By Natalie Terchek
Oak Park’s Gagliardo Realty recently merged with Prudential Premier Realtors to form Gagliardo Realty Associates. The company is now the only local real estate organization to have offices in both Oak Park and River Forest.
Andy Gagliardo, owner of Gagliardo Realty, and Tom Poulos, owner of Prudential Premier Realtors, have been planning on creating a second office since their companies merged on October 1st. “Even when we first started talking about the merger, we always planned to have a physical presence in both towns,” Poulos said.
Gagliardo agrees and says these two locations will be more convenient for their clients and their agents. “We’re not just a River Forest office,” he said. “We do business in both towns and having two locations will make us more visible and more accessible to everyone.”
Gagliardo Realty Merges Two Families
Gagliardo is a third generation agent. His father and grandmother started the business more than 50 years ago, and he has been running the business since 2002. Poulos had the role passed down to him by his mother, Bess, who is still an agent to this day. The two families knew each other quite well.
“My mom was a friendly competitor with Andy’s dad, Joe,” Poulos said. “Andy used to play around with my younger brother, Lou, in grade school. There’s always been lots of mutual respect between the two families.”
Both of the owners wanted to stress the value of family and a local connection in their business. This played an active factor in deciding the name of their company.
“We talked about different names, but decided to stick with Gagliardo. It’s a local brand name already, so we thought why change the local flavor?” Gagliardo said.
Poulos was completely in favor of this decision. “The Gagliardo name is synonymous with integrity and honesty,” he said. “Everybody knows that Poulos is a family approach that we all value.”
The two also decided it is best to remain an independent, locally-owned brokerage instead of becoming a franchise.
Gagliardo says remaining independent will make the company unique in the Oak Park/River Forest area. “We can really offer something the others can’t,” he said. “There’s something to two family businesses coming together. We’re going to keep that family presence that you might lose with a franchise.”
Gagliardo Realty Associates is located at 7375 W. North Avenue in River Forest, and 1033 South Boulevard in Oak Park.