A state-of-the-art training center to be used to train not only its agents, but also the buyers and sellers, is what officials of one of Lee County's top realty companies think will help the city turn the corner and help bring in more homebuyers and businesses.
Century 21 Birchwood International held the grand opening of the new corporate training center at its headquarters at 601 Del Prado Blvd. North.
The 2,500-square-foot facility is fully equipped with audio, visual, and sound equipment, and will be available to the community for business venues, community events, and non-profit organizations as a community outreach incentive.
The event included city dignitaries Mayor John Sullivan and City Manager John Szerlag, much of the Century 21 family, as well as local companies that set up exhibits to promote their wares.
There were also light refreshments and lots of networking, along with a myriad of raffle prizes, including a one-week stay at a four-star hotel.
The event ended with a ribbon-cutting outside the new offices.
Joseph Interbartolo, broker and owner of Century 21 Birchwood, said the new room will be used to train their own on how to use technology and not just pound the pavement, as well as how to take care of customers on their journey.
"Technology is really taking over our business. Agents everywhere need to be educated on it and are not," Interbartolo said. "We will teach agents the technology as well as how to sell, overcoming objections, insurances it's not just about selling real estate. We want to guide the buyer and seller through the whole process."
Interbartolo added that the training center will also teach buyers and sellers of homes through free workshops and seminars.
"Everything has changed so much from short sales and foreclosures, our agents don't know how to handle them," Interbartolo said. "We're stepping out of the box and doing what no other company is doing."
The training center will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every other Friday, Interbartolo said.
The idea, which was put into motion rather quickly, is the brainchild of broker/coach Lucy Quinones, who added the room will also be used as a meeting place for non-profit organizations, and to create strategic alliances with the community.
"We want to be an intricate part of serving our community and being at the forefront of that," Quinones said. "It was a door of opportunity that opened up and it's became a supernatural event."
Sullivan said during the ceremony that the training center will be a key component in bringing more business into the city, as well as allow people what to expect while living here, from schools to taxes and assessments.
"It is important this is happening because without business, we can't create jobs and without new jobs, people can't move here," Sullivan said. "People have the right to know what they're getting themselves into.
Quinones said, most importantly, that by sharing their knowledge with the public, it will help create a synergy with them, which will help business as a result.
"It's about giving knowledge and sharing energy and time and resources for free," Quinones said. "When you give, you get back hundredfold. Money will find you if you help people."