Raising her family in the San Francisco Bay area just wasn’t an option for Adrienne Bryant anymore. In the early 2000s, the housing market was getting hotter and hotter, and she was trying to figure out how to continue to raise her family there, and save to send them to college.
She had pulled the trigger and had obtained her residential real estate license, but the market was “getting out of control.” She had a client who had a house in Phoenix, as well, and she invited Adrienne to come for the weekend and stay. She could get to know the area and the community.
Adrienne dove in and investigated—and she liked what she experienced. She moved herself and her three kids to Chandler, Ariz. in 2005. “It was the hardest thing for me to do,” she said, “But it was the best thing I could have done.”
“I didn’t have anyone in Arizona, and I was leaving my family in the bay area,” Adrienne said. “But I wanted a better life for my kids. I could not stay in the bay area and send them to college, too.”
Once settled in the area, another friend advised her to get out of residential real estate and get into commercial. Once she started representing commercial tenants, she found that her clients were paying too much in rent.
“I thought to myself, ‘What’s the problem? Who’s helping them?’ No one was,” she says. “So that’s where I started—helping people lease executive office space” and being their advocate. “It wasn’t easy.”
That continued hard work and sacrifice helped her become her own boss: She opened her own brokerage firm, Bryant Commercial Real Estate, a few years later, and since then daughter Joni has joined her.
Joni herself graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in urban planning. She didn’t know that real estate was going to be her calling, but while in college she landed an internship with the city of Chandler.
She had the opportunity to work on a plan to help Chandler’s downtown become relevant again. Like many communities, Chandler was losing its young people to more urban areas.
“We designed an entertainment district,” Joni said. She was given two parcels of land to design, “and I was able to put my spin on it so it would appeal to 9-to-five blue collar workers, to students, to moms. Everyone would feel at home and welcome. It was so much fun.”
Fast forward to today, and Adrienne’s firm has a focus on franchising. She found she liked the franchise model: that franchisors give the franchisee a process to follow. The firm does only tenant representation now, working with the franchisor to understand their real estate needs, and then represent their franchisees from site selection through lease negotiation.
They also offer construction management services for location build outs. This service offers proprietary software “that enables communication to everyone involved in the project each step of the way.”
For one fitness franchise, it was crucial that the franchisees had outside help with the real estate process: It allows the franchisees to concentrate on the all-important task of signing up club memberships before the doors open.
“I have learned that these people need guidance,” said Adrienne. “Because of my experience, I collaborate with them, and then that allows them to go do what they do—run their business. We help them be mindful and sharp about the decisions they are making.”
“We play mama bear with them when we need to,” she said with a laugh. “And that’s what makes us different.”
For Joni’s part, while it isn’t always easy working with family, she’s been trained at her mother’s knee in real estate, and for that she is grateful. “I was her shadow, and I absorbed everything I could right away,” she said. “For franchisors, we learn what their needs are and what there core values are. We tell them what we can do for them, and most of the time we get the account.”
Just like her mom, Joni says, “I like making the connections and helping people attain their dreams.”