Exploring Life & Business with Debi Blanchard of Centerco Office Suites
Today we’d like to introduce you to Debi Blanchard.
Hi Debi, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I originally planned to work in residential real estate. My kids were 2 & 5 and, I was divorced.
I talked to my father, Arthur Loomstein, who owned Centerco Properties and he offered me a part-time position working on budgets for the residential properties. I was given flexibility so I could attend my kids’ school functions and events (which was the greatest gift ever!), I worked hard, and I worked my way up through the company.
At one point, I considered leaving, but I decided this was really the right fit for me. I was office manager from 2001-2008, VP from 2008-2011, President-Chief Operating Officer in 2012, and I took over as Owner and CEO as of July 2020 after my father passed away.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I have been very lucky to have a somewhat smooth road with a few bumps along the way. 2008 was tricky. At that time, our tenant in Creve Coeur decided not to renew their lease, and to take their operations to their own facility.
The building was put on the market, and at that time there were NO buyers. Luckily, a cousin of mine was working out of shared office space in New York, and the idea to use the building to start Centerco Office Suites began.
We’ve been impressed with Centerco Office Suites, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Centerco Properties is a very small group, and we really consider ourselves a team. Everyone is cross-trained (including myself) on how to do everything from answering phones and setting appointments, to giving tours to prospects and managing finances.
While it sounds cliché, I think we are known for our over-and-above customer service and our ability to meet our tenants’ needs. We make every effort to accommodate all special requests.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Be flexible. This was a very difficult time for Centerco Properties and our tenants, but we have worked together and managed to come through on the other side while keeping most of our tenants happy (we hope!).
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