Sandwich Isle Reality

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PR – Featured Article in PBN – Making a bigger splash in real estate pool

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Surrounded by at least seven other residential real estate brokerages within walking distance of one another in East Oahu, Carl Smigielski knew he had to do something to stand out among his bigger competitors.

His answer: Move to a more visible location, make his agency a little bigger and hire professional marketers.

Smigielski, president of Sandwich Isles Realty, relocated his approximately 300-square-foot office from the Kahala Mall Professional Building to a similar-size space inside Kahala Mall next to CorePower Yoga on the ground level. He plans to add two agents to his staff of seven brokers and has hired Wind On Water Communications to do his marketing.

He said he spent about $50,000 on remodeling and new furniture.

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“As we embark on our new office at Kahala Mall, we want to get our name out there as much as possible,” Smigielski told PBN.

He said his old location had poor visibility and the new digs at Kahala Mall will offer more opportunities. He said he hopes to increase his annual sales, which have ranged between $12 million and $20 million.

Smigielski, 70, who started his small, boutique firm in 1990, has dealt with and continues to work with well-known clients, which he says has helped his name recognition. His clients have included the late actor Jack Lord, who was best known as Steve McGarrett in the original “Hawaii Five-0” TV series; Tom Selleck, who played Thomas Magnum in the television series “Magnum, P.I.;” and the late singer and entertainer Don Ho.

“Our company handled the sale of Jack Lord’s Kahala Beach condominium, Don Ho’s Lanikai Beach house, and I sold Tom Selleck’s home twice, once when he owned it and then later when that buyer sold it to my other client,” Smigielski said. “I have a whole slew of photos with everyone from presidents to golf professionals, celebrities and everyone in between.”

After moving to Hawaii in 1971, Smigielski, who now owns the agency with his son, Kimo, started working in the construction industry, doing estimating work for a local contractor. That led him to get his real estate license in 1978, the same year he married his wife of 35 years, Jim, who is originally from Thailand.

In 1990, he started Sandwich Isles Realty, which today has a long list of local and international clients.

Smigielski has consistently ranked in the top 1 percent of Realtors on Oahu. He has personally sold more than 150 homes and condos throughout the state.

Sandwich Isle Realty’s biggest obstacle today is overcoming the challenge of being a small company in a large pool of players.

One of them, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, also is located at Kahala Mall.

“This is probably considered real estate mall [in Hawaii],” said Lael Wheeler, broker in charge and branch manager of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties’ Kahala office. “We have [many] brokerage firms here and then we have five or six title companies and five or six banks, which is really convenient for a client.”

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties’ Kahala Mall branch, located on the second level, currently has 90 agents.

“We have a lot of agents who have been in the business 20-plus years,” Wheeler noted. “As far as agents in the top 100 in Hawaii, we are the top branch [with] seven or eight this past year.”

She said experience and performance sets Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties’ Kahala branch apart from its small competitors.

“I think the reality is that we just do more business than the other branches,” Wheeler said. “Not just Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, but Kahala as a branch outdistanced everyone within the Kahala environment.”

Other real estate firms located at Kahala Mall include Artie Wilson & Associates, Kahala Associates and Prudential Advantage Realty.

Smigielski wants a larger piece of that big East Honolulu pie and is counting on Wind On Water Communications to make him at least a more visible player.

A Wind on Water executive told PBN that the firm is working on several marketing and advertising initiatives for Sandwich Isles Realty, including sending targeted direct mail to sellers and buyers in the Kahala area.

“Branding initiatives are on the way,” said Principal Anna Covert. “The logo will remain the same, but we [will introduce] new colors and possibly a tag line.”

She said she will be recommending targeted schemes on the web, based on people’s online behavior. She also will be looking into billboard advertising in parking structures.

Covert said Wind On Water Communications intends to drive home the real estate firm’s strength, which is assuring customers that they will be working with experts in the industry with Sandwich Isles Realty.

“The father-son team really cares about the consumers they are targeting,” she said.

Article By Duane Shimogawa – Published Jul 5th, 2013 – View Article Online