Never Too Late to Say Thanks

December 9, 2019 2:10 pm Published by


Bankers, as Mark Twain aptly observed, are folks who lend you their umbrella when the sun is shining and want it back the minute it begins to rain. Rainy days are made for private bankers offering credit, when perhaps it has not yet been fully earned. Most business people have at one time or another, relied on a private banker, even if they referred to them as uncle, mom or dad, or in my case, neighbour.


Momentum is a curious phenomenon that ebbs and flows in both directions. In 2003, I managed to convince myself that Coldwell Banker Neumann Real Estate had momentum – the positive kind. We were a small company, but we had good people, and as luck would have it, good people like to work with other good people. We soon found ourselves having outgrown our facility at the time. Continued growth I believed, necessitated a new facility before our momentum reversed. Marleen Castellan, a salesperson with us at the time, brought to my attention a vacant house on an oversized lot located at 824 Gordon Street. In it, I saw the solution to our overcrowding. Getting from recognizing the solution, to building a new building required money I did not have. Potential and positive momentum are nice concepts, however, asking a bank to finance them is another matter altogether! Banks need to see a track record, and ours was short. Frankly, it didn’t warrant the expenditure I was envisioning as necessary for continued growth. Moreover, our new building would require a commercial tenant to help pay the mortgage. Commercial tenants I would learn, aren’t in a rush to sign a lease on a property not yet built, by someone who has never built anything. I was stuck. Enter Paul Gazzola.


Paul, who happened to be and remains my next-door neighbour, is a mortgage broker at ( When my vision for a great new building failed to attract the interest of a bank, Paul cobbled together the private funds from personal sources that allowed me to build our current office building at 824 Gordon Street. Those were the rainy days. Eventually, when the sun returned, the banks were happy to offer me their umbrella again, but without Paul, it’s unlikely that Coldwell Banker Neumann Real Estate would be where it is today.


I have relayed this story many times verbally over the years, however, this more public recognition is long overdue. I also feel this story is not that unique since most business people can look back upon their careers and identify people who made a difference in their lives. Sometimes it is by lending money. Sometimes it is offering encouragement. Too often, in my case anyway, we don’t do enough to acknowledge the difference they have made. I’m going to make a point of doing more of that in the future, so here is my start….thanks Paul!


Thanks for reading,
Jeff Neumann


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