On the Rise: Braden Crockett
Director of Auto Service/ Partner | Matthews Real Estate Investment Services | Age: 24
What was your first job in the industry?
One summer after my sophomore year in college I worked at a commercial truck tire location in the accounting and inventory control department.
What attracted you to the industry?
I was originally offered the opportunity to work exclusively dealing with auto service properties after my internship was finalized at the commercial truck tire facility. The model of our company was to specialize in a certain sector of the retail industry and since I had just come from a truck tire facility our CEO thought that I could leverage my hands-on experience to provide industry-specific insight to retail auto service operators, landlords and institutions.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
The biggest challenge I have faced thus far has been in negotiating with auto service business owners during the joint sale of their business and real estate. At first it was very frustrating dealing with owners who had unrealistic expectations, but through the experience of multiple sales, it dawned on me that it was better to take a more personal approach. These operators had spent their entire lives and poured their blood, sweat and tears into building their businesses. These operators came to the decision it was time to cash in on their life's work, but they often have trouble letting go due to a strong emotional attachment that was priceless to them. Thus the biggest challenge was to ease the pain and remind them of what a great opportunity awaited them in an overdue retirement.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
The person who has had the biggest influence in my career has been my mentor, Chad Kurz. Not only did he pave the way in teaching me the necessary skills to be successful in the commercial real estate industry, but he also acted more like a life coach.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment in the industry was actually very recently when I was offered partner at our firm, which solidifies an ownership stake in the company. Our CEO, Kyle Matthews, conveyed that the decision was ultimately made due to impressive statistics and volume of transactions. In the past 18 months I personally have closed more than 50 auto service property and business asset sales worth a total of value of approximately $70 million. I now manage a team of five brokers and in the pipeline we have another $17 million under contract and are negotiating contracts on another $38 million of auto service sales. If all of these successfully close, the total properties will encompass 24 states, 60 different cities and over 100 locations totaling more than $100 million in value.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
As the director of auto service with Matthews Retail Investment Services, a brokerage company, I spend all day every day on the phone discussing potential acquisitions and dispositions with auto service operators ranging from single unit franchisees to 1,000-plus unit corporations.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Twenty years from now I expect to be either on a beach somewhere or head of a commercial real estate development firm.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
The biggest issue facing the retail industry is indirectly tied to e-commerce. I strongly believe that the auto service industry has significant barriers to entry protecting the viability of this industry. (I do not anticipate Amazon Prime to be delivering technicians anytime soon.) However, the biggest threat is a dramatic shift in what makes up a strong location. Only about a decade ago, a tire store out-parceled to a Sears anchored mall used to be an ‘A+’ location. However with the shifting retail market comes a shift in traffic patterns which impacts all surrounding businesses, including service garages.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
Owners often grossly overestimate the value of their business.
What’s the worst cliché or generalization made about your generation?
The worst generalization is that millennials do not work hard.
Tell us about your family.
My family is everything I could ask for. I was blessed to have such loving parents and siblings. I also recently got engaged to my beautiful fiancé and we will be getting married in Napa next fall.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
I love to travel. To date I have visited more than 30 different countries and have no plans on stopping any time soon.
What keeps you up at night?
Rising interest rates and record high equities.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
Give me a call. I currently have six juniors that I am training and the best way to enter the industry is to jump right in to get your feet wet.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
About a day before I sent the check or already ordered a new one. As a broker, being without my phone would cost me a lot more than a $1,000 ransom.
Other than your cell phone, what’s a tool you must have to get through a work day?
Just my database. My team and I have compiled a proprietary database of over 200,000 investors, operators, and funds which is critical to maximizing price and getting the deal done.