Very Sperry Retail
Retail may be in a rut, but Sperry Van Ness's Chris Irwin and Scott Maesel are making it their bread and butter. Chris says the team is working with businesspeople who've hunkered down in preparation for the recession and are now able to make moves with money they saved, eg, the owners of local restaurant Sweetwater, which will be opening in the space abandoned by Bennigan's in Illinois Center at 225 N. Michigan.
Scott and Chris met in the '90s, when Scott was running a bar called the Stepping Stone in Lincoln Park and Chris sold him the alcohol. Scott got into real estate with Sussex & Reilly in the early 2000s, then broke off to form SR Commercial in 2006, where he was joined by Chris. When Sperry Van Ness began its expansion from California around the same time the pair started their business, it made an offer to buy the small company, which now houses 18 professionals and serves as brokers and sellers of all property types, as well as capital markets and auction. Because many of the firm's employees came out of the hospitality industry, Scott says they all have a great customer service mindset.