The JN chats with Brandon Ben-Ezra about how he found his niche working on repurposing big box stores with NAI Farbman.
Photos courtesy of Brandon Ben-Ezra
1. Where did you go to college and what was your major?
I am a graduate of Michigan State University — “Go Green!” I attended the Eli Broad College of Business and was in the Residential Business Program where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in finance.
2. How did you find your niche working with repurposing big box stores?
I joined NAI Farbman in June of 2018 as a Lease and Sales Associate in the Retail sector. My mentor, Ron Goldstone, specializes in retail and in the repurposing and disposition of big box retail such as: Toys ‘R’ Us, Sears, K-Mart, Babies ‘R’ Us, and Kroger. Times have changed in the retail industry and there is a huge surplus in the mid to big box category without enough retailers to utilize this glut. It is so much easier to shop online nowadays. However, brick and mortar stores can give the consumer a valuable experience that websites cannot duplicate. I love a great experience such as a trampoline park, go-karting, or axe throwing! I feel the future of retail is in entertaining and engaging the consumer that is different from the online experience. The retail sector is not dying — it is just evolving from the traditional department store and mall. There is the need for creative reuse in unconventional ways.
3. When and how did you begin working for NAI Farbman?
Graduating with a finance degree, my immediate thought was to move to New York and work on Wall Street or move to Chicago to work in banking or wealth management. I decided to get my real estate license during my last year at Michigan State University, just to have the license under my belt. After weighing out my options with my family, I decided to stay in Michigan to be closer to home and to be a part of the rebirth of Detroit. I attended job fairs, had countless interviews and felt a very strong connection toward the “Farbman Family”. I was one of the first to be a part of their new brokerage mentorship program and haven’t looked back since! I couldn’t ask for more.
Farbman Group is a leading, full service real estate firm handling all facets of commercial real estate transaction including property management, brokerage, construction, development, investment sales, NNN leasing, etc. Our firm manages more than 25 million square feet of office, retail and industrial space throughout the Midwest.
4. What does a typical day look like for you?
There is not one day in this industry that isn’t crazy or the same. I am usually in the office early in the morning to catch up on email and work from the night before. My days vary greatly but may include taking clients on tours of properties, working with our marketing department to create our marketing materials for the assets we represent, taking an endless number of phone calls or even creating Broker Opinions of Value. I am constantly forming and maintaining new connections each day.
5. How has your family’s experience in the real estate business influenced your career path?
My father (Phillip Ben-Ezra) and Saba (David Ben-Ezra) are both entrepreneurs who live and breathe real-estate. From growing up and working with my father at his property management company or helping my Saba create “screw-packs” for his window and door company, I’ve always been surrounded by real estate and entrepreneurship. This created the fire in my belly to get into this industry and to work toward greatness.
6. How has your Jewish heritage played a role in your life?
Being Jewish really defines me as an individual. I am a graduate of Temple Israel, a former camper and counselor at Tamarack, was Vice President of my BBYO Chapter, brother at AEPi and I interned and worked at Hillel. And I finally went on Birthright! Being Jewish is something I am proud of. It has built the foundation of my values, and more importantly, my life and friendships.
7. Outside of your work, what are some hobbies or passions of yours?
Outside of work, I love being active. Some of my hobbies include golfing, bowling, cycling and basketball. Being the oldest of six siblings, I enjoy taking my brothers and sisters to the movies, the mall, trampoline parks and the arcade. When I have time, I love to travel and experience new things.
Brandon Ben-Ezra, 23, was born and raised in Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University in 2018 with a degree in finance. Brandon is currently a Retail Sales and Leasing Associate at NAI Farbman where he is rapidly learning and growing his business. Some notable transactions this year were the sale of two Toys ‘R’ Us and four Kmart’s. Brandon enjoys being active and spending his free time with his five younger siblings.