In only 10 years, Randy Waller and Tony Shira have grown their real estate company from one office and 10 agents into five offices, 100 agents and 18 employees. Most of that growth happened in the last two-and-a-half years. The owners of W Real Estate and W Commercial Real Estate (the “W” is for Waller) are “local boys, born and raised,” says Dennis Park, general manager of the Sonoma County-based company.
Our readers selected W as the Best Commercial Real Estate Company for 2017, the first time the company won this award.
“Initially, Randy and Tony teamed up to start a small, locally-owned residential real estate company,” says Park. “But it has since morphed into the largest independently- owned real estate company based in Sonoma County.”
W’s main office is in Santa Rosa, with additional offices in Sonoma, Windsor, Kenwood and Ukiah. At least five of the company’s agents specialize in commercial properties, which represents about 10 percent of the company’s overall business. In addition to Park, W’s agents on the commercial side include Carlos Rivas (vice president of the commercial division), Mark Payne (a vineyards specialist), Ryan Snow (Sonoma Valley expert) and Todd Schapmire (Mendocino and Sonoma team leader).
Waller and Shira also operate a stand-alone mortgage brokerage, 5th Street Financial, which offers commercial and winery/vineyards loans, along with residential and construction loans. Another division of the company, W Property Management, manages commercial spaces, vacation rentals and residential properties.
Park says that W Real Estate offers a broad spectrum of real estate services in a customer focused, team-oriented environment.
Rivas, a veteran of the commercial real estate scene in the North Bay, joined W Commercial about a year ago. “Together, Dennis Park and I bring a combined 83 years of real estate experience to this company,” he says. “Ours is a relationship-based business, and our longevity working in real estate in Sonoma County gives us a tremendous following of clients that we’ve served for decades.”
Despite a recession that brought turmoil to the real estate industry shortly after W Real Estate opened its doors, business has been booming ever since. “Our company managed very well during the recession,” says Park. “We’ve undergone an organic growth that was not by design. We never set out to say we should have 100 agents by 2017, but it just happened. Agents came knocking on our door because they appreciate our good reputation and like that we are locally owned. Some agents feel more of a kinship with a company that’s born and raised right here, and which is sensitive to and appreciative of the nuances and culture of this incredible place we call home.”
Park emphasizes that W Commercial’s perspective is to have “a Sonoma County sensibility.” Park adds, “It’s about being protective of maintaining our incredible lifestyle here. We try very hard to deliver a high level of customer service, together with honesty and integrity.”
The company’s unique signage, featuring a large W, won over Rivas before he even joined its commercial division. “The signs are attractive––I liked them from the first day I saw one,” he says.
Says Park, “Everything we do—including our signage—demonstrates our commitment to quality.”
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