Company: The city of Naples was a tiny village when John Wood founded the real estate firm that shares his name in 1958. Six decades later, the company has grown at least as fast as the sprawling city and the surrounding Southwest Florida region, with 18 offices spread throughout Collier and Lee counties. Today, the company is managed by John Wood’s son, Phil, who joined the firm in 1977 after earning a business degree in college. Phil Wood was the firm’s ninth agent at that time, and the company now employees 575 agents. A third generation of the Wood family — Phil Wood's two daughters — also work in their patriarch’s company. The company handled $2.7 billion in total real estate sales last year.
Opportunities: Phil Wood, who has been the CEO of John R. Wood Properties for the past 20 years, says the residential real estate industry has changed quite a bit with the advent of the internet, in that marketing to existing and potential clientele requires them to invest a significant amount in digital and social media advertising. It has also led them to try new technology, such as drones, to capture aerial videos and still photos for properties.
He is “very optimistic” about the coming seasonal resident and tourist season for Southwest Florida, as well as the entire residential real estate industry. “There are hundreds of thousands of baby boomers who are retiring or wanting to move to Florida, so there’s a big potential group of buyers,” Phil Wood says.
Threats: The biggest challenge for any real estate firm, even one like John R. Wood Properties, which is one of the largest and oldest in Southwest Florida, is competition, Phil Wood says. Still, he expects the firm will at least match 2019's sales volume, if not surpass it in 2020, and he doesn’t see a slowdown on the horizon. “We are having a better fall quarter this year than last year,” he says. He adds that the firm is concerned about the rapid growth in Southwest Florida and whether it's possible to "maintain quality communities" with developers building so fast.