NewMark Merrill Makes Community Involvement a Major Focus chats with CEO Sandy Sigal about the company’s efforts focusing on the relationship between neighbors, tenants and shopping centers and why it is now more important than ever.

NewMark Merrill CEO Sandy Sigal has always believes in helping and supporting the community, but now his efforts have proven more important than ever. For example, the firm’s Wave of Kindness, which is running now, identifies groups of seniors or those who have economic issues and gives them early entry to stores. The firm then matches funds from the tenants to buy them what they need, so they leave a check stand with no bill. We spoke further with Sigal on his efforts in the following Q&A. Why is helping the communities so important for NewMark Merrill the retail industry during a crisis like Covid?

Sandy Sigal: Helping and supporting our communities is always important. It is the relationship between our neighborhoods, our tenants, and our shopping centers that creates the energy that improves each. For instance, the more thriving our centers are, the stronger the tenant, the more employees from the community get hired, the better the relationship between employees and customers helps foster the culture that embeds a center into the community. And the community has a place it can go, create memories, and share experiences. How has the Covid crisis changed or improved the firm’s strategy for being involved in the community in the future?

Sigal: I wouldn’t say it changed our strategy but it did remind us of the importance of that connection. The joy and emotions that get created when a customer, in this crisis, can go to a familiar store, see a familiar owner or employee, can share a glance, a smile or a virtual hug. When I talk to City Manager’s and Mayor’s and the one staple thing in their community is us, and we are making sure that we are taking care of their total community – that last a long time – and means that in any crisis, those neighbors come out and support our tenants, and help them make it through times like this. How does NewMark Merrill decide what community efforts they should be involved in within each city?

Sigal: It is not for us to decide. It is for the communities leaders and our tenants to decide what is important in each community and which need we can best support. Sometimes is seniors, sometimes it is youth, sometimes it is a spiritual group or a City organization. We want to make sure we demonstrate that we aren’t just taking from a community, our goal is to give back, and make sure we capture the hearts, not such the minds of our customers. We want to be viewed as an asset. What are some of the other things besides the Wave of Kindness that NewMark Merrill is doing in its communities? 

Sigal: We have so many. One of my favorites is Angel Tree where people give us the names, age and sex of children who we can get gifts for for Christmas. We collect them from local tenants, and donate them back to their parents. Another example is the hygiene and survival bags that our security has so if we identify someone experience homelessness we can give them something to make their lives a little easier.  We have community rooms where community groups can meet rent free, and concert series which we use to raise funds for recreation centers. These are just a few examples.

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