. An L-shaped retail strip with several tenants, the largest space had gone unfilled for seven years. Having been initially occupied by an A&P grocery store, it had many tenants over the years but was now sitting vacant.

As the demographics of the location had changed, there were few obvious solutions for new tenants. The owners, Franview Partners, were ready to divest themselves of the property and looking for the right match. They needed someone who would take care of the building’s current tenants and had a plan for the grocery-store-sized space.

Incredibly, Franview Partners were represented by Hilliker’s Will Aschinger, so O’Brien and Aschinger went to work on their clients’ behalf, looking not only to benefit the two businesses but also the community.

An Unexpected Solution: St. Louis Commercial Retail Space

St. Louis Commercial Real Estate Retail

Bill and Brian knew the benefits of purchasing already-developed land: that drainage, grading, and other pieces of infrastructure were already in place.

The Franzes hadn’t considered taking on tenants, but they immediately saw the potential. Tenants meant income, and though they saw how much work the building needed, they were up for the challenge.

As for the old grocery store space, O’Brien came upon a highly creative solution. He suggested Sentinel adapt this now obsolete retail center, recommending they tear it down and construct their ideal building from scratch.

In total, Sentinel would acquire 55,000 square feet of St. Louis-area commercial property but only keep 20,000. The rest would be torn down and rebuilt into a beautiful, state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot facility.

Everyone was on board.

Aschinger and O’Brien spent many hours guiding their clients through the process of securing zoning approvals from the county. In the end, Sentinel’s real estate investment arm, LJC Commercial (owned by Brian & Maria Franz), purchased 2828-2830 Telegraph Road in South St. Louis County for $1,500,000.

Businesses Working Together for their Community

Mehlville School DistrictJim Roberts, of the Franview Partnership, was happy to see his company’s investment getting a new life. He said, “The center needed to be refurbished … It was time to make changes, but it’s hard to find credit-worthy tenants, and we wanted to do something positive for the neighborhood.”

Roberts sees Sentinel’s plans for the commercial property as a way to “create new enthusiasm” in the region, hoping the upgrade will also mean more revenue for the Mehlville School District in particular.

Brian Franz was ecstatic with Hilliker’s work on the project. He said he had been searching for a broker who would “communicate with me and really be on our team. We needed somebody who would kind of steer us down the path. Brendan was in constant communication with me. And having him and Will in the same office was a real help to us as well.”

With plans drawn by Dial Architects, work is underway. Sentinel plans to break ground in the spring of 2019 and move in by January 1, 2020.

St. Louis Business JournalBut wait – there’s more! Read Here to find out what the St. Louis Business Journal had to share about this new development!

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St. Louis Builder Finds New Headquarters and Showroom in Fenton

Mahn Custom Homes and Renovations Purchase New Headquarters, Adding Showroom, in Fenton

Creating a Personalized Experience

Mike MahnIn 1998, Mike Mahn saw an opening in the construction industry. As someone who believed in quality work and service, he noticed too many contractors and builders settled for cookie-cutter solutions and unreliable timelines.

In response, he founded Mahn Custom Homes to work on custom homes, historic renovations, home remodels, and light commercial projects. He’s grown the firm into a multi-million-dollar operation with over fifty employees, consultants, and suppliers.

The company continues to grow, and faster than ever. In October 2018, Mahn brought on five new full-time employees, putting their office space at a premium. Warehouse was limited as well, overflowing with materials for upcoming projects.

Concurrently, Mahn had a desire to take the company’s design services to a higher level. He wanted space to showcase many of the options available to clients.

Recognizing the company needed a new place to call home, Mahn called on Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation. Together, they started to look for something to meet all of Mahn Custom Home and Renovation’s needs.

Finding Commercial Warehouse, Office, and Showroom Space in St. Louis

Commercial Property St. LouisAschinger and Mahn had specific criteria for their building.

First, they needed about 3000 feet of St. Louis-area commercial office space along with 2000 feet of commercial warehouse space. They also needed to be as close as possible to their original Kirkwood location, stay close to a major intersection, and be convenient for their current employees to commute to and their customers to find.

Additionally, Mahn focused his business model on offering the highest possible levels of customer service. Preferring to call his clients members of his family, he’s always looking for ways to create a second-to-none experience them.

