Meet Our Smart Move Partners!  Spotlight: Fulcrum Properties Group

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Lederman, Lead Listing Agent & Realtor at Fulcrum Properties Group.  We met at their sunny Capitol Hill headquarters located at 1328 G Street SE, which is just up the street from Eastern Market (conveniently adjacent to lesser known neighborhood gems La Lomita & Mangialardo’s),  and houses a prodigious and colorful bear statue aptly named “Stripey” to greet you out front.  Welcome, come on in. As a successful real estate force, can you share a little about what makes the Fulcrum Group such a strong team? We really try to hire from a place of culture first, rather than just focusing on recruiting the highest producing agents.  You can teach a lot of the skills to better learn the market, but the foundation is always getting people on the team who value taking care of clients.   I love that!  So how did this team come together?  It’s always interesting to hear about the roots and inspiration for a business. Fulcrum Properties Group is the coming together of 3 people (Principals Jim Lisowski, Tom Kavanagh & Ty Voyles) who had previously been working at a different brokerage with a more “dog-eat-dog” model where agents work on their own.  Fulcrum, by contrast, was created with a different model that encourages teamwork and rewards collaboration rather than competition between realtors. What does this teamwork structure look like?  How does it affect the client experience? Our model allows every individual on the team to have total expertise in their part of the process and really enjoy and leverage their contribution.  The Capitol Hill office has 5 agents that work exclusively with buyers, I (Mike Lederman) am a seller specialist, and there are also realtors with specific location expertise working out of offices in NW DC and Northern Virginia.  And there are other staff lending in house support to all locations for other crucial steps in the process, such as helping to execute the client contracts from ratification all the way to a successful settlement.   INTERESTING SIDE NOTE:  The definition of “Fulcrum” gives a little insight into these team values where everyone take their part of the process and SLAYS IT.   ful·crum, noun 1.) An agent through which vital powers are exercised. 2.) A thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation. One of the many things that makes working at Bookstore Movers so invigorating is our company commitment to give back to the communities we serve.  I was excited to see that Fulcrum shares these same values by having a formal community giving program.  What is that exactly? 1% of each transaction is donated to a charity of the client’s choosing in their name.  So it’s been a great way to continuously give back to local schools, nonprofits and other community organizations. We are also very events oriented, and regularly host gatherings to stay in better touch with client’s and provide an opportunity for the community to come together.  Some examples would be our annual Water Works Party and Halloween Spooktacular at Congressional Cemetery. We also have been doing a Home Renovators Expo at Eastern Market’s North Hall where some of our favorite vendors can come together in one place to promote what they do, and be accessible to people in need of those services. On a more personal note, I heard you used to work at Bookstore Movers!  How did this experience connect to your current profession as a realtor? I did work as a mover with Bookstore for about a year starting in 2012.  Getting the chance to see so many neighborhoods and spaces all over the city, and the unique opportunity to help people through a stressful transition, it seemed like a natural next move to pursue real estate.  It was actually Matt (Wixon, founder & owner of BSM) who introduced me to Jim (Lisowski, principal at Fulcrum).  We had a burger and beer at Trusty’s sometimes towards the end of 2013 and that was how it began. You know I have to ask.  What kind of boss was Matt back in those days? How would you sum up your Bookstore employee experience? Bookstore is such a stand-up company, and Matt is an incredible leader. I was so grateful for the experience I had working there, and try to always carry those lessons with me. Another question on the “must” list.  Favorite book?  Or just maybe a favorite thing you’ve read lately? That’s one area where I’m much different from people at Bookstore.  I don’t read a lot.  I think I spend my energy that other people might spend reading taking in information and the world around me in a pretty intense way. Brief interlude for me to initially be in shock, then laugh awkwardly.  I also used this a chance to poke a little fun at the Fulcrum Little Library out front that had only one book and seemed in need of some love (feel free to donate books!).  Not everyone is a reader though, even at Bookstore Movers! So what, right?  He did happen to mention at some point that he has been known to meditate up to 2 hours per day, and even successfully completed a 10 day silent retreat, so clearly he has found some pretty profound ways to replace reading that the average person could not muster. As a realtor, you are traveling around the city quite a bit.  Any favorite “go-to” spots you can’t resist? Maketto was formerly my favorite place for coffee, but my current go-to is the Wydown by Whole Foods on H Street. In addition to really good coffee, they have excellent scones and breakfast sandwiches. For dinner, I’d say either the Red Hen on First Street, or All Purpose, a newer pizza/Italian place over by the Convention Center. And if you are enjoying a rare day off, what would you be doing? Resting, spending time with my wife and dog.  We also like to travel, and have been on a number of trips lately to Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica and Pompano Beach, FL (where family lives).   Interested in becoming a Smart Move Partner?  Connecting with other great businesses to further enhance our customer’s experience is something we love too! Email me at for more information about this exciting opportunity.  

