It all started with a phone call. Two years ago, the trusted reputation and past experience of Bozzuto earned Bozzuto Management Company (BMC) an opportunity to expand into Chicago. In just 30 days, our team studied the market and realized when it came to high-end service—and in some cases just a courteous smile—there was a huge white space. By simply being our customer-obsessed selves and delivering extraordinary experiences, we’ve quickly proven to be market leaders.
This year at the BMAs, our first Chicago property, OneEleven, was awarded the prestigious President’s Choice Award. The prominence of this award comes from the fact that the teams who win it excel in several areas. In just two short years, OneEleven has obtained a stellar online reputation, been named Best Landlord in both 2016 and 2017 by YoChicago, Chicago’s most popular real estate channel, and acted as a springboard for our other Chicago properties, assisting in training and sharing tricks of the trade. So what is it about OneEleven and our entire Chicago team that has helped them become so successful in such a short amount of time?
Many OneEleven team members believe the fast takeover of their property was a blessing in disguise. With just two short weeks to build a team, Bozzuto looked inward for veterans from other markets, like Boston and the D.C. metro area, who were willing to relocate to Chicago. OneEleven Resident Manager, Beth Argaman, and Director of Leasing, Tess O’Brien, were both ready for a change of scenery. O’Brien swiftly packed up and transferred from The Kingsley in Alexandria, Virginia, while Argaman followed about a year later, saying goodbye to her friends and colleagues at 100 Capital Yards in Washington D.C.
Having individuals in place who were familiar with the Bozzuto values and service techniques right at the start gave OneEleven an immediate advantage.
Argaman says, “It’s been helpful for me to show my colleagues who didn’t previously work for the company, the ‘Bozzuto way’ of doing things. Bozzuto handles resident interactions differently, from our choice of words to our overall demeanor.”
O’Brien agrees that it’s our approach to customer service and sales that sets us apart from our competition. She says, “Having worked at other Bozzuto properties, I’m able to help train new hires so that our brand stays consistent throughout the portfolio.” With this rapid growth, consistency and maintenance of our values is important to everyone in Chicago.
And it’s not just our staff who have followed us to the Windy City. O’Brien shared that during the takeover at OneEleven, a resident she leased to back in Washington D.C. moved to Chicago and tried to stay in the Bozzuto Family. At the time, to her disappointment, Bozzuto wasn’t managing any properties there yet. When she heard about BMC taking over OneEleven she was thrilled and signed a lease right away. O’Brien was just as excited to see her, “It was nice to have a familiar face in the building!” This level of loyalty comes from the personal touch and attention we deliver to our residents.
OneEleven works to build a sense of family and community, regularly planning unique resident events and going out of their way to make them feel special. Argaman feels like she’s part of a family too. “One of my favorite moments here was when a couple that lives in the building brought me food over Christmas. They knew I didn’t have plans and it was so generous of them to go out of their way for me. Just recently, they decided to renew their lease at OneEleven. Their main reason was because the staff here has become part of their family.” That staff is a diverse, tight-knit group that supports and looks out for one another as they encourage cross-training and professional development. Pei Pei Chan Mirabella, Regional Portfolio Manager for Chicago, was also a D.C. veteran who worked at Flats 130. Back in February 2016, when she saw how closely the new Chicago group worked together, she was inspired to raise her hand and join them. “I knew I wanted to be part of a growing team that supported each other while finding the best way possible to deliver the Bozzuto brand. As of March 2017, we have a total of seven properties in Chicago, and three lease-ups.” Chan Mirabella talked about how much she loved her team and how they’re motivated and as excited as ever for the future.
While providing exceptional service to our residents, prospects, vendors and employees has set us apart from competitors in Chicago, team spirit, drive and collaboration has been a key component. This is evident in O’Brien’s one piece of advice, “Focus on your team and make sure they’re given the support they need in order to learn and grow in their position. If you take care of your team, your team will take care of your the residents.”