“It‘s not just a business transaction. I’m helping someone achieve their dreams.”

Nikki Kirk
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Published on January 25, 2022

Welcome to with Good company, a series of conversations with withco partners, from small business owners to brokers, and more.

When the property owners of European Medical Massage and Spa were looking to sell their property, they turned to experienced commercial real estate agent Jeff Hettinger. Jeff was able to broker a deal with the owners and withco to put the business owner on the path to owning her property.

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To find out what that process was like from a broker’s perspective, we caught up with Jeff to get his take on working with withco:

Can you tell me a bit about your experience in commercial real estate?

I have over 40 years experience in commercial real estate mostly as an owner and landlord. I had a company that owned and leased a 460,000 sq ft warehouse that was later converted into an award-winning $80 million mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project outside of Reading, PA. In that space, I leased out an office building and a restaurant space as well luxury apartments and condominiums, one of which I sold to be converted into a hotel and another I sold to be developed as retail space. Outside of that, I had other commercial properties, mostly restaurant and office spaces.

Eventually, I “retired” from being a landlord and developer and leveraged that experience to become a commercial realtor with Keller Williams in Reading, PA. Now I work with about two dozen clients at a time, helping them find their best real estate opportunities.

How did you first get in touch with withco?

Well, you all actually reached out to me. I read up on withco’s philosophy of trying to support small business owners by giving them the opportunities to own property and it just so happened that the timing was perfect because I was working with a client that fit the bill perfectly.

At the time, I was working with Steve and Denise, the property owners of European Medical Massage and Spa in Chillington, PA. They were looking to sell and move to Texas. After weighing all their real estate options, they came to realize that no one was better equipped to steward their property than  the current owner, Linda, who was previously their long-time employee. 

Linda clearly had the skills, experience, and drive to own the property, but she lacked the capital to purchase it outright. That’s where withco came in and offered to make the opportunity work for everyone. I’m happy to say that through withco, Linda’s on a lease-to-own plan after which she’ll have the equivalent of a down payment to own the property outright. It’s not everyday that you help someone fulfill one of their dreams, but that’s what we were able to do together.

What was the process like working with withco?

The process was definitely streamlined, you all were super responsive. In a few weeks you came down to do your due diligence and we negotiated the sale of the property. withco also got the building’s physical and environmental inspections done in under thirty days!

withco moved the whole process as fast as the owners wanted to sell and as fast as the proprietor [Linda] needed. Ultimately, you couldn’t ask for a better pace in selling commercial real estate - the whole process felt seamless.

Jeff Hettinger
Owner of JMH Management
Generally speaking, what kind of business makes a good partner for withco?

You all make it easy to figure out who might work well. I’m thinking someone very entrepreneurial with a proven track record and the ambition and dream of owning their own real estate.

I should also say that I’ve got another client who runs a small business looking to purchase their industrial space that might meet withco’s criteria. That means that within a few months I’ll have had two potential deals with withco!

How did it feel making a sale and helping a small business owner take control of their property?

I mean, of course as a human being I get tremendous gratification knowing that I’m not just completing a business transaction, but I’m also helping someone achieve their dreams by empowering a small business owner to succeed and give back to her community. 

From the beginning, it was clear that withco worked to make sure that Linda had the savvy, resources, and knowledge to be a successful small business owner, so I knew she and her business were in good shape moving forward.

Before working with withco, what was your experience with lease-to-own deals?

withco’s model is different than anything I’ve seen, where the purchase happens right up front. That’s obviously good for the property owner, but it also creates more certainty for a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses by putting them on a clearer path to own. Personally speaking, I think there’s going to be a growing market of small entrepreneurs who have the aspiration to own their properties moving forward and withco is well positioned to make those deals possible.

Do you have any advice or knowledge you’d like to share with other brokers who might be interested in working with withco?

What really struck me was how easy it was to work with the whole withco team. Everyone was so accessible, so helpful, and so genuinely interested in the success of the clients. It was a pleasure working together with withco and I hope to do it again soon!

Interested to see if withco would be a good buyer for your property?

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