|Al LaCanne and The Roses
Al is from Minnesota but had moved to the Phoenix area in his late twenties to try commercial real estate. He’d noted all the mobile home parks in the area and wondered if he could get involved in their buying or selling. He didn’t have experience or connections, but he had time and an analytical mind, so he began putting together research, creating booklets for park owners showing where they parks ranked in various categories. It didn’t work — no response.
Looking for some sort of breakthrough, Al signed up for to a Tony Robbins sales seminar. The seminar inspired him to get creative in trying to get in front of owners. He targeted the man with the most parks in the area and bought two dozen roses. He then posed as a flower delivery guy to get to his target’s offices atop what was then the tallest high-rise on Central in Phoenix. Although the owner was in a meeting, his daughter happened by and asked Al who had sent flowers to her dad. Al confessed what he was up to and she liked it. She liked it so much that she went into her father’s office and broke up his meeting so that she could escort Al in. Here’s how Al recalls that meeting: “He resented my being there. He just sat with his hands folded on the table, looking down. I’d learned from the sales seminar to emulate the buyer, so I stared at my hands folded on the table. Finally, he asked why I was there and I replied, ‘Do you know how much money you’re throwing away every month?’ That’s when he got interested. He ended up being my major investor as I put together deals to buy parks.”
George Igualt and the Clown Suit
It was years later, after Al had become the area’s expert on mobile home parks, that he created a company to buy and sell individual mobile homes, helping owners keep units in their parks. One day he was visiting with George Igualt, who was himself an entrepreneur, and on a whim, Al said, “Do you want to sell mobile homes for me?” Having no idea what was involved with selling mobile homes, George pictured the sign-spinners outside new residential areas and replied, “What do I do? Get dressed up in a clown suit and hold a sign?”
While Al explained that the job would be mostly getting listings of homes for sale, he saw something in George that led him to believe he would figure it out on his own. So George set out learning the business from the consumer end, and from the ground up. Within months George had sold 28 homes and he remembers Al telling him, “You sold more home in seven months then we did in the past seven years.” After that, George took on more and more responsibilities until he created his own management company that took over multiple parks, including Silveridge and The Resort.