CEO Connect: The mother-daughter duo from Tomlin St. Cyr Real Estate Services (PHOTOS)

Holly Tomlin previously ran her own business for 30 years. Ali St. Cyr, Holly’s daughter, was in a transition in her real estate career and as families often do, they banded together to create one of the fastest-growing real estate firms in the Tampa Bay area, Tomlin St. Cyr Real Estate Services. (Scroll down for photos)

In 2015 Tomlin St. Cyr Real Estate Services incorporated, and, in 2016, it opened its doors in Tampa.

In 2020, it was ranked as one of the fastest-growing brokerages in the Tampa Bay area for home sales. The brokerage produced $107 million in sales volume in 2020.

Bridgette Bello, publisher and CEO of Tampa Bay Business and Wealth, interviewed Tomlin and St. Cyr in front of a live audience at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. Food and drink sponsors included Spunky Spirits, Fuzzy’s Tacos, 81Bay Brewing Company and St. Pete Distillery.

This transcript has been edited for length and brevity.

Can you talk about the best thing that’s happened to you since you were our cover stars on the May issue?

Tomlin: It’s very exciting to be a cover girl. How often does that happen? It may not ever happen again. But I have to say, if you’re considering being a part of this magazine, I’ve done a lot of things over the years I’ve been in business—I had another business for 30 years, and now involved with this company, I’ve done a lot of PR and marketing-type things—and I have never received as many phone calls from friends, colleagues, clients and people I haven’t heard from in years since this magazine came out. So, I’m very happy. It’s been a wonderful experience. And, you know, without getting choked up, to be on a magazine cover with your daughter—wow! So we’re very excited about that. And I know it’s already had an impact, because we’ve gotten calls from folks that would like to list, or sell, their home.

St. Cyr: And the crowd that [this event] draws are really the leaders, and movers and shakers, in this community. We’ve done advertising for things in the past, but I’ve never seen this kind of an audience. TBBW does such a great job. As you all know, since you’re here.

We did the interview quite some time ago, and since then, you’ve launched a new arm of the business. Do you want to talk about that?

St. Cyr: What we’re really trying to accomplish is creating a holistic approach to the real estate transaction. As you know, there are a lot of moving parts involved. Of course, you have the real estate agent, you have the mortgage broker that’s involved, the title company and insurance. Many times, you need to get insurance before you close on a home.

We started our title company, and that has been a great success. For our listings, buyers are starting to negotiate that into their contracts.

Our next endeavor is starting an insurance arm of the company. What we’re really trying to create is something a little bit different than other brokerages and have more of a member organization.

Tomlin: In title, in particular, we saw a lot of abuses in that industry. So we thought, we want to treat people like we expect to be treated. And there should not be any surprises.

You have a significant deal closing in June. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

St. Cyr: Being a lifetime Tampa resident, it’s so awesome to see everything going on here. The development even just surrounding where we are today, not only in Tampa, but in downtown St. Pete.

We have a large [condominium], a 7,400-square-foot condo closing at $6,375,000 in just a couple of weeks. It will be one of the largest condo sales in downtown St. Petersburg’s history.

Poor John Tomlin wasn’t a mother, or a daughter, and got almost completely left out of the interview. But he’s had a whole lot of influence on the company. And I want to make sure that I give you guys the opportunity to talk about that.

Tomlin: John is accustomed to running a very large organization and making it successful and profitable. He’s very good at finance and financial analysis. You won’t find anyone any better. His legacy is to make sure that all of his children learn how to be an entrepreneur. He loves a business challenge. And we’re very fortunate to have his business acumen.

Philanthropy is always a big focus for us in the magazine, and we feel like, to a certain degree, it’s our way to give back and highlight different nonprofits. You both happen to support two that are in the room this evening. Ali, why don’t you talk about Big Brothers and Big Sisters and why their mission is so important to you?

St. Cyr: I’ve been a “big” for six years now. My husband and I were looking for something we could do together, as a team. We decided on Big Brothers Big Sisters after hearing about it at some event.

We met Mikey, six years ago. If you’re wanting to follow me on social media, he’s all over my social media, we do a lot of video stuff. He’s just a blast. And I remember the moment that we met Mikey, everything just really changed. A kid can change your life. And it puts so much into perspective. We’ve learned so much from him.

That one-on-one time that you spend with a child that may not have had a chance, or just doesn’t have a whole lot of influence, especially positive male influence in his life. Seeing the impact that Jeff has on him, just spending a little bit of time. We taught him how to ride a bike, I’ve brought him to work with me to show some houses, and he’ll show people around. It’s cute. The relationship that we’ve built with him over the years, and his family, has been something incredible.

There’s also someone here from the Boys and Girls Club, which is Holly and John’s passion. Holly, do you want to talk about why you’re so passionate about that organization?

Tomlin: John and I are very committed to the Boys and Girls Club. They address many of the issues in our society today, especially now more than ever. These are children that need us very, very much. They provide a safe place for them to go after school to do their homework, they get a hot meal. They have love, protection, coaching and a lot of hope for getting to the next level and breaking the cycle. In fact, 98% of the kids that go to the Boys and Girls Club graduate from high school, and 88% of them go to post-secondary education.

We’re in a crazy real estate market right now. We all know a Realtor. Why should someone choose Tomlin St. Cyr? Why is the real estate market so crazy? And are we about to hit another bubble? How have you plugged your business model into the business community? And why should somebody consider selling right now?

St. Cyr: The market is hot. But we are very selective in who we recruit, we’re not trying to be the biggest real estate company in Tampa, we are absolutely trying to be the best. And that comes down to the people that we recruit and the culture that we have. We have a culