How long have you been in this role with Caddo Office Reimagined?
My partners and I purchased three existing Caddo locations, known as Yeager Office Suites previously, in Allen, McKinney, and Plano in July of 2019. Scott Yeager and his family founded the original company and they worked on this concept for more than 18 years and they really perfected it. The concept was actually borne out of entrepreneurial necessity in the early 2000s. Scott had a general contracting business and he needed an office where he could meet clients, so he bought a building and built it out with some offices. Before long, his friends and colleagues wanted to lease an office as well and he realized the product type met the needs of many of his entrepreneurial peers.
During the last 30 days of the acquisition period in 2019, I was able to sit with Scott and he generously opened his mind and laptop and shared the procedures he created and why he did things in certain ways. It was a great lesson in entrepreneurship and how to best serve small businesses.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to lead the Caddo Office Reimagined team.
I attended Texas A&M University for my undergraduate degree and went on to the University of Texas at Austin for my MBA. I started out in technology, a passion of mine still today, but was a casualty of the 2001 market crash and so I moved into real estate. In 2009, I partnered up with Justin Engler and Dustin Schilling and formed Caddo Holdings, LLC. We started buying 1980s-era office buildings, located primarily in the Uptown area of Dallas because they were really inexpensive at the time due to the recession. We invested capital into the buildings while working with our leasing agents to remarket them.
As an example, we might take a building that would be viewed as a B- and make it a B+ or an A-, but because we were still charging rents that were far below the A and A+ buildings in the area, we offered a good value of both product and location to tenants.
We had run our business using this model for about 10 years when we saw that the office market was beginning to change. We were subsequently introduced to Scott Yeager by one of our investors and, while we were enthralled by the flexible office space concept, it was difficult for us to understand because it was such an operationally intense business. For example, with our current 435 members with individual offices, there is significant volume to manage, so we really leaned on the founders and former owners to teach us how to operate this business before we assumed leadership.
Who does Caddo Office Reimagined serve and what are the benefits of membership?
Our member base really consists of a lot of small businesses. You will find many licensed professional counselors in our building, but we also have entrepreneurs and professionals in other industries such as financial planning, legal, marketing and graphic design and jewelry. We aim to be a support system for the entrepreneur and small business owner.
As for the benefits of membership, we offer a simple lease where members can leave at any time with 60-days’ notice. If a member needs to add a suite because they are hiring or subtract a suite because they are downsizing, it is really simple to do at Caddo. At a time when people are seeking flexibility in their office structure, this product meets their needs. Members have four walls and their own door, high-speed internet and a mailing address and mailbox as well as conference room time each month and a building manager on site during weekday business hours.
For those not needing a private office, coworking members also have high-speed internet access, a business address and mailbox and conference room time included each month’s rent along with the intangible benefit of having access to the entrepreneurial community that exists at Caddo.
How do you see Small Business office needs changing in the future?
We believe there is a lot of opportunity in this model in the future, perhaps even more in a pandemic and post-pandemic world. We believe people will increasingly want to work near their home. While many have been forced to adapt to working from home amid coronavirus, many professionals and business owners are finding it challenging to be effective with all the distractions that can come with officing where you live. Our members want to be able to focus, get their work done and be home in time for dinner while staying safe from COVID and other threats. We are finding the Caddo model of four walls and your own door at a reasonable price near home is resonating now more than ever before.
What is the future of Caddo Office Reimagined?
We are creating new locations. We pivoted Caddo Holdings to focus on this flexible neighborhood office concept almost exclusively during this economic recovery. We stepped away from our third-party building management and also sold several buildings right before COVID. We are focusing all of our entrepreneurial energy on this concept, perfecting it and growing it to meet more neighborhood needs in Dallas and, we hope, in other Texas markets in the future. We are already working on locations in Lakewood and Flower Mound and are continuing to search for locations in other neighborhood markets where entrepreneurs and small business owners live who would benefit from what Caddo has to offer.