A local real estate agent in Livingston County, Illinois is gaining referrals by helping locals and businesses connect in a unique way.
Star Grieff, a successful REALTOR® with Lyons Sullivan Realty, has launched a comprehensive Livingston Community Website, highlighting local business owners and their unique stories. Her aim, as she explains, is to fuel support for the local economy by encouraging residents to shop local.
“I love how close our community is! I consider it a blessing that I can help people appreciate our town, meet business owners who are also awesome community members living their dream and guide homebuyers through the process of purchasing a home here. I want to continue to see Livingston County prosper because the people here are the best!”
Built and designed by Parkbench.com, Grieff’s community website highlights local business owners through a combination of video and feature articles. It’s the only website of its kind in Livingston, sponsored entirely by Grieff.
A certified Negotiation Expert who specializes in Pontiac and the surrounding towns within Livingston County and Northern McClean County, Grieff invests her own time, money, and resources to produce each interview.
The website serves as a comprehensive hub of hyperlocal information, including news, events, property listings, and even Groupon deal coupons from local business owners. In addition to featuring her interviews on her website, she shares them on social media as well to help generate additional exposure for each business owner.
Since launching her Parkbench website in June 2018, Grieff has interviewed such businesses as Rebecca Campbell Photography, True Essence Tranquility (downtown Pontiac), Country Financial Rep Marlon Eilts, and Three Roses Bed & Breakfast (Pontiac, IL).
Her website includes a local directory of businesses throughout the County, big and small, but she makes a point of seeking out small business owners. Grieff, who has been a licensed agent since 2011, relates easily to the challenges and exhilaration of ‘…being your own boss.’
“If you own a business, money can’t be your only motivation. I’ve always loved historic homes and architecture and I just felt drawn to real estate. I was a stay-at-home mom for years until I decided to take a leap of faith. When I hear business owners share their stories, it reminds me of why I got into real estate, their passion comes out in the interviews. These are people who love being in Livingston County, they love the people here, and they love what they do.”
So far, business owners who have been interviewed are thrilled about the free exposure and promotion. In the span of only 1 month, her interviews, which can also be found on YouTube, have already generated 208 local views and counting.
Despite the demands of motherhood and her career, Grieff considers her website a worthwhile investment in the future of Livingston, where she has lived for 25 years.
So why is the busy real estate agent, mother, and wife doing all this for free?
“My main goal is for people to watch the interviews and realize that local business owners are community members trying to make our neighborhood a better place to live. Small business affects us all and impacts real estate. I want to keep people coming into our county, I want to see lower taxes, and improve the quality of life for all of us.”
Grieff, a specialist in foreclosures, says her real passion is working with first-time homebuyers and families moving up into their second home. Despite the current low inventory of affordable quality homes for sale, Grieff notes that there has been some growth in property investment, leading to better quality homes for the area.
“I think we need more good quality homes on the market but there is growth in Livingston County! We’re blessed to have the Mother Road Route 66 run through our County…this attraction has brought many visitors to the area and has helped our area grow. It is creating many opportunities for small business owners, along with more employment.”
Local attractions such as the War Museum and the Walldog Mural Exhibit continue to be a valuable source of community spirit. Many new shops are emerging as well, contributing to recent growth and increased community spirit among residents!
A growing number of community-minded real estate agents like Star Grieff are joining the Parkbench network as a means of giving back to their community. As VP of the Livingston County Board of REALTORS®, Grieff hopes to inspire residents and business owners alike to live, learn, and love Livingston County as much as she does.
Grieff readily admits that she was initially hesitant to approach business owners with her idea, but is enjoying learning from her mistakes and meeting new people along the way.
Asked about her experience, she says,
“It’s definitely harder than it looks. I’ve made mistakes and I had to push myself to get out of my comfort zone, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. My first idea was a Facebook page to feature historic Livingston County homes and interview the owners, but then I discovered the Parkbench platform and thought this would be an avenue that could truly help the businesses and community.
Anyone can subscribe or contribute content to Grieff’s website for free. Local business owners, entrepreneurs, and organizations can also claim a free business listing, promote their services, and add coupons that local residents can redeem.
Star Grieff plans to continue interviewing local businesses throughout the year. Visit Star on Parkbench and submit your request to be featured on her website.
Are you a community-minded agent? Visit Parkbench and claim your area today!