Just as it is preparing to open its freshly constructed, state-of-the-art corporate office in north Columbus in less than two months, Waddell Realty soon will have a new name to go with it — Bickerstaff Parham Real Estate.
Partners Reynolds Bickerstaff and Allen Parham made the announcement to employees Wednesday, with the company legally taking its new moniker on Nov. 1. The company, founded by Columbus businessman Richard Waddell, has been around more than 30 years.
“We debated about this for a long time, because the name Waddell is so well recognized,” said Bickerstaff, who purchased Richard Waddell’s interest in the company in 2012, making him and Parham — who had been a partner with Waddell since 2000 — the sole owners of the firm.
“Allen, he’s been in the business for over 40 years and is one of the most respected brokers in town,” Bickerstaff said. “I felt this is something that he really deserved, too, and I told him if we put his name up there, that he has to promise to stay with me for at least 10 years.”
Parham, who owned Allen Parham Realtors in the 1990s before joining Richard Waddell, said the changes the company is experiencing are exciting, and working with Bickerstaff has been a lot of fun.
“He’s a great guy. He’s like Richard Waddell. He’s a very hard worker and he’s passionate about everything he does. He’s a very smart young man and has done a great job,” said Parham, joking that he only committed to remaining with the younger Bickerstaff for five years. “I told him that I would stick around.”
Both partners, who oversee a staff of 16 employees and 47 real-estate agents, said they expect the transition from the old name to the new one, as well as the relocation to their nearly 18,000-square-foot office at 5547 Veterans Parkway, to be relatively seamless.
The name change in early November will mean replacing “home for sale” signs in clients’ yards, while the company’s website and other online elements, such as search engine optimization, will take on the Bickerstaff Parham Real Estate brand as well.
The office building, being constructed at a cost of more than $3 million, should be ready for occupancy by Thanksgiving, with the staff and agents moving in just after the holiday and looking to open for business there by Dec. 1. The facility will include space for a mortgage company, as well as a “smart home showroom” to help homebuyers, sellers and agents understand the benefits of automating your dwelling, Bickerstaff said.
“With Bickerstaff Parham Real Estate, our relationship and experience doesn’t begin and end with the transaction. Our relationship with our clients will be infinite,” he said of the company’s overall purpose and mission. “We want to be able to help them throughout the entire process of owning a home and help them understand how to live better. And that’s what this new space is going to allow us to do.”
Bickerstaff said the company’s staff and agents are energized about moving into their future professional dwelling, which will include a cafe, rooftop deck and 1,100-square-foot covered breezeway for entertaining clients.
The move to a new physical location, as well as the new name, also is simply about changing with the times, he said. Waddell Realty and how it operated through the years are vastly different with the economics today and the Internet-centric world people now live in, Bickerstaff said. Richard Waddell was a leader in new-home development years ago, he said, but that part of the market has dissipated.
“So Allen and I decided that we needed to shift our focus to helping agents build a business that would thrive in any real-estate market,” he said. “We couldn’t rely solely on new home sales, because that model has changed completely.”