By Elisabeth Marrs
If you drive along the outer edge of Baylor University’s campus, you will see the new white-and-blue sign of the business formerly known as Campus Realtors. The business, which has recently shortened its name to Campus, is now located on Waco’s ever-busy 8th Street. In the new building situated just across the street from Baylor and two doors down from Common Grounds coffee shop, Campus is now able to reach out to more Baylor students than ever before.
Property manager Cameron McCollum ’11 said, “We wanted to create an environment where students could feel free to come on in.” Campus created a warm and inviting atmosphere by placing multiple couches, armchairs, rugs, and tables in its new lobby. The soft worship music in the background and the mini-fridge of free drinks also make it an appealing place for students to study.
Before August 2012, Campus could be found in a run-down old house located a few blocks away from Baylor. “People can walk in now to just hang out,” McCollum said. “It would have been difficult to do that before when we were located a little further away.”
Changing location is not the only transformation Campus has undergone. For the last nineteen years, Campus only bought and sold properties, but last June, the company transitioned into property management as well. In addition to selling twenty-one houses within the last school year, Campus now manages 130 properties. Staff members at Campus show around thirty properties a day to potential clients and customers.
However, showing apartments and managing properties doesn’t come without its share of unexpected incidents. McCollum said, “I remember the time I was showing an apartment and had three young college girls with me. The guy answered the door in his underwear!”
Sales agent Luke Whyte ’11 said, “There was also a time when a twenty-one-year-old guy called and asked for an exterminator because he found a lady bug in his apartment.”
Even when dealing with all of the unexpected excitement, the staff of Campus has kept sight of their overall goal. “Our mission is summed up in two words, ‘effort’ and ‘experience’,” McCollum said. “We want to make working with us as effortless as possible for students. Being away from your parents can already be difficult, so we want to make living away from home a pleasant experience.”
Part of the experience Campus offers is quick customer service, according to current tenant and Baylor junior Alyssa Shoemaker. “There was a leak in our ceiling from the apartment’s ice-maker above us,” Shoemaker said. “They responded right away to our request and sent a company out to fix the problem within a couple of days.”
According to office manager Avery Kanaley ’11, Campus’s admirable business ethics are largely owed to the biblically founded vision most of the members received as part of a local training school. Five out of the seven staff members recently attended Antioch Community Church’s Discipleship Training School in Waco immediately following their graduation from Baylor in 2011. “This job was an answer to prayer after school,” McCollum said, “I am able to work in an environment with friends my age, who are also passionate about having a God-led business.” According to McCollum, the training school helped form their business model of loving and encouraging people.
Kanaley said, “Every morning at 9 a.m. we have an office meeting where we pray for the tenants, for our clients, for all of our properties, and for Baylor’s campus.” According to Kanaley, it is in this meeting that the staff also decides on a new tenant or client to encourage for the week. “A lot of times, it can be an encouraging text, or sometimes we send things, like Sonic gift cards. We also had a tenant that was recently in a car wreck, and we sent her flowers,” Kanaley said.
With such a relaxing atmosphere and genuine desire to be an uplifting, active part of Baylor students’ lives, Campus has quickly gained a reputation. Pointing to a piece of paper pinned on his bulletin board, McCollum said, “We are receiving more and more notes every day from people saying they haven’t even moved in yet, but we have already blessed them immensely just by the way we’ve treated them.”