As they looked for a new space, Mahn decided to search exclusively for buildings with a showroom, adding a higher level of service than ever before.

Aschinger brought all of his expertise to the project, knowing that such a building would be hard to find. After assessing commercial warehouse and office spaces throughout the St. Louis area, concentrating near Kirkwood, the two found success in nearby Fenton.

A Custom-Made Solution

Mercury Communications, which had just been purchased by Keeley companies, no longer needed their building at 1710 Larkin Williams. They were ready to divest themselves of the property, vacate their space, and find a new landlord for the tenants in the rest of the building.

It met all of Mahn’s requirements, including office space, warehouse space, and a showroom. Already zoned for light industrial use, it sits close to the intersection of Highways I-44 and I-270 on a highly visible corner.

Moreover, it met one of Mahn’s wish-list requirements: tenants. Tenants would provide cash flow from the beginning while allowing the company to have a building they could grow into over time.

Though the building was built in 1970, it had been completely renovated in 2011 and was ready for its new owners to customize immediately.

In the end, Aschinger brokered a deal for Mahn Custom Homes and Renovations to buy 1710 Larkin Williams from Mercury Communications for $1,225,000.

The new building positions Mahn to continue to expand their current operations while having a much wider range of offerings available to their customers. The showroom’s grand opening will take place on Sunday, May 5.

St. Louis Business JournalBut wait, there is more – read HERE to find out what the St. Louis Business Journal had to say about this development!

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Quality Auto STL, moves to Westport with help from Hilliker Corp.

Quality Auto STL, Built on Foundation of Helping Veterans, Finds Commercial Rental Space in Westport

A Dedication to Excellence

David Marks founded Quality Auto STL in 2010. Having worked in the industry since 1999, he jokes he bought a “garage with a house in front of it” to build a business that has gone from a part-time venture to a full-time, profitable career—one set for expansion.

In addition to auto repair, Marks has his dealer’s license. He seeks out and repairs used cars on behalf of clients who trust his knowledge and skill.

From the beginning, he decided to use these skills to give back to veterans, of which his dad is one.

Supporting VeteransMarks volunteers his time with The American Legion’s Vehicle Donation Program. He repairs donated vehicles and, using his dealer’s license, brings them to auction. As a representative of The American Legion, he sells them for a profit that goes to helping veterans, among the organization’s other programs.

It’s work he’s proud of.

Meanwhile, Quality Auto STL has prospered. By 2018, Marks knew he was ready to find commercial rental space in the St. Louis area. For this, he chose Frank Yocum of Hilliker Corporation.

An Opportunity for Expansion

As Marks and Yocum lined out the opportunities for Quality Auto STL, the challenges were immediately apparent.

First, they knew they needed a relatively small St. Louis-area commercial rental space near his current location on Lackland, eliminating several options.

Additionally, since Marks wanted to keep operating as a dealer, they concentrated their search on Maryland Heights, the only nearby municipality that would allow for an auto repair shop to also sell used cars.

The next hurdle was finding someone who believed Quality Auto STL could operate a clean and organized business on their property. Marks came with a track record of taking care of his current location, but he and Yocum would have to convince potential landlords of this.

After visiting and evaluating more than seven locations, Yocum found a nearly 2700-square-foot commercial rental space in the Westport area of St. Louis that was clearly the ideal choice for Marks’s long-term success.

Negotiating a Win-Win

Negotiating Commercial LeaseMad Pak, LLC, owns the building at 11457 Schenk Road. It had commercial rental space opening up that was the right size for Quality Auto STL—large enough to eventually bring on more staff, but small enough to meet its current needs.

The broker for the building knew Yocum and Hilliker Corporation for its second-to-none reputation, lending credibility to Marks’s fledgling enterprise. Mad Pak and Quality Auto STL were able to strike a deal for a 5-year lease.

With the building chosen, Yocum and Marks went to work getting the property zoned for an auto repair shop. The two attended hearings together and were able to take care of the zoning requirements quickly and efficiently.

Poised for Future Progress

commercial rental spaceNow under construction, the new building in Westport is perfect for Quality Auto STL to continue its growth and success. Marks says he enjoyed working with Yocum, having benefited from his integrity and experience.

