Hoff & Leigh expands nationally

Hoff & Leigh’s recent celebration of a new office in Salt Lake City could be just the first of many to come.

Tim Leigh, who co-founded the homegrown commercial real estate firm in 1987, said the company is looking to expand nationally and aims to open six new offices this year and another 12 in 2013.

An office in Akron, Ohio, that opened in 2010 was the first.

“Akron has just exploded,” Leigh said. “I think he has seven brokers working for him there and they were one of the top brokerage firms this year.”

After Akron, Hoff & Leigh opened an office in Castle Rock and now in Salt Lake.

“This is something I always wanted to do,” Leigh said. “But I didn’t have the expertise or the time.”

Leigh has stepped back from the business and become what he calls the firm’s “top broker” since he joined City Council last year. His daughter and son-in-law, Holly and R.D. Trinidad, have taken over the major operations, he said.

Rather than franchising or opening corporate offices, Leigh said the company is creating a network of licensees. The company provides a menu of services for licensee and charges a small fee.

“They’re also sticking to the same model we have here,” Leigh said. “They deal principally with local businesses and decision makers rather than going for large corporate clients with a lot of layers for decision making.”

Other cities Leigh expects to launch in this year include Boise, Idaho; Las Vegas and a handful on the East Coast.

Except for the East Coast brokerages, which came through personal referrals, Leigh said the strategy for expanding will be to look at cities with direct flights from Denver on Southwest Airlines.

“We feel like Southwest has vetted its destinations and studied growth potential there,” he said.

Leigh said he expects the national growth to create local growth as well.

“We’ll need back-end services for our network of licensees,” he said.

And he expects the local office will grow to about 17 employees in the next couple years.