Scott Parkin

Broker, owner of Verve Realty, formerly Hoffman Parkin Urban Realty

Scott Parkin, 42, studied design in college and was an aspiring artist. But it was tough to make a living, so he bounced around in post-college professions from bartender to apartment caretaker.

"I was down on funds one month and decided to take over caretaking to cut my rent," he says. Parkin worked his way up in the management office and helped with apartment leasing. He later joined Gittleman Management, overseeing condos along the Minneapolis riverfront. "It was right when the condo market was on fire," he says. "Developers were scrambling to put together projects."

In 2003, he took a sales position at Minneapolis-based S.R. Hoffman & Associates, a firm specializing in marketing high-end, new-construction condos and townhome. It was owned by Sheldon Hoffman, who became Parkin's mentor.

Parkin was named partner in 2006, and the name changed to Hoffman Parkin Urban Realty. The firm sold many of the high-profile condo developments along the riverfront until the condo bust. When Hoffman died in late 2008, Parkin took over ownership. To weather the storm, he repositioned the company as a full-service residential brokerage firm, serving the entire metro. He's change the name of the 15-agent firm to Verve Realty. Parkin continues focusing on riverfront neighborhoods. His wife, Amy Sperling, also a broker at the firm, specializes in St. Paul.

Q Condos were a lucrative business when you started.

A The money was there. We would do the sell-up of new construction. We worked for companies like Brighton Development, Sherman Associates and, more recently, Exeter Realty.

Q What happened when the condo market crashed?

A It was a mess. We lived through it and managed our clients through it. … We'd been selling all this new construction for developers and were not of the mindset to sell traditional real estate, or resales.

Q So you had to rethink your business?

A Yes. We started retooling … and knew we had to start selling existing homes. There was a learning curve … but we've been doing that now for several years. We had to do that for our clients; they expect us to be able to know different areas.

Q Why the name change?

A I wanted to create something totally new. ... I wanted it to be something easy to find online and a name that was fresh and upbeat. I also want a brand that's a little more recognizable for recruiting and retaining agents. Over the next five years, I'd love to see us grow to 30-plus agents.

Q I've heard your fingerprints are all over downtown and Northeast Minneapolis.

A I've sold hundreds and hundreds of downtown residences, worked with all the developers and been involved in community neighborhood associations. I was vice-president of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association and past-president of the Northeast Minneapolis Business Association. … It keeps me involved in the community and my name out there.

Liz Wolf is an Eagan freelance writer. She can be reached at