When Al Zacher decided to go into business for himself in 1961, he knew two things: he loved researching and finding new locations, and he loved working with people.
“We were a small firm, but I was fortunate early in my career to land some very big projects,” says Zacher. “I was the managing developer of the 300-acre Lincoln Industrial Center off Hadley Road on the city’s southwest side. Before that, I was involved in the development of a nearly 200-acre office park by I-69 and Hadley and Illinois Roads that included the Magnavox Corporation. I was responsible for the land assemblage for Southtown Mall, Parkwest Shopping Center, Walmart, Mr. Wiggs, Kmart and Menards, to name a few. I also assisted Parkview Hospital in the acquisition of more than 200 acres for its north campus.”
Zacher kept the staff small with just one or two brokers at a time, but through his dedication the firm continued to grow and flourish. His son, Steve, joined the team in 1987 and Zacher sold the company to him in 1999, along with his philosophy about relationships.
“My clients became my friends within both national and local companies — the Dana Corporation, United Technologies, Brotherhood Mutual and Azar’s,” says Al. “We worked as business partners, but also as friends with great trust.”
Today, with Steve at the helm, the firm has expanded to a staff of 17, 11 of whom are brokers.
The company’s primary focus is northeast Indiana, but it collaborates with national firms all over the country. The Zacher Company recently assisted with the land assemblage for two of the Fort Wayne Amazon Distribution Centers.
“There are a number of factors that set us apart from other firms,” says Steve, who as president works as the managing broker. “Our philosophy, as my father implied, is to always fully represent the best interest of the client. We also approach every client project with the utmost professionalism. For many years, we have prepared retail, office and industrial market reports that people rely on for market trends in this area. There are times when northeast Indiana might be the same as national trends, and there are times when we’re unique; sometimes in a positive way and sometimes in a less desirable way. That’s a big part of what these reports help to highlight in the different market sectors, and we’ve been researching and distributing this information for about 15 years.”
In addition to the market reports, Steve says that being data-driven is another important feature of The Zacher Company.
“We have an open database that allows for free flow of information. We’re creating a culture of cooperation and collaboration, and that starts with data. We need to have our pulse on the market so we know who’s buying and who’s selling, who the players are within all the different real estate sectors, and what characterizes the major stakeholders. The Zacher Company would not have procured this level of detailed information without a very robust database, which we’ve been working on for a very long time.”
Steve points out that doing both the market reports and database work is tedious and time consuming; not particularly glamorous, yet very important.
“Our goal in everything we do at The Zacher Company is to ensure that we are always doing our best for each of our clients,” says Joy Neuenschwander, managing director. “We’re conservative business-wise, but also cutting edge and never complacent.”
Neuenschwander joined The Zacher Company 15 years ago as a property manager and accountant, but grew her role into managing director and director of property management.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity that I’ve been given by The Zacher Company,” she says. “Two years after joining the firm, Al approached me about becoming a broker. He has been a major force in shaping northeast Indiana from a real estate perspective, so to have his encouragement in my development was a huge compliment. The fact that Al was my brokerage mentor is one of the highlights of my career. I’m also proud and honored to carry on his tradition, which emphasizes the importance of family. Just as he and Steve bring the family-owned component to the firm, I’m mentoring my daughter, Stephanie, who is a property manager and broker with our team.”
Teamwork is very fundamental and important at The Zacher Company. Brokers collaborate to find the best tenants/buyers for their listing clients or, on the flip side, the best locations and investments for clients looking to relocate, expand operations or purchase property.
This past May, Neuenschwander earned the SIOR office designation awarded by the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®.
“It’s a big career milestone and it’s hard to achieve,” says Steve who, like his father Al, also holds an SIOR designation. “My father and I have been very active with SIOR on the national and regional levels for many years, and we’re really excited for Joy to have the opportunity to continue our legacy.”
The Zacher Company boasts over 150 years of combined experience and is proficient in the industrial and commercial real estate markets. The firm holds a number of professional affiliations including: SIOR, CCIM, (Certified Commercial Investment Manager) and CPM® (Certified Property Manager), which is conferred by the Institute of Real Estate Management.
“Although these affiliations along with our expertise and experience are key, our client relationships are paramount. We have long lasting relationships with a significant number of clients, which speaks volumes about who we are and how we operate,” says Neuenschwander.
“Every single client is unique,” says Steve. “It’s important to connect with them both personally and professionally, so we can best understand their needs and desires within the realm of commercial and industrial real estate. In addition, our name sets us apart. The Zacher Company has been collaborating with clients in northeast Indiana for 62 years. Our clients know that we offer real, customized solutions for their individual needs, and that is one thing that we shall preserve for years to come.”
Address: 444 E. Main St., Suite 203, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (260) 422-8474
Years in Business: 62
Number of Employees: 11 brokers; 6 support staff
Products & Services: Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Firm, Tenant/Buyer Services, Seller/Landlord Services, Investment Services, Consulting/Development Services, Property Management Services, Appraisal Services