Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Value of Having a Branch Office

It has been more than thirty years since First Choice Real Estate was founded by Steven Blumner on Main St., in Flushing, New York.  I joined my brother in business in the fall of 1983, opening a small branch office on Utopia Parkway at the other end of Flushing.  By 2004, First Choice had become the top selling residential real estate company in the borough of Queens, and was sold in November of that year.  The buyer was NRT, Inc., a name unknown to most consumers, but at the time, the largest real estate company in the world.

I believe that one of the key steps that led to the success and growth of First Choice Real Estate was the establishment of that tiny branch office on Utopia Parkway.  That office, now the site of small nail salon, had room for only five desks, but the power that it gave us was a new identity as a multiple office operation.  In the mind of the consumer, a branch office signifies growth and ambition, and is perceived as a testament to the company’s success.  In a market crowded with competition, it singled us out as a company of distinction. 

I remember the delicious feeling of having two addresses on my business card and on our company stationary.  I published a monthly newsletter at the time, called the Flushing Homeowner, which listed the Main St. office as our “Headquarters,” and our little office on Utopia as the “Branch Office.”  Once a customer called our office, and apologized:  “I’m sorry,” he said.  “I meant to call your headquarters.”  I oozed with pleasure as I hung up the phone. 

Today the former First Choice Real Estate Building on 186th Street in Fresh Meadows is now the home of the Executive Office Center at Fresh Meadows, an office building offering full service, furnished and equipped offices and virtual office solutions.

The Executive Office Center offers companies an opportunity to take the same strategic step we took in 1983 -- but at a comparatively insignificant cost.   You can open a “Queens branch office” at the Executive Office Center for a mere $39 per month.   A virtual office at the Executive Office Center gives customers the appearance of an actual office.

A number of well established attorneys have signed on at the Executive Office Center as virtual tenants.   Most have offices outside the borough, and are seeking local market penetration.  A virtual office at the Executive Office Center gives customers the appearance of an actual office, and their new Queens address broadcasts the same powerful message that conveyed with the opening of our branch office.  “We are an ambitious company.  We are confident and competent.  We are a company with whom you want to do business.