Second Sundays: A chat with John M. Hoty

PERKINS TWP. People often joke that John M. Hoty owns the world -- or at least this tiny bit of the world. Hoty is app
May 24, 2010



People often joke that John M. Hoty owns the world -- or at least this tiny bit of the world.

Hoty is approaching his eighth year as president of Hoty Enterprises, a real estate development, investment and brokerage firm located in Perkins Township.

Hoty, 39, is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and received a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's degree in business administration.

He joined the family-owned company as a full-time employee in 1986 after he received his real estate license. He began his career in accounting and financial analysis. A year later, he was promoted to treasurer and oversaw the company's bookkeeping, financing duties and subsidiaries.

In 2000, Hoty took another promotion -- this time as president of the company. In his new position, Hoty oversaw the sale of many of the company's operating businesses and the relocation of the company from Cuyahoga County to Erie County. Nearly eight years later, Hoty oversees the acquisition and fundraising for the company's real estate-based projects as well as the fundraising and management oversight of the company's more than 20 projects.

After living in Vermilion for seven years, Hoty decided to uproot his family and move closer to headquarters. Hoty moved to Perkins Township in 2005 with his wife Sherry and their five children: Matthew, 15; Adam, 14; Caleb, 12; Judith, 11; and Alex, 8.

Q: Who is John M. Hoty?

A: I'm defined by my name -- Hoty. My family comes first. The business is there. I'm a little bit different, but I believe different is good -- quirky. I love the area. My kids come first. My extended family second. The business is part of the family and it's hard to separate it at some times, but I'm having a lot of fun. And a lot of stress (laughs). But that's part of the fun.

Q: Tell us, John, what is up with all these small shopping centers?

A: We give the lady what she wants. You give what there's demand for. I'm not trying to tell people this is what should be done. We beat the bushes and ask a lot of questions. I've been to a lot of places and I've read a lot of things to find out what other people are doing. They're attracted to what we build. It's not that they're all great ideas ... we have great people who execute them. I've seen (the small shopping centers) in Cleveland, Florida and other places I've visited and I've studied business models. I've studied what other people have successfully done. It's all for the benefit of the community.

Q: What parts of Erie County don't the Hotys own?

A: There are 40,000 parcels and we own 40. I take that back, maybe we own 100 (laughs). We are in the business of owning things that are high profile. Most of the county we don't own, but we have our eye on it because there are a lot of great parcels in Erie County.

Q: How long has the family been in real estate?

A: I've had my license since 1986. My family has been in real estate since the early '70s -- 30 plus years. My uncle Nick was the founder. My dad and my other uncle came in to be partners with him. The business began in Cuyahoga County.

Q: What prompted you to follow in your family's footsteps?

A: Genetics. It's in the blood. My uncle Zack, my dad Angelo, my sister Kula (Hoty) Lynch, my cousin Mark -- who is Zack's son and Todd Hart -- who is uncle Nick's daughter's husband and Audie Bonderer, my brother-in-law (currently work at Hoty Enterprises).

Q: What is an average day like for you at work?

A: A typical day ... after I get to the office, I go talk to my sister, Angelo and Zack. I catch up on what I missed in the past eight hours while I slept. I catch up with other people in the office. Then I answer, like today, 25 e-mails. I make or take 50 to 100 phone calls a day. Usually It's more like 100. They come through like rapid fire. One on top of the other. Today I may be dealing with 20 to 30 items to make sure a deal is closing Monday. I'm always working on the next deal. If you're not planting seeds, you're not going to get ahead. I sign a lot of checks -- a lot of letters. I sign a lot of documents. I read a lot of documents. I get in at 9:30 a.m. and work until 4:30 p.m. in the office. I'll spend time with my family. I'll read and do e-mail for another couple hours. The next day, I'll spend an hour reading e-mails before I get to the office. I probably will write or read for two hours before going into work. I'll also read The Drudge Report and then the Register. I do have a little down time in that morning routine.

Q: What is a perfect day for John M. Hoty?

A: A perfect day involves doing a little work because I love it. But it also involves spending the day with my kids and my wife. It's doing a little work, but mostly spending time with my kids and my wife doing family stuff.

Q: What was the first property locally the Hoty family developed?

A: Venetian Marina. 1983. We bought it and improved it in 1984.

Q: What is Hoty Enterprises' next big project?

A: I wouldn't say big. The next project is we're buying 6 acres in Portage Township -- in the Catawba Island area -- to develop another beautiful little strip center. We're also working on other business things. Hopefully something across from Kalahari. We made an offer on something that could be a big deal ... but we can't talk about it because we're still negotiating.

Q: Is there another generation of Hotys coming up? Will the next generation take over the family business?

A: There is a next generation. The door will be open, but I want them to do what they love. I love this, but if they don't love it, I want them to do something else -- something they love.