If it’s not a labor of love, it’s just work. And for entrepreneurs, that often just doesn’t work.
Rick and Kristen Angelicola didn’t decide to build senior living communities out of some profit-fueled business strategy. They came from a genuine desire to build something that could care for people who need it. And with that as their goal, success from the business side was the result.
“My wife and I are the owner/operators, and we’re both at the facilities just about every single day,” Rick said. “It’s gratifying to see the reactions of people that live here; we give more, and I think that’s why we’re successful. We give a better product. We come into our facilities on a daily basis, and it’s gratifying to see the reactions of people that live here.”
In 2011, Rick started a relationship with Community Bank, N.A., to tackle a relatively simple job for the Angelicolas’ first location (The Village at Greenbriar in Dallas, PA). Since then, the couple has built two more locations—Highland Park Senior Living in Wilkes-Barre Township, PA, and Glenmaura Senior Living in Moosic, PA.
One thing that can sometimes stall that kind of momentum is lending support. And that’s where John Pekarovsky, a commercial lending officer at Community Bank, comes in. John embraced the fast pace, trusting in Rick and Kristen’s vision.
“Our relationship started about eight years ago when we refinanced the property at Greenbriar,” Rick said. “That went so well that three-and-a-half years later, when we decided to open up Highland, there was no question we were going with John and Community Bank. When they tell me they’re going to do something, they do it.”
John agrees that being personally invested makes a difference.
“I love what I do because I get to help other people do what they love to do,” John said. “It’s really a unique role to be in and one that I look forward to with every opportunity. For Rick and Kristen, it’s pretty remarkable the way they work together and the way they treat everyone that’s involved with them.”
The success of Greenbriar helped build a reputation for the Angelicolas that spilled over dramatically into the Highland Park project, as it filled up much faster than the industry average for occupancy. When that was filled, they decided to build an addition that was completed in early 2018, and it enjoyed the same success in a short time. Glenmaura came next, with the 112-unit property slated to open its doors this summer.
“Every deal is different, and every client has different needs,” John said. “We were able to have honest conversations about how to get where they wanted to go.”
Sure, there was negotiating. But both sides knew the other was being a good partner, acting in good faith. The result was progress.
“I’ve done deals for smaller projects with other lenders that were just complete nightmares compared to major construction projects with John and Community Bank,” Rick said. “I think the bank is great, I think John did a stellar job. When the bank and the customer understand each other, are up front and honest with each other, that’s where the relationship becomes the difference.”
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