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Business Observer Tuesday, Jun. 14, 2022 2 months ago

Real estate firm tries new strategy: Opening a second location in a mall

Living Vogue Real Estate celebrated its grand opening earlier this year. Since then, the showroom has seen a number of mall guests curious about what's inside.
by: Amanda Postma Sarasota-Manatee Editor

In a unique business move, Sarasota-based Living Vogue Real Estate opened its second location, a showroom, in The Mall at University Town Center.

The flashy new storefront is located on the first level next to Seasons 52. The mall is located on the edge of Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota, west of Interstate 75. Living Vogue Real Estate also has an office in downtown Sarasota. 

Why open a residential real estate showroom in a mall? The real estate company saw an opportunity through the number of out-of-town visitors the mall gets, in addition to it being a rather busy area. “Lakewood Ranch has been a bigger market for us,” Matthew Hickey, the COO and associate broker, tells Coffee Talk. 

Construction began to move forward on the space in September 2021. It was supposed to take two months to complete, but due to a large number of other construction projects in the area, Hickey says, the grand opening didn’t take place until late April of this year. The buildout, furniture and decor of the showroom came out to around $125,000. 

Now that it's been open for some time, Hickey says it’s been doing well. In addition to an increase in leads, the showroom has drawn in a few real estate agents, bringing the firm’s total up to 75 agents. But it also catches the eye of the average passersby. 

“When you walk by our office, you know it’s something different,” he says. “It’s inviting and trendy. The decor is eye-catching.” 

The firm paints itself as a trendy workplace that provides a glamorous experiences for clients. Its showrooms come equipped with arcade games, pinball, a pool table and a wine bar. 

Mall guests also stop by to guess what kind of store it is, Hickey says. The showroom has brought in people thinking it’s a salon or furniture store. 

“The showroom experience is also branding,” he says. Even for people who stop in thinking it’s something different, the next time they’re in the market for real estate needs, he says, “we hope they think of us first.” 

The firm isn’t planning to stop with just the second location. Future plans include offices in St. Petersburg and Naples. 

“We’ve had a lot of great feedback,” Hickey says. “It’s definitely been a good move for us.”

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