Top Company 2020: Real Estate
These three companies are shaking up the world of real estate
In its 33rd year, ColoradoBiz‘s Top Company honors the Colorado companies that have drive, determination, a vision and a plan and are ultimately making the state a better place to live and work. These three companies – one winner and two finalists – represent the 2020 Top Companies in Real Estate.
In 2010, Grant Barnhill posed a question to his family and friends: “If you were to work in the ideal office, what would it look like?”
The answers, along with insights from a year-long tour of 50 shared office spaces around the world, helped Barnhill create Shift Workspaces, a fresh take on shared office space.
“Rather than ping pong and beer, our spaces and our programming take cues from the hospitality industry to create a shared workspace community that offers members personalized, concierge-level service in a welcoming, arts-oriented environment,” CEO Barnhill says. “With refined and upscale amenities like massage therapists, health and wellness activities and cultural programming, our three locations feel more like a boutique hotel than an office.”
With more than 500 members and two Denver locations and one in Littleton, Shift Workspaces has proven that its office environment creates a community of people who care about each other. The company’s community-driven approach extends beyond its members: It donates 1% of its gross revenue to Colorado nonprofits every year. Donations of cash, volunteer hours and meeting space has benefited organizations including Colorado Public Radio, Denver Bike to Work, Best Buddies Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Food Rescue.
Shift Workspaces, a Certified B Corporation, belongs to 1% for the Planet, which supports environmental nonprofits, and all Shift Workspaces buildings have net zero carbon emissions.
In response to the pandemic, Barnhill waived all rents and fees for more than 500 tenants for the month of April. “When you show you care about people over profits, it makes a difference,” he says, noting that leasing traffic was up 20% during June 2020 compared with a year ago. “The demand is there for a workspace that is designed to support wellness, focus and comfort in this new era of work.”
Shift Workspaces also created Feed the Frontline Denver, a crowd-supported effort aimed at providing meals to frontline workers in partnership with Denver restaurants.
8z Real Estate
8z builds communities one real estate agent at a time. All of its 175 agents have received the training and support to live 8z’s culture of innovation, production and customer service.
In 2018, 8z closed more than $1 billion in sales and was ranked 264th nationally for brokerage sales volume, despite its relatively small size compared with others on the list.
“8z is productive, something that didn’t just happen, but was designed in the ‘8z System’ to help great agents close more real estate,” CEO Lance Hornung says. “The 8z System, which provides unparalleled training, marketing and administrative support, allows 8zers to do what they do best: assist their clients in buying or selling real estate.”
8z’s “Community Seeds” program provides a company match for any agent who spends money sponsoring a community event or cause. The company also supports Greenhouse Scholars, an educational nonprofit cultivating leaders to change low-income families and communities; and Salute Colorado, which helps U.S. veterans navigate the business world in pursuit of post-service careers.
Bray & Company
After more than 70 years in business, Bray & Company has learned a thing or two about surviving a crisis: Never give up — and be willing to adapt.
Since 1946, Bray’s core values of family, community and integrity have guided its decisions. The company has more than 40 employees and another 80 independent agents, all of whom were carefully chosen to ensure a seamless fit with Bray’s culture.
That culture includes giving back in a variety of ways, including the Bray Cares Foundation, created in 2019 to support local housing needs. In its first year, the foundations gave $20,000 to local charities that provide emergency shelter, affordable housing, rent assistance, housing for special needs populations and services to keep seniors in their homes. The company responded to the pandemic by creating the Caring for Our Home Community fund, which acts as a bridge between full service dine-in restaurants and local nonprofits that help the hungry. The fund has supported more than 6,500 meals to those in need.