This year marks Coreland Companies’ proud celebration of its 25th Anniversary. Since its inception in 1990 the company has established itself as one of Southern California’s premier commercial real estate service providers, offering personalized brokerage and management services based on unmatched regional expertise.
The firm’s reach has extended from Bakersfield to San Diego, leasing and managing more than 30 million square feet over 25 years. Coreland teams have managed nearly all property types over the years, but retail shopping centers have always been the cornerstone of the company.
Through it all, the greatest reward of this quarter-century-mark has been the invaluable lessons learned that provide the foundation for Coreland’s core values: to value people, have integrity and strive for excellence.
#1 Relationships Matter
“Along the way we have always prioritized the value of relationships. The long-term relationships we have fostered have been the catalyst for growth and change,” shares co-founder Chris Hite. ”We have always had a very long-term perspective. We never looked at taking a fee today to compromise a relationship tomorrow.”
“There is a select group of people to whom we really owe our success,” shares co-founder Patrick Galentine. “People who took a chance and believed in us enough to extend invaluable opportunities.
“Our first client, New Frontier Development was one. We were two recent college graduates with a business plan we scrambled to put together. A chance meeting with their CFO eventually led to our first assignment, Euclid retail center in Garden Grove. We went on to manage all of their Southern California properties for them, for which Chris and I did everything―climbed on the roof, collected rents, posted hand-painted leasing signs. It was truly our on-the-job training.
“Over the years there have been many others who have impacted our growth―clients who brought us along as they changed companies, relationships formed at industry functions, and of course long-term members of our team that have been instrumental in our success.”
#2 Do What You Say, Say What You Do
“When we formed our partnership someone told us that Chris and I would never last,” shared Galentine. “The average partnership only lasted three years so by five years we would certainly be done.”
“But we’ve been through three seven-year itches and we’re still here,” said Hite. “We definitely have complimentary skill sets that we bring to the business, but more importantly, we share a commitment to integrity that has guided our work for 25 years.
“I can honestly say that we’ve always worked in the best interest of each property and each client with which we are involved. If we can’t do something, or we are not the best group or person for the job, then we tell our clients. And yes, that means that at times we have passed on an assignment because our primary goal was to ensure the best for the client or property. We have never tried to be everything to everyone.”
#3 Always be Ready to Adapt
“One thing we’ve always done well is been proactive and adjusted quickly,” said Galentine. “Through three recessionary periods, we’ve been able to see the writing on the wall, so to speak, and make important adjustments along the way. This has been equally important for our clients, as well as our company.”
“That’s exactly what we did in 2007 as we witnessed the early signs of the most recent recession,” said Hite. “We looked at each other one day and knew it was time for Pat to dust off his receivership resume and switch gears for a while.”
“You don’t get taught any of this stuff in school. Early on you make decisions based on limited personal context, and you learn on the fly. Running a business is an ongoing education. You continuously have to remind yourself to stop and think, don’t just keep on doing.”
#4 Be Guided by Opportunity
“In addition to being nimble, it is equally important to figure out when you’re on the wrong path,” said Hite. “It really doesn’t matter what you have invested at that point. If it’s not right, then it’s not right.”
“This is exactly what we felt like in the late 90s. At that time we were managing a significant residential portfolio,” shared Galentine. “It was a period of time that served as a major catalyst for the company’s growth. We exploded; properties were coming in faster than our fax machine could keep up. However, one day we realized that we had about 3,000 units of apartments in addition to 4 million square feet of retail… but apartments were not our passion. We knew it was time to make a change and renew our focus on retail, something we always enjoyed.”
“It is important to us that we never lose sight of the experiences and core values that got us to where we are today,” shared Hite. “However, it is of greater importance that Coreland continues to evolve and grow. We want to see the day that a new generation is running the company and continuing what we’ve started.”