President, Owner, Baron Realty Inc.
It was always Cory Petcoff’s goal to get back to Lakeland, his hometown. But he decided to acquire some marketable skills elsewhere before coming home to work in the family business.
Petcoff worked for TriMont Real Estate Advisors in Atlanta for a couple years before returning to Lakeland with his wife to grow his family’s boutique asset management firm. Petcoff realized that Baron Realty had a full-time bookkeeper, office manager and maintenance guy that could be utilized during their downtimes, so he decided to expand the company’s third-party management business.
It took time to get the word out through cold calls, letting people know that he was offering third-party management, he says. “My strongest source (for leads) is word of mouth because we treat tenants really well.” It helps that he’s focused on a town of 100,000 people within the city limits and 200,000 in the surrounding community. “We’ve been in the community for a long time,” he adds.
In 2007, Petcoff was awarded the Pinnacle Award for No. 1 Top Producer. In 2008, Petcoff was awarded the Top General Brokerage Producer in a seven-county region by the Florida Gulf Coast Commercial Association of Realtors.
Petcoff is not interested in property outside of Lakeland, though he looks to continue to add to the firm’s 640,000 square feet of commercial property. His acquisitions are focused on properties where he feels they can add value, rather than just any property that pops up.
Petcoff helped lead the development of Dixieland, a 30,000-square-foot property targeted to artists and creative entrepreneurs. “The name of the game is finding who will be best served by the property,” he says.
— Traci Beach
Name: Cory Petcoff
City of residence: Lakeland
Twitter handle: N/A
Employer: Baron Realty, Inc.
Years on the Gulf Coast: Born in Lakeland, left the Gulf Coast to attend four years of college at Stetson, lived in Charlotte, N.C. for one year and Atlanta for three years, so I’ve been in this area for a total of 32 years.
Marital status/children: Married to my wife Mandy and we have two children daughter, Emma, 12, and son, Ethan, 8.
Alma mater: Stetson University
Best place to network: Concord Coffee
Coolest business experience: I have cool business experiences every day. I enjoy meeting various business owners and speaking with them about how our office or retail spaces can help take their business to its next milestone.
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Trust but verify. I can be a very trusting person, but it is important to harbor some degree of skepticism in most transactions. I still work a lot of handshake deals, but am more careful in those dealings that I might have been earlier in my career.
One website that makes your job easier: Xceligent
One community group you’re most involved with: All Saints Episcopal Church
Favorite off-hours activity: Spending time/traveling with my wife and children
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: My paternal grandfather who left Bulgaria before World War II to find a better life for his family in America. When WWII broke out, my grandmother and aunt were not able to leave the country and were separated from my grandfather for nearly eight years. Once the war ended, my grandmother and aunt were reunited in America and my father was the first of their family born in America. Both grandparents passed away long before my birth, but I’d love the opportunity to thank them for bringing our family to America and hear firsthand how they were able to overcome the challenges they faced leaving Bulgaria and settling here in America.
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: The First American Ninja Warrior!
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Skydiving
What’s at the top of your bucket list: Hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon at Havasu Falls
What new skill would you like to learn: I’d like to learn to speak another language fluently.
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Adam Sandler, or anyone with the ability to laugh at himself, which I believe is vital in any leadership role.