by Jennifer Pauly
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce will honor 10 businesses and individuals at its annual Chamber Awards Gala this Friday, May 16, at the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston.
Great Lakes Real Estate Inc.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce board of directors and chairman of the board, Richard J. Haight, have chosen Great Lakes Real Estate Inc. as the 2014 Chairman's Award recipient.
Bruce Andrews started Great Lakes Real Estate in 1997 with a small office on Main Street and Ashland Avenue in the City of Niagara Falls. Prior to opening his business, Andrews invested in residential real estate with an emphasis on real estate rehabilitation, renovation and sales.
From the onset, Andrews' goal was to acquire quality agents and set up a good support system to give the agents what they needed to do their job. It was the right philosophy to grow, and that is just what the business did. Great Lakes Real Estate outgrew its Main Street office after four years, and purchased and moved into the Old Association of Realtors building at Pine Avenue and Seventh Street. The business community was starting to grow in Lewiston and the decision was made to move to 440 Ridge St. The goal Andrews had set to provide support was doing its job and growth continued.
Great Lakes Real Estate is now located at 916 Center St. with plenty of parking and office space. The office is complete with two conference rooms and all of the tools realtors need to be successful. More than 48 agents are with Great Lakes Real Estate, with many who have been a part of the company since the beginning. The office is often busy on weekends with agents hosting open houses. A second Great Lakes Real Estate office is located on Grand Island Boulevard on Grand Island and a third office is located on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield.
Internet marketing is what Great Lakes Real Estate does well, catering to what buyers want to see. Andrews wanted to create a website where buyers could find everything they wanted to know about a property with photos, price, and mortgage info. His thought in creating a successful website was that the more information available to the consumer, the better. Web traffic at www.GreatLakesre.com boasts between 2,000 to 2,500 visits daily. General searches drive interest and social media is used mainly to drive traffic to the website.
Future growth for the company revolves around the possibility of growing by acquisition. Dan and Lucy Wilson Realty in Youngstown is a part of the Great Lakes Real Estate company. Staying on top of media trends and technology is also imperative to growth of the business.
Lewiston has been the home community of Great Lakes Real Estate for more than 10 years. Supporting the Niagara River Region has been a priority, sponsoring events like the Lewiston Christmas Walk and Tour of Homes, Lewiston Harvest Festival, Lewiston Jazz Festival, Niagara County Peach Festival, and the Lewiston Family Skating Rink to name a few. Andrews and his agents are involved in the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, WNY Real Estate Information Service, NYS Association of Realtors, Youngstown Business & Professional Association and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.
Andrews has built a business based on a model of creating a great working environment. His interest in staying on top of computer programs, website development and anything tech related has given his agents tools to use to grow. You can often find Andrews fixing the company network, or setting up an email account for agents.
Bruce and his wife, Lucy, have three children, Matthew, Emily and Mark, as well as two cats. Matthew has started working at Great Lakes Real Estate. He loves this region, and representing an area that sells itself with walkable communities, good school systems and a great quality of life makes his job a little easier.
The chairman and the board of directors of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce proudly congratulate Bruce Andrews and Great Lakes Real Estate for their dedication and investment to the community in the Niagara River Region.
River Region Partnership Award
Brett's Tent & Awning
Brett's Tent & Awning has been chosen as the 2014 River Region Partnership Award recipient. This award was created in 2013 by the Chamber of Commerce staff to recognize a business that supports the chamber's mission of business development, improving quality of life, and the history and culture of the region, while actively participating in chamber initiatives.
Brett Nadeau of Brett's Tent & Awning has been in the tent business since 1983. His first job in the business was cleaning tents for the long-standing Falls Tent business based in Lewiston. Over time, Nadeau started fabricating awnings and formed Falls Awning & Canvas. Fabricating awnings was Nadeau's specialty, however he started to slowly get into the rental business. He made three tents and started to rent those out along with some party equipment. In 1995, he was offered the opportunity to acquire the tent business he worked for back in 1983, and his tent and awning company was formed, which is now Brett's Tent & Awning. The business has grown and is currently located at 1318 Hyde Park Blvd. in Niagara Falls.
The logistics of having an event-centered business is something that is always challenging. Having the right equipment at the right time, in the right place requires coordinating. That is where Nadeau's background of 26 years in this field and his degree in hospitality management from Niagara University gives him the edge in knowing how to manage the business, along with his business partner and sister, Mary. Mary joined Brett's three years ago and has brought new ideas to the business.
Many events in the community would not be complete without seeing Nadeau and his tents on the sites. Some of the events you can find Brett's tents and equipment at are: the Lewiston Jazz Festival, the Niagara County Peach Festival, Lewiston Harvest Festival, NYPA Wildlife Festival, Buffalo Italian Festival, the Hellenic Greek Festival and many more. On average, they also coordinate between six and eight wedding events per year.
Brett's Tent & Awning is now a full-service company offering awning sales and services, signs, graphics, awning storage, tent rentals, tables, chairs, linens, along with wedding and corporate event planning and much more. Having the storefront and showroom location on Hyde Park Boulevard gives the company the opportunity to showcase its items and have customers see first-hand items they would like to rent or awning choices. The business has a Facebook page where customers can see photos of awnings, party rental equipment and events Brett's Tent & Awning has provided equipment for, but most of the marketing is from referrals, repeat customers and word of mouth.
Nadeau's reputation of being reliable, having quality items, and providing excellent customer service is what makes Brett's Tent & Awning successful. The community supports Nadeau, and he is quick to return the favor.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce proudly congratulates Brett's Tent & Awning, the 2014 River Region Partnership Award recipient, for their long-standing service and dedication to the community.