I AM TOPEKA: Brady Robb & Becky Dickinson, The Robb Co.
Emma Highfill | Photographer
In many cases, this may be true—but there still remains those who prize authentic relationships above everything else.
One of these companies, of course, is proud to call Topeka home.
The Robb Co., a real estate and leasing company, has seen its share of changes, challenges and triumphs since its inception in the 1950s. Originally founded as Love, Taggart and Robb, the now-family-owned business is currently owned and operated by Brady Robb (president) and Becky Dickinson (vice president)—the son and daughter of the company’s co-founder Ronald Robb— and is behind some of Topeka’s favorite stops.
The Brookwood Shopping Center (located at 2709 SW 29th St.), the Campus Shopping Center (located at 17th Street and Washburn Ave.), and the 21st and Belle Shops are all owned by the Robb Co. The businesses located within each shopping center are tenants of the Robb Co., renting their respective spaces, while the Robb Co. manages and maintains the properties as a whole.
“On a daily basis, we’re making sure the properties are in excellent shape, fostering tenant relationships, and marketing our business,” Becky said.
With a company size of five people, the Robb Co. enjoys the benefit of having a tight-knit team, yet is still able to drive excellent results.
“We have terrific people,” Becky said.
And like any great team, the Robb Co. has a shared focus: building long- lasting relationships in the community.
Brady, who joined the family business 25 years ago, said that is one thing that has never changed. However, he certainly has seen other shifts over the years.
“When we started out, we were the community shopping center, and we provided convenience. Customers could come in, get what they wanted to buy, and go to the next store without having to worry about driving or parking elsewhere. Eventually the malls began showing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but now malls are starting to go away, so what we’re seeing is a shift back toward people going to small shopping centers.”
And of course, as in almost every industry, technology has been a game- changer in local businesses.
While ecommerce companies like Amazon have made their presence felt, Becky and Brady are proud to continue to offer face-to-face service for those who value a more personal and engaging shopping experience.
“There are still a lot of people who want to go in when they shop, get to know the owner and build relationships,” Becky said. “They might see an item online, but they want to go into an actual store, check it out and make sure it is what they think it is before buying.
“On a certain level, I think a lot of people are returning to this.”
Among the reasons for this, the power of relationships and customer loyalty would certainly be counted among the top.
“The most rewarding part is just working with people and building the relationships through the process. One of the benefits of being an on-site manager is that you get to know the people who own the businesses, and it is very rewarding to get to know them and watch their businesses grow.”
Brady echoed the sentiment.
“We’re with our tenants through the whole process, from opening up shop to becoming a successful business, and our long-term tenants evolve into really great relationships.”
While staying on top of an ever-evolving industry can prove challenging, the Robb Co. plans to continue focusing on what they do best: taking care of their people.