Ditch the Grinch and Choose Your Own Holiday Adventure: New Ways to Slay this Controversial Time of Year

The holiday season is a whirlwind, whether you are captivated by the magic, or stuck in a repetitive groundhog day-like list of must do’s.  No matter where you fall on this scale, breaking the mold and trying new things can feel rejuvenating during a time where many of us are in a rut relying on coffee and spiked eggnog to get through.  You may even find yourself inspired to create some new traditions! Volunteer:  This is something you can do on your own or with friends and family, including kids.  There are so many options out there that allow you to provide some real support without a long term commitment being required.  Nothing zaps the holiday doldrums like the opportunity to be of service to others and feel the real spirit of the season. Here’s a great list of ideas!   Up your skills in the kitchen:  Instead of letting another year go by wishing you had more impressive selections to bring to parties or the office potluck, actually do something to up your game!  Cooking classes are a great way to channel your inner chef and take your culinary game to the next level. Learn how to throw down some impressive creations (or the experience will at least give you some funny stories and fond memories).    The Hill Center is a great resource for this, or you can check out some other classes in the DC area!   Make wellness a priority: This time of year it’s harder to prioritize a routine that focuses on daily self-care.  Sign yourself up for something that will allow you to treat yourself to a much needed indulgence for the mind, body and spirit. You can make an appointment for Massage or Reflexology, learn more about Aromatherapy, or even put on your boogie shoes and take some dance lessons. Celebrate the power of the Winter Solstice and start the New Year off with mindfulness and healing (instead of hangovers and overspending)!   Spend some time outside and in nature:  Spring, summer and fall are the seasons that really tend to steal the show for outdoor activities.  We all know those people who are part arctic fox and really keep up their enthusiasm when the temperatures drop, but the truth is many of us start spending a lot more time indoors by December. Bundle up and have an adventure! The Arboretum is still an incredible place to visit this time of year, and the Sculpture Garden now has a skating rink. You can hike or bike with a local meet-up group, or go see the lights at the National Zoo!   Learn more about local DC history:  If you haven’t already visited the Anacostia Community Museum, this current exhibit is a great excuse to check it out.   See a holiday show:  There are some fun options out there that are appropriate for all ages (and a nice break from the Nutcracker).   Go see a movie on the big screen:  Instead of Netflix and chill, get off the couch and head to the Miracle Theatre on Barracks Row.  This month they are featuring holiday favorites such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf and The Polar Express.  Added bonus: wearing a festive sweater will entitle you to a discount.    

Happy Holidays!

Every year we have the pleasure of helping Brent Elementary deliver Christmas trees–it’s always a great time, and one we look forward to! Plus, if we’re lucky, we might just get to pass off a letter to Santa. This year we moved into our new warehouse, so that’s one thing we can cross off our wish list, but I’m sure we’ll think of something else as we continue to grow as a company. Hope you’ve digested that Thanksgiving turkey by now, because it’s time for latkes, gelt, and arroz con gandules, or whatever your family enjoys for the Holidays–I know our General Manager Jason makes homemade candy canes, for one!

Happy Holidays, from our big Bookstore family to yours!

What Moves You: March for Racial Justice

Another week, another cause that we fiercely believe in. This week in our What Moves You series, we are proud to announce our support for the March for Racial Justice. In our day and age, it is impossible to ignore the disparities in treatment of and justice for minorities in America. The rise of social media, accessible cameras, and widespread information gives a voice to people that past generations have tried, and sometimes failed, to ignore. Because when so many people are here wholeheartedly to speak up with this voice, we cannot be ignored any longer.   According to The March for Racial Justice’s website, M4RJ is a black and indigenous led multi-community movement united in our demands for racial equity and justice. This includes a reversal of unjust laws, policies, and practices that hasten inequality, dehumanize people of color, and maintain white supremacy. In the past few months, racial tensions have been volatile as both man-made and natural tragedies have destroyed lives. This march is to show solidarity and demand change.   To us, this is not a radical or controversial idea. Our nation was founded on the idea of equality while being built upon systematic inequality, and people have been working towards equality and justice ever since. Racial justice is a cause that everyone can and should support. So we stand with our brothers and sisters, and, like we have for decades, we march.   Join us on Saturday, September 30th in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill. If you are unable to march, due to distance, disability, or in observance of Yom Kippur, there are still ways to support this cause, as The March for Racial Justice continues to support your human rights as well. Check out the links below to learn, donate, endorse, volunteer, and spread the word.  We hope to see you there.   DONATE — Watch the Generosity by Indiegogo campaign video and donate to the cause! ENDORSE — Officially endorse the march and partner with March for Racial Justice! REGISTER — Register for the march and join us on the 30th of September! VOLUNTEER — Interested in being more actively involved? Sign up here!   TWITTER: @M4RJNow INSTAGRAM: @M4RJNow FACEBOOK: @M4RJNow  

