As he worked his way through the commercial real estate industry, Clayton King had a nagging, persistent — even brutal — feeling: he wanted to launch his own firm.
King, 31, had grown up in a commercial real estate family and had toured vacant properties and rubbed elbows with property managers and brokers. After stints with NAI Sun Vista and Base 5 Retail to start his career, King, who describes himself as an entrepreneur, acted on that feeling that had nagged him for so long with the launch of King Capital Commercial Real Estate last summer.
“If I try and fail, at least I tried. I think you have to have that type of mentality and personality when you take a leap of faith and do your own venture,” he said. “Luckily, I feel extremely blessed because I have the support of my family and other brokers who joined me right out of the gate.”
King is referring to two commercial real estate veterans —David Fite and Kyla Stoker — who joined during the launch. Fite and Stoker had worked at established brokerage firms, Base 5 Retail and CBRE, respectively. The two joined King Capital after working with or alongside King at their respective firms. King’s team members cited the culture of collaboration, forward-thinking uses of technology and institutional knowledge of the industry as reasons why they joined the firm.
“I’ve been impressed to see the brokers who have come over to his firm. I drive around town and see all these King Capital signs and I’m like ‘I didn’t know they had that listed and that listed,'” said Lance Sigmon, co-founder of Allen Sigmon Real Estate Group. “They’ve got a lot going on.”
Sigmon and Brad Allen, the other co-founder of Allen Sigmon, partnered with King to develop a Dutch Bros. Coffee in Rio Rancho in 2020 and have worked on other fast food deals alongside each other. Sigmon and Allen started their firm in 2011 following the 2008 recession. Sigmon is impressed with King Capital’s presence in its first months in generating business.
“I think they’re going to do great and I’m cheering for them,” he added.
Jim Hakeem, senior director at NAI Sun Vista, is working on a deal with King Capital. He praised King’s knowledge of the industry and said he’s established the foundation needed for a boutique real estate firm.
“Once you have that foundation and experience, I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s a good step,” Hakeem said. “I just know Clayton and as a competing broker, he’s somebody who I always look forward to working on the other side with.”
The launch came at a precarious time for restaurants and retail businesses — two areas King Capital specializes in — as they navigated evolving Covid-19 restrictions, which prevented them from operating at full capacity. But King senses opportunity as retailers find new ways to stay in business and his firm works to add value in utilizing technology.
“You’re taking a risk when there’s all this negative energy and negative news, so it was very daunting,” King said. “Most of the time, the best opportunities arise in the worst of times. With the market and retail being where they were, really allowed me a good platform to get established and get my processes up and going. … It was a good time to do it, it was a smart decision to make, but it was very scary.”
Business First reported on King Capital adding QR codes to its listing signage in February. An interested party can get instant information about a listing, including details on the intersection, vehicles per day, lease rates and more through a snap of a picture on their phone. If the result piques interest, they can quickly make an appointment with a listing broker.
The QR codes pair with an information push to be more active on social platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn and other ventures like a podcast and weekly Clubhouse talks the firm hosts. King said he’s working on other ventures mixing technology and real estate that could launch in the next few years.
“We’re in the information business. People want to make sure that you know what you’re talking about when they’re trusting you to lease or sell a property,” King said. “Historically, the CRE industry has been very closed-booked and hasn’t been very forthcoming with information where, in today’s day and age, to be open with information is critical in my opinion.”
In the months that have followed King Capital’s launch, the firm has accrued 50 property listings on its website. Business First reported on the firm brokering deals for a new Stripes Burritos Co. and a WingStop location, Saggios expanding to the Coronado Center and Scarpas relocating to the Westside. The restaurant industry overall accounted for an estimated $4 billion in sales in New Mexico in 2018.
As the firm launched, King Capital’s initial focuses were on retail and land assets. Down the line, King said he hopes it could service all sectors of the commercial real estate industry, but for now, he’s willing to be patient and strategic in growing.
“There’s a sense of freedom in that you have the power to experiment. There’s good and bad with that. There’s a risk. If you do something and it doesn’t work, then you don’t get to benefit from that great idea and sometimes you have to work to fix it,” King said. “I’m really proud of everyone on my team on having that level of trust with a new company. That’s exciting and something to be recognized.”