NAI Mid-Michigan Vlahakis Commercial
When Vlahakis Commercial Investment and Brokerage signed with NAI Global, they added a national presence to a company with strong local ties.
NAI Mid-Michigan Vlahakis Commercial will continue to work with premier property owners and tenants in Lansing, as well as broadening its outreach to other parts of the state and nation. NAI Global is one of the world’s largest commercial real estate providers, managing a network of 5,000 professionals and 350 offices in 45 countries.
NAI Mid-Michigan Vlahakis Commercial is Lansing’s largest independent and commercial real estate company, with major clients including leading corporations and financial institutions such as First Bank, Ingham Regional Medical Center, Wendy’s International – Staton & Associates, and Wal-Mart.
Co-principals Jim and Nick Vlahakis recently spoke to The Greater Lansing Business Monthly about joining NAI Global, and the advantages it can bring to mid-Michigan.
Q: Why did Vlahakis decide to join the NAI network?
Jim: We had grown to be a very, very strong independent real estate company servicing the community beautifully. But, we started to lose name recognition outside a 25-mile circle. If somebody from out-of-state came into town, we were a brand they may not recognize. So we were losing out on a percentage of business for that reason.
Nick: Now, if you take a strong platform like we have, and join a network like NAI Global, clearly that give us the wings to become a stronger regional player. We now have the ability to do business through the country effortlessly, as well as the world.
Q: How would you describe the significance of this move to this area, and to the state?
Jim: We were at the ceiling before. Now, we’ve blown the ceiling off, and have improved our ability to market properties. Whenever you can have a stronger platform to work from, you have a better likelihood of success. That’s what we need in this town. We need to be more successful at leasing space.
Nick: We’re seeing vacancy rates that we haven’t seen in 30 years—on average about 20 to 30 percent. So we’re fighting a fight. It’s a 15 percent higher vacancy rate than we were experiencing just three to five years ago.
Q: How will joining NAI help Vlahakis to grow?
Nick: Now, instead of a toolbox with just three tools in it, we have a full toolbox. Without question, this platform will give our brokers opportunities they didn’t have before.
Jim: The perception of our company has dramatically changed. We offer a brand now. As an example, a businessperson flies into town … he or she is more likely to rent a car from Avis or Hertz than from Vlahakis Car Rental. NAI is a brand that people are comfortable with. In just a few months, we’ve recognized that value. Clients know what NAI is about. We don’t have to sell it.
I don’t want to say that family-owned businesses are a dieing breed. But to go to the next level, we had to take this leap. I want this company to survive after me. This is a platform that can do that.
Q: How many brokers does Vlahakis have? What areas do you cover?
Jim: We have 14 brokers. That includes Nick and me. Our exclusive regions are Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties. As a member of NAI, we can do business anywhere in Michigan and the United States, but we’ll need to work together with other NAI offices once we go into another region.
Q: How do you differentiate yourself from other local commercial real estate brokers?
Jim: We can all go in with papers and nice brochures, but what differentiates us is that we’re good street brokers. If you carry and maintain a corporate attitude, you fly over and tend to miss what this town needs: good, scrappy, hard-working people who get it done on all levels.
Nick: We know the market. We’ve been here all our lives. We went through Lansing schools, and our dad, Louis, ran the Golden Gate Restaurant on South Cedar years ago. He also owned a little real estate, and that’s how we got started. He did well in it, and we want to do the same.
Q: What are your plans for future growth?
Jim: We have a 12-month plan here to fully phase in all the technology NAI has to offer. It’s a very powerful package, and allows us to produce all the necessary reporting, and to break it down anyway we want to. It’s beautiful. We’re also looking to move our office to another location since we’re busting at the seams here. That’s all I’m going to have on my mind for the next year.
Q: What else would you like the mid-Michigan business community to know about you?
Nick: As owners, Jim and I are very involved. We go with our agents to listing appointments. We’re available. We don’t hide. We’ve always stood out based on our strong local presence. Now, with NAI, we can help out clients coming in or going out. There are a lot more opportunities now for everyone.
| || |
NAI Mid-Michigan Vlahakis Commercial
Jim Vlahakis, Co-Principal
Nick Vlahakis, Co-Principal
Both–Lansing Public Schools
Michigan State University, Business Construction Management
Jim–Fully licensed real estate appraiser
15851 S. US 27, Suite 73
Lansing, Michigan 48906