What Moves You: CureFest

This week in the What Moves You series, we’d like to focus on a an event near and dear to our hearts: CureFest. This weekend marks our 4th year working with CureFest, and we look forward to continue helping whenever we can.  
CureFest, 2015
Curefest began in 2011, which makes September 16th and 17th their 6th event. Their mission is to make childhood cancer research a national priority by bringing together the general public, the medical community, elected leaders, and those whose lives have been touched by childhood cancer.  By meeting in the National Mall and presenting both informational booths and activities, they create a family-friendly space where the childhood cancer community can be together and where the general public can learn about childhood cancer and support research. They even have entertainment and key speakers perform. Whether you’d like to march in their rally to the US Capitol, attend the candlelight vigil, see some live music (there’s even an auction for a Sabrina Carpenter meet and greet!), listen to some truly amazing people speak, or just check out and see just what the big deal is, we implore you to stop by this amazing event.  Whether you bring your family, friends, or just attend solo there is plenty to do and learn. Help CureFest raise the voice of children with cancer and try to find safer, less toxic treatments for them.   If you’d like more information on CureFest, please check out the links below! @CurefestUSA on Facebook and Twitter We hope to see you there!    

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is not just a day, it’s a movement!   This global day of giving is being celebrated on November 29th, and was created to unite us in kicking off the charitable season and to get more engaged by donating time, money, a gift or just the power of your voice.  Interested but not sure where to start? You can search for ways to get involved on their main website or check out some of our favorite nonprofits that are always in need of support to keep doing the amazing work they do.
Serve Your City – This Capitol Hill based nonprofit creates essential learning opportunities for at-risk District of Columbia students through innovative programming such as alternative sports (swimming, rowing, tennis), art, financial literacy, after school tutoring and college preparation with the help of passionate volunteers, community organizations, and academic consultants.  There are many options to get involved or donate to this unique organization that is helping to change the outcomes of local youth who are most in need.
Rural Dog Rescue – This local rescue group is dedicated to saving the lives of dogs in shelters who are often overlooked and most at risk of being euthanized such as the hounds, the black dogs, the seniors and those with medical needs.  There are many donation options and RDR is always in need of volunteers who can foster and help with events. And of course if you are looking to adopt a new furry family member, this organization is a great place to start your search!
Capitol Hill Restoration Society – Founded 60 years ago to help preserve and protect the historic neighborhood’s architectural and residential character, it is now the largest civic association on Capitol Hill, and one of the largest in the District of Columbia. CHRS continues to play a key role in maintaining the integrity, history and appeal of the neighborhood which has been a diverse community for more than 200 years, and is always in need of volunteers to assist with their annual house tour fundraiser and other events, write for the newsletter and provide website support.

Small Business Saturday!

It may be tempting to get caught up in the hoopla of Black Friday madness or want to check out shopping deals from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday.  But please don’t forget to support all the wonderful independent businesses by getting out there for Small Business Saturday on November 26th!  Many of your local shops will also be offering promotions, and it’s a chance to enjoy the fun of chatting with store owners, running into neighbors and getting some real one of a kind finds.  Here’s a few ideas if you’re feeling stuck.
Hello, books anyone? – Of course we highly recommend a trip to Capitol Hill Books (as in, if you haven’t been, you must go), and also suggest checking out our friends at East City Books to search for amazing gifts for all those readers in your life or just to treat yourself during this stressful season.
Exercise lover in your life? – Sustainable brands of clothing and gear from Summit to Soul, a class pass to Be Here Now Yoga or a giftcard for a massage from Freed Bodyworks.
Pets are people too? Howl to the Chief has a large selection of goodies for dogs and cats as well as giftcards that can be used in the boutique or for services such as grooming and pet sitting.
Kiddos? Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is newly expanded and full of exciting gift ideas for kids (and adults) of all ages.
Home is where the heart is?Fragers Hardware and Garden Center is a good place to scope out both practical and interesting gifts, and Hill’s Kitchen literally has something for everyone who likes to cook, eat, drink or entertain. (and who doesn’t?)

Welcome to the Hill!

Thanksgiving is a time when many of us have a more heightened awareness of all we have to be grateful for, and prioritizing giving to others.  The Bookstore Movers family spreads generosity all year long by regularly donating time and resources to many, many great causes that benefit our local community (as I write this we have crews out delivering trucks full of turkeys that will go to deserving people and families for the upcoming holiday, and next week those same trucks will be making Christmas tree deliveries for a local school fundraiser).
So it is not surprising that November was the kick off month for our new Welcome Packet.  Thanks to the power of collaboration, all BSM clients moving onto the Hill (our original neighborhood stomping grounds, the home of Capitol Hill Books and where our roots run the deepest) will now be receiving a folder filled with materials and promotions from some of our favorite independent businesses and nonprofits here in the neighborhood.  So for customers new to the ‘hood, we’re providing a great kick off point for places to check out for local services, shops, classes and volunteer work.  As a small business, we are committed to supporting other small businesses and nonprofits, and it’s only fair that in the season of giving we share with new residents some of the many resources that make living on the Hill enjoyable and unique.  And for those of you not living on the Hill, it’s an open invitation to come visit our quirky village, and also to make similar commitments and collaboration efforts wherever you do call home.