My name is Sam Pennisi. I hope you don't mind, but I've got some things to share with you.
It's hard to believe, but it's true. Forty years have passed since I opened Pennisi Real Estate in Essendon. It was 1973, the year that both Cathy Freeman and Kieren Perkins were born. Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister. Rupert Hamer was our Premier. The Commonwealth Government had just lowered the voting age from 21 to 18; despite that hundreds of 18 to 21 year-old diggers had died in Vietnam. 1973 was also the year that we got out of that heart-breaking conflict. Back then Australia's population was a mere 13.3 million. Today we have grown by around 70 per cent to more than 22 million.
How things have changed since the day that I (nervously, I admit) opened my little real estate office. Back then it was just me and a secretary. That's all I could afford. Until that is, something began to happen. The local community began to support me. My business started to pick up. I had a simple philosophy - I believed in working hard and I believed in taking really good care of customers. I also wanted to be innovative. I was always looking for new and improved ways of serving clients. There was someone I most wanted to help - you, the residents of my area.
As the years rolled on business kept improving. I was lucky. Or, perhaps, as the saying goes: 'the harder I worked, the luckier I got'. I quickly learned the importance of two words to say to my customers. They are two words that I'd like to say now - to all the people of this district (including the more than 30,000 families who have graced us with their business over the past 40 years). Those two words are important and they need to be said. THANK YOU!
Thank you for sticking by us for so many years. Thank you for being with us in boom times and gloom times. Thank you for being there after disaster struck at 5am one Saturday morning in 1990. There was a terrible fire. Our office burned to the ground. But, thanks to the support of our staff and the community, we were re-located and back in business in 48 hours. People cared, they really cared. Thank you.
It has been almost 20 years now since my son, Andrew Pennisi, and I made one of the biggest and, as it turns out, one of the most popular decisions in the history of Pennisi Real Estate. We decided to embrace the 'ethics in real estate' philosophy of consumer advocate, Neil Jenman.
All my life, my business practices have been built on the principle of integrity. I believe that 'your word is your bond'. The Jenman 'Approved' business systems are perfect for Pennisi Real Estate and our clients. We conduct our business on what's best for our clients. The interests of our clients come before our own interests. You, our customers, have loved this approach. The bunches of flowers, the bottles of wine and the boxes of chocolates that arrive regularly in our office from our happy clients are testament that we are on the right track.
Yes, we are proud to have been serving our community for 40 years. But, as my son Andrew rightly told me the other night, 'We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you, our customers.' Thank you.
Andrew Pennisi was only three when I opened Pennisi Real Estate. Today he has taken over the reins. I am proud to say that he's taking great care of our customers. He's an innovator who's leading the way in the real estate world. With his effort and your support, I think Pennisi Real Estate will be around for another 40 years - at least.
Thank you again. Thanks for your years of support. And thank you to the dozens of people who work so hard at Pennisi Real Estate. Without you we couldn't make any customers smile!
My best wishes to you all
P.S. Back in 1973, the Bombers finished fourth on the VFL ladder.