“Family” is what makes Pfefferle Companies a leader in our industry and the communities that we serve. It’s our not-so-secret ingredient, ingrained into our company culture and values. It shapes the way we treat our employees, clients and partners. It’s also a significant part of our 50-year-old story.
John Pfefferle and his wife, Lynn, founded the company in 1971 as Pfefferle Realtors in a small office in Appleton, first as a residential real estate firm and shortly thereafter shifting focus exclusively to commercial property. As the company grew during the 1980s, John earned the reputation as the local expert in office, retail and investment real estate. He leveraged that expertise and led the development of several buildings in downtown Appleton, including: City Center West, home of the Appleton children’s museum and City Hall today; the Landmark Building, which became the area’s first office condominium and houses our Appleton offices; City Center East; the iconic 222 Building; Appleton Center; Lawrence Court; City Center Plaza; Landmark II; and a 100-acre development near Fox Valley Technical College known today as Tri-Park Business Park. In the early 1990s, John formed “Quality Building Services,” which became the first real estate company north of Milwaukee to offer a full-service platform of commercial real estate services — from sales and leasing to development to property management. Around the same time, John’s son, Mike, and daughter, Amy, joined the family business and remain actively involved today.
In 2002, the company made the strategic decision to extend our market reach by affiliating with a national commercial real estate network called Grubb & Ellis, which had 90 member offices and more than 3,000 real estate professionals around the country. This affiliation extended our tenant, buyer and landlord services to markets outside of the Fox Cities. Today, we continue to provide this unmatched blend of local and global market expertise through our partnership with NAI Global, which has more than 375 offices and 6,000 local real estate leaders in 48 states and 45 countries.
Another major part of the vision was to develop a full-service property management company to help property owners take care of their real estate investments and maximize ROI. Pfefferle Management, whose growth has been primarily organic, has gone from managing 1 million square feet in 2000 to more than 13 million square feet today (to put this in perspective, the entire inventory of office space in Outagamie County is approximately 7 million square feet). More than 70 property managers, accountants, HVAC technicians, engineers, janitorial and security staff, among others, work in unison with local and out-of-state property owners, developers, investors and landlords, providing them and their tenants with boots-on-the-ground support 24/7, from Kenosha to Superior and everywhere in between.
In addition to our reach and expertise, our “family” has also grown. Today, Pfefferle Companies has more than 120 employees; 22 licensed real estate brokers; offices in Appleton, Green Bay, Wausau and Sheboygan; and hundreds of clients – from small businesses to municipalities; investors to multi-national corporations. We are fully invested in every community that we call home, serving in leadership roles at multiple local organizations and supporting a variety of causes. We are the region’s thought leaders and trusted advisors to countless partner organizations. Our services, expertise and team cover the entire state, and we are one of the largest commercial real estate firms in Wisconsin. But size isn’t everything in our industry — results are. That’s why we’re proud to have transacted more than $400 million of real eastate sales and leases in the past three years, breaking sales records year-over-year since 2016.
We have no plans of slowing down. In the past year alone, we’ve hired five new commercial brokers – two of them in the middle of the pandemic – and opened a new office in Sheboygan. Local sales and leasing activity has remained strong despite the economic impact of COVID-19. Thanks to the trust of our clients and our team’s hard work, not only did we keep every Pfefferle employee on our payroll in 2020, but we actually had another record year.
Our development pipeline is strong as well, as we continue to focus on development projects around the state — from new corporate headquarters, such as GLK Foods in Appleton, to retail and multifamily development. While we remain focused on commercial real estate — office, industrial, retail, land and investment properties — we have also added a residential management team, which specializes in apartments, condos and duplexes.
A few things haven’t changed since 1971: our passion and unrivaled expertise, our appreciation for our employees and clients, and our values. Pfefferle, which remains family-owned and operated, looks forward to serving Northeast Wisconsin’s real estate needs for the next 50 years, both around the corner and around the globe.
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