A Lifelong Dream Come True
Jenny Sturm, a St. Louis native more than twenty years into her sales career, stood at a crossroads. Her full-time job, working in sales for a pharmaceuticals company, had her spending too much time on the road.
Further, she had spent many of her nights and weekends helping her parents with their commercial and residential construction company. By 2018, she had helped them sell off their holdings. Now free to concentrate on her day job, she found she missed the construction business.
As she thought about what she might do next, she unearthed an old dream: to purchase and operate a company of her own.
She began looking for construction companies that were ready to sell. She came across Signature Craft, a commercial contractor that produces, markets, and installs sound-baffles and window treatments.
With an in-demand product, Signature Craft was a solid business model with a bright future. Sturm’s background in sales, marketing, and operations made it a great fit.
Sturm says, “I always wanted to own my own company. I came across the opportunity and said, ‘I can do this!’” Soon after signing the deal, she found out her corporate position was set to be eliminated. Her timing was perfect.
Officially, Sturm purchased Signature Craft on January 1, 2019. Quickly, she realized the commercial warehouse and office space they were leasing was not compatible with her vision for the company.
The Search for St. Louis-area Commercial Office and Warehouse Space
For many years, Signature Craft has been in Rock Hill on Manchester Road in a building owned by the company’s founder. Though Sturm now owned the business, the building wasn’t part of the deal, and she would be leasing the space.
There were a few problems with that. First, the old building didn’t match her vision for the brand. At 36,000 square feet, it was much too large, leaving her team scattered and the building feeling empty.
Second, it was located in a floodplain, driving up the company’s insurance premiums. Third, she wanted to find more of a central location for the business, positioning it closer to a highway. Ideally, it would be no more than fifteen minutes from her home in Webster Groves.
Feeling like they needed to make purchasing commercial real estate for the company top priority, Sturm called her bankers at Parkside Financial, who referred her without reservation to Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation.
After consulting with her team, she decided to search for 25,000 square feet of commercial office and warehouse space.
Sturm and Aschinger went looking for property, though there was very little warehouse space that was also zoned light-industrial. They needed to find a creative solution, and Aschinger was up for the challenge.
After touring over a dozen properties in Fenton, Kirkwood, and Westport, Aschinger found a new listing for a building in the Hanley Industrial area that featured everything Sturm and Signature Craft were looking for.
Making a Smart Investment in a Turnkey Commercial Space
When Aschinger and Sturm toured 1419-1423 Strassner, they were immediately struck by how perfectly it fit Signature Craft’s needs.
The building, already zoned properly with the right-sized warehouse, had a small but well-appointed office space. Though the building itself was right at 33,000 square feet, only about 25,000 square feet was unoccupied. The rest was already being leased to McMillan Construction, meaning Sturm could generate income from an existing lease.
Sturm said, “The building itself was really turnkey. The plant manager and I have decided how we’ll lay things out. We considered everyone’s opinions, so all that’s left to do is a little bit of work. Our union carpenters are handling that.”
Buying Commercial Real Estate: A Full-Circle Moment
Sturm says of Aschinger, “It was great working with Will. He made it so easy. I let him lead the way, and he took things from start to finish. I felt confident in his ability.”
As her parents learned she was going sign for her own commercial property, they were encouraging, and Sturm felt like her life had come full circle. She says, “I felt like I got a great deal. The property is only going to appreciate, and it’s going to be my space.”
Sturm and her team found a couple of added benefits to their new location beyond what they hoped for. Since the Hanley Industrial area is full of contractors, Signature Craft will be near both current and potential partners, creating an opportunity for synergy and collaboration.
Second, the staff is excited to be working in a purposefully planned space, and everyone is looking forward to the quality restaurant and shopping options just minutes from their workplace.
Signature Craft hopes to move into their new building by June 15, 2019.
Creative Real Estate Solutions for St. Louis-area Businesses
Are you ready to stop leasing? Would you be better positioned for success if you owned your own commercial warehouse, office, or industrial space?
Hilliker Corporation brokers go to work for you to find creative solutions that meet your needs.
If you’re ready to get started looking for commercial real estate, set up an appointment with a Hilliker broker today.