Originally serving Sanibel Island, Royal Shell Real Estate has expanded throughout Southwest Florida over the years, now canvasing Captiva, Naples, the Greater Fort Myers area, and most recently, Cape Coral. While the business celebrates its 20th anniversary here in 2017, the roots of the operation began more than 40 years ago, with the genesis of R+L Carriers, Inc., which eventually became a global transportation company, transforming from a one-man operation.
The vision of Royal Shell Real Estate, according to its website
, is to offer Southwest Florida "a home store where convenience and service are top priorities." This allows the business to help people enjoy their vacations or even own a vacation property.
"Whether they want to buy or sell a Gulf-front estate, a condo overlooking the golf course, or anything in between, Royal Shell Real Estate has all of the services to assist with home ownership, annual and vacation rentals, and property management," the website says.
Michael Polly, president and managing broker of Royal Shell Real Estate, grew up in Kentucky and worked in the information technology field prior to moving to Fort Myers in 1999, but he and his family were already familiar with the area, as it was his family's vacation spot for a decade.
He became the first Realtor in Southwest Florida, and the 11th in the state, to earn his Accredited Seller Representative. "This designation is awarded based on both actual performance and required education," the website says.
Polly took some time to answer some of our questions.Cape Coral Living:
Tell us a little bit about Royal Shell Real Estate. When and how did it get started?
Michael Polly: Royal Shell – vacation division was established in May 1997, this is our 20th anniversary. It start on Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island. Real Estate sales division was established in May of 2006 as Royal Shell Preferred Properties of the Islands with a single office. In 2010 with an office on Sanibel and an office on Captiva that name was changed to Royal Shell Real Estate to allow expansion off island.
[We] started with no properties and today manage almost 500 on the island and 1,500 off island. Real Estate sales and rentals now has 20 office, 15 in southwest Florida, 1 in Ocala and 4 in North Carolina located in Cashiers, Highlands and Sapphire Valley.
In 1997 there were about 5 employees, 2010 we had about 40 employees, today we have 160 employees.
CCL: What is something we absolutely need to know about Royal Shell Real Estate?
Polly: Our core services are managing rental properties to maximize the owners return, minimize the guests hassles so they can focus on their stay. We assist buyers in a search for their dream home or the right property to use for their family vacation while offsetting the costs of ownership through our rental program. We assist sellers with global exposure to our 300,000 guests and through our extensive marketing to make sure they can net the highest amount from the sale of their property.
Delivering white glove service to our clients. Owners, guests, buyers and sellers. With the growth of the internet, mobile devices and more information available to the public our primary goal has always served us well. There are somethings you can’t get through online services. A maintenance technician to help with your WIFI or to check you’re A/C at 8:00 p.m. Delivering personalized service with a focus on the client first has always been our number one priority.
CCL: What’s new at Royal Shell Real Estate?
Polly: Continuing growth. [We] expanded into Cape Coral last fall. [We've] added a dedicated call center for reservations with new telephony infrastructure. [We] have hired more personnel to support our online and social presence.
What are your goals for the future? Where do you see it headed?
Polly: The satisfaction of our buyers, sellers, owners and guests will be the measure of our success. We base everything on showing our appreciation for their trust in Royal Shell. Also, our continued growth and investment in our community. In 1997 Royal Shell began with four employees. Today we have 160 and we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary of being in business in Southwest Florida.
One of our core values is the belief that we must continually learn to keep an advantage. For our real estate team, we encourage advanced training from our industry associations and industry experts. When it comes to vacation rentals we’re bringing in trainers for guest services, customer service and our reservation staff. We’re purpose driven and our trainers have worked with the Atlantis in Nassau as well as resorts in Las Vegas. Our goal is to always seek a better experience for our customers.
For real estate associates, we look for individuals with experience, values and a proven track record. We’re not a training ground for new agents. Our associates represent the finest in the business. Our rental team has a broad range of hospitality and real estate experience. We use online job boards and are always looking to hire from our local colleges.
CCL: Anything else we should know about -- you, the business, etc?
Polly: I learned a long time ago you can accomplish great things when you surround yourself with great people. I wouldn’t call it a superpower but maybe a super-purpose. I enjoy seeing others grow and succeed. I enjoyed that with my first Internet company, when we were paving the way in the early ’90s. I enjoy it more than ever today.
I get to work where people from around the world come to vacation. I love the variety of Southwest Florida – from shopping on Fifth Ave. in Naples to no stop lights on Sanibel. Baseball, golf, fishing, boating, the beaches – there is never a lack of opportunity to enjoy the area.
I believe you either wake up inspired or you wait to be inspired. We wake up inspired and look for ways to take advantage of any business climate. Opportunity is always there to succeed – it just changes the way it looks from time to time. I do find inspiration daily when we help families find their own place in our paradise. We’ve helped buyers find a multimillion dollar beachfront compound. We’ve also heard from families who have visited our area for years and share the memories of their childhood with their parents vacationing here. And now they want to keep those memories alive for their children. That’s the nature of our business and inspires us each day.