Brad Burns was working for a general contractor in the St. Louis area when he caught the entrepreneurial bug. He believed he could build a multi-faceted business by curating a strong base of project managers, office staff, and contractors.
He began his first venture, Wayne Contracting, in 2014. They serve national retail chains and vendors by:
- Installing retail fixtures.
- Building out new branch locations.
- Remodeling existing branch locations.
- Setting up industry-specific equipment.
- Overseeing construction for store closings and relocations.
- Much more.
Their clients include Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Panera, Ralph Lauren, and Bank of America. They do their work throughout the US and Canada.
As Wayne Contracting has grown, Burns has leveraged his team’s skillset to spin off other businesses:
- P and B Plumbing
- Vizex Branding (a graphic design and installation company)
- Meramec Hardscapes (a concrete contractor)
Attributing the company’s success to a combination of great timing and determination, Burns was able to get all four companies off the ground with more than 100 employees working remotely.
It was the perfect strategy, but he knew it wouldn’t work forever.
Office and Warehouse Space Along the I-270 Corridor
By 2017, Burns began his search for office and warehouse space. He knew it was time to act for several reasons.
First, the team’s collection of tools and materials were spread out across a rented storage facility, various trucks, and employees’ garages. If the business kept expanding at its current rate, they would grow beyond their capacity quickly.
Second, his project managers and office staff could accomplish more if they were in one place. The team was hungry for consistent face-to-face communication.
Finally, Burns and his wife have five children, ages seven and under. His home office situation was becoming untenable, joking, “Little kids don’t respect boundaries when you say, ‘I’ve got to work now.’”
The Wayne Contracting staff estimated they needed 10,000 square feet of combined office and warehouse. Additionally, he wanted to limit his search to the I-270 corridor—an easy commute for all team members. He was looking to buy, not lease, believing it was the right decision for the future stability of the company.
Initially, two separate brokerages were unsuccessful in helping him find a space. During that time, he learned his aunt and uncle’s restaurant business had found success with Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation. Burns had met Aschinger years before and had been impressed by his knowledge, experience, and creativity.
Growing an Entrepreneur’s Portfolio
Burns and Aschinger started searching together. Aschinger only sent opportunities he thought were worth the busy entrepreneur’s time.
Burns said of Aschinger, “He’s a good guy and easy to deal with. Some brokers want to jam stuff down your throat, but not Will. He got in tune with what I was looking for relatively quickly.”
Unfortunately, in this extraordinarily tight market, few properties were available inside the parameters they had set. After searching for a total of two years, however, Burns felt like his business and family were both growing too quickly for him delay any longer. While scrolling through properties on the Hilliker website, something caught his attention.
32 Progress Parkway is a nearly 7,000 square foot warehouse and office building in the Westport area of Maryland Heights.
Patrick McKay of Hilliker Corporation represented the owner.
Though it was smaller than he initially hoped for, the Westport area was perfect. It’s an easy commute for Burns and his employees and a smart investment for the future.
Burns will continue to lease a remote parking facility for company vehicles, but everything else will fit comfortably inside the new location. They were able to purchase the property in July 2019 for $605,000.
Remodeling the space themselves, they estimate a move-in date mid-August, 2019.
Moving from Remote Employees to Real Estate Investment
Thanks to technological advancements, remote workers allow entrepreneurs to grow without leasing or buying a “central office.”
But “spread-out” can become “spread thin” very quickly. In many cases, face-to-face collaboration and consolidation can be the only efficient way forward.
If your business is ready to make the leap from remote office to central location, Hilliker Corporation’s brokers are experienced, creative, and determined. We look within the current market to find ways to help you grow and thrive well into the future.
If you’re ready to consolidate your efforts into your first commercial office or warehouse space, we’re here to help. Give us a call today.