Marks said of Yocum, “If he says he’s going to handle it, it gets done.” Also, when Yocum needed Marks to do something, it was clear and actionable, making it easy for Marks to do his part.

Yocum enjoyed Marks’s enthusiasm and ambition, saying the two would remain friends for years to come.

Set to move in on March 21, Marks plans to continue his work for the American Legion and hopes to use the new building to grow his business and keep helping others.

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Hilliker Completes 10-Year Office Lease with Capes Sokol

Clayton, Missouri – October 23, 2018 – Capes Sokol, a St. Louis-based full-service law firm, has signed a lease to move into the Regions Centre located at 8182 Maryland Avenue in Clayton.

Jeff Altvater and Rebecca Thessen, office brokers with Hilliker Corporation, represented the tenant, and Newmark Grubb Zimmer represented the landlord, 8182 Maryland Associates.

Under the 10-year lease, the firm will occupy the top two floors of Regions Centre, approximately 34,000 square feet of premium office space.
“In the last four years, the number of Capes Sokol professionals has grown by over 50 percent,” said Jeffrey A. Cohen, Managing Shareholder of Capes Sokol. “Since our founding in 2001, we have been located in the Pierre Laclede Center. Due to deliberate growth, we have expanded our space multiple times.”

Altvater and Thessen assisted the firm with their previous expansions and renewals in the building. “We are committed to remaining a mid-sized, St. Louis-based law firm,” continued Cohen. “The expanded space will allow us to continue to add to our roster of outstanding legal talent. We are planning a redesigned office that will offer dynamic, collaboration-based working spaces and will accommodate new attorney and practice group development consistent with our strategic plan. Our success has been the product of thoughtful and intentional growth in certain practice areas allowing us to better serve our national, regional, and local clients.”

The attorneys of Capes Sokol focus on corporate and real estate matters; business, commercial, intellectual property, and product liability litigation; tax litigation and controversy; white collar and other criminal defense matters; trusts and estates; and digital currency and blockchain technology matters.

“The Clayton Class-A office market remains extremely tight, especially when searching for contiguous spaces that exceed 15,000 square feet,” Thessen stated. “When we discovered that a large vacancy was to become available prior to the previous tenant making a public announcement, we jumped at the opportunity.”

“We are proud that we were able to leverage this crucial information on behalf of Capes Sokol to result in a successful negotiation,” Altvater added.

Hilliker Corporation, which targets regional and national entrepreneurs, is St. Louis’ largest independently owned commercial real estate company located at 1401 S. Brentwood Blvd. The firm’s agents, who each average over 15 years of experience, have completed more than 10,000 commercial transactions for office, industrial, retail, and institutional clients since its inception in 1985.

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Kirkwood Material Supply Grows with Valley Park Acquisition

Valley Park, Missouri – April 30, 2018 – Locally owned Kirkwood Material Supply (KMS) plans to open a new location in Valley Park at 141 and Hwy 44 in late May.

KMS closed on the 5-acre, 25,000 Sq. Ft. former St. Louis Hardscape Facility in February of this year.

Hal Ball with Hilliker Corporation Commercial Real Estate represented KMS and the seller in the transaction. The new location will sell landscape materials as well as concrete and asphalt maintenance products.

This will be the seventh location for KMS in the St. Louis region, including retail outlets in Kirkwood, Eureka, Des Peres, Affton, Lake St. Louis and Chesterfield.

Masonic Temple Sold By Hilliker Corporation

Hilliker Corporation has sold the 386,000 sq. ft. Masonic Temple at 3681 Lindell Boulevard.

Ben Hilliker and Scott Martin of Hilliker Corporation represented Masonic Temple Association of St. Louis and sold the property to Brandonview LLC.

The Masons will continue to occupy the Temple Building for a brief period of time before moving to a new location, and in the near future, the buyer will announce its plans for the Temple Building. The Temple features six full floor levels and eight mezzanine levels. On the first level, there is an unfinished theater designed for 2,200 seats and a grand entry lobby, finished with marble and painted mural.

The 14-level Masonic Temple was built in 1926 and at one time housed then, Grand Master Harry S. Truman’s office. Charles Lindbergh, before his transatlantic flight in 1927, was initiated into the Masons in the Temple. During the Cold War, the Temple’s lower level was designated as an air raid shelter.​