Staat runs one of the largest tuckpointing operations in MO. Bursting at the seams, he called on Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corp for the next phase of his company’s growth. At just seventeen, Jim Staat, got into the tuckpointing business, having no idea it would change his life. He said, “A friend of mine was in it. He got me a job, and that’s how I started—with a pickup truck, a hose, and a ladder.”
He founded his company, James G. Staat Tuckpointing and Waterproofing, in 1984. Now, it’s one of the most extensive tuckpointing operations in the state of Missouri. During peak seasons, he’ll employ as many as one hundred twenty Pointer-Caulker-Cleaners (PCCs), a specialized trade inside the Bricklayers Union.
He’s even grown into Columbia, Missouri, a location he started in 2006. Now, that location alone has twenty-three full-time PCCs.
Though they’re well-versed in every part of their industry, Staat developed a specialty in historic St. Louis-area buildings, including:
• The St. Louis Civil Courts Building, which features several stories of limestone masonry, ribbed columns, and small ornamental sculpture pieces
• The White House Jesuit Retreat, a massive project that lasted over eighteen months
• The Chase Park Plaza in the Central West End
• The Shoenberg Administration Building at Missouri Botanical Gardens
• The Lennox Hotel on Washington Avenue (now the Courtyard St. Louis) which is on the National Register of Historic Places
They use their insider knowledge and industry contacts to find the right materials for nearly any job. If the materials are unavailable, though, they know how to create them from scratch.
Staat said, “Most of the time, it’s a perfect match.”
But his success over the past twenty-six years meant he was stretching his Fenton-based office and warehouse to the limit. It was time to make a change.
Commercial Industrial Warehouse Space in St. Louis
In 2010, Staat purchased commercial real estate with a warehouse, office, and lots of outdoor storage at 8177 Gravois Road in Affton. Minutes from both I-55 and I-44, the location worked well for years, offering plenty of space and high visibility. Over the last ten years, though, his office staff has grown from just a few people to thirteen. And though most of his PCCs go directly to job sites, Staat initially only provided service, materials, and equipment for between twenty-five and thirty people.
But his larger staff means he now needs space for more:
• Manlifts (growing from seven to thirty-six)
• Office staff
• Trucks (he now owns forty)
• Mortar, masonry, and mixers
With that many assets, space for onsite service of his equipment was tighter than ever, too.
Staat also brought his two sons into the business. They’ve played a significant role in the company’s exponential growth.Jim said, “I go to the office every day, but my boys are out on the street, getting more market share. And that’s good—we have growth. But I knew we had a problem with our growth seven months ago. That’s when we got ahold of Will Aschinger.
Staat and Aschinger met through a previous commercial purchase. Staat presented Aschinger with this challenge: Find between three and four acres of land with a combined twenty thousand feet of office and warehouse space. It needed to be in south county with visibility from the road in a high-traffic area. Aschinger said, “It was a tough assignment!”
Staat hoped to stay in South St. Louis County, but more than that, he said, “I’ve always been one for high visibility. The way I see it is this: Out of sight, out of mind. But if you see us every day, who are you going to call?”
Better Location and More Space
The industrial warehouse inventory in South St. Louis County was limited, and none of the available buildings were quite right. Either they lacked visibility, had too-low ceilings, or sat within a flood plain. But after six months of searching, 425 North Highway Drive in Fenton came on the market. Immediately Aschinger noticed the property and knew he had found a match. Aschinger said, “When I saw it, I called, texted, and emailed Jim and all of his sons because I knew this was the perfect site!” It had served as a distribution site for Tamco Roofing Products. It was in South County, had easy highway access, and was ideal for storing plenty of materials and equipment both outside and in warehouses.
The commercial industrial warehouse site had everything Staat was looking for:
• Highly visible location off of I-44
• Two drive-in docks
• Twenty-two-foot-high ceilings
• 22,250 square feet of indoor space, including a warehouse, four pole barns, and a 4000 square foot office area
• 4.86 acres of land
Staat and Aschinger got the property under contract as quickly as possible. Aschinger made sure all inspections, including an Environmental Site Assessment, went off without a hitch. The property passed with flying colors. Banker Leon Hall loved the solution for Staat. He said, “Jim’s a very fine person to work with. This is a great opportunity for him. This building is a giant billboard on Highway 44.”
New Opportunities through Commercial Real Estate Investment
Even after purchasing the new property, Staat’s previous building on Gravois will remain his—he’ll be able to hold onto it as an investment. He believes it will take about one year to prepare the new site for move-in, but after that, he’ll still have his former property to lease out to new tenants.
And concerning the rest of his staff, Staat says, “We’re all excited … We love this space.” They estimate
it will take a full year to build out the building to his hoped-for specifications.
For the future, Staat doesn’t see things slowing down. He says, “All I’m trying to do is meet demand.”
Though it’s too early to tell if his grandchildren will be in the business, he and his sons hope to one day
pass the commercial industrial warehouse properties and the business to them.
About Aschinger, Staat said, “I highly recommend him. He made sure I got through my environmentals,
and he just put in a lot of time to negotiate between the previous owners and us. He’s helped me
through every step, and he’s really concerned about my benefit.”
At Hilliker, Our Goal Is Your Success
When a business grows or evolves, your commercial real estate will grow or evolve with it. And entrepreneurs throughout St. Louis rely on Hilliker Corporation to help them:
• Make wise choices concerning their commercial real estate
• Find new solutions to meet changing demands
• Create opportunities for the next stage of their real estate lifecycle
Whatever that means for you in the coming months, we’re here to help. We’re consultants that
guild clients find the right property, obtain great deals, and meet the challenges your
organization may face.
For more about what Hilliker can do for your organization, contact Will Aschinger here.