Many businesses are wading into the Internet, but two Vero Beach companies are diving in with an enormous splash. In the past few years, real estate brokers have been among the leaders in computerizing a business, scanning photos of listed properties and pasting them into their multi-list pages.
Two treasure coast women have taken it a giant step beyond that stage, however, with the creation of Private Communities Registry Inc. or, to use its Net name, http://PrivateCommunities.com. Net savvy readers recognize it as a URL, a universal resource locator, or Web address. High-end community developers know it as a source of sales and credible inquiries. For people looking for a new home, it's a place to search for comprehensive information on a collection of communities without the sales pressure, not to mention the cost, of an in-person visit.
The company's principals bring many years in marketing to the table. Marie Roberts began her career with the Ocean Reef Club in the Florida Keys and in the seven years before the formation of Private Communities Registry served as broker and director of sales for Windsor, an exclusive golf and polo club community in Vero Beach.
She accumulated other titles including vice president of Windsor Real Estate Inc. and vice president of the community association. Roberts was also a member of the Architectural Review Board.
Elisabeth "Lil" Miller-Fox has a 21-year track record in advertising and marketing with resume entries that include director of marketing for John's Island, vice president of marketing for Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club and vice president of development and marketing for Windsor.
Since 1993, Miller-Fox has been running her own boutique marketing and press relations firm with clients in South Carolina and Florida. With their experience and years of exposure to the market place, they knew they'd have to find a "niche within a niche," Miller-Fox said. "The combination of marketing strategies" they've put together is what attracts developers.
At last count, the communities marketed through the Registry stretch from California to Florida, with several states in between. Each proposal to a developer is custom-designed and includes several pricing options. Whichever option is selected, the client community will have the benefit of the extensive print media placement schedule used by the company.
Publications slated for 1997 display ads include Golf Course Living, Harvard magazine, the New York Times Magazine, and other glossies targeting those likely to be looking for second or retirement homes.
The combination of options, both to the buyer and the developer, has been a successful one for this innovative team. Although they don't make the actual sales, within less than a year of beginning their Internet business, Private Communities Registry had five documented sales to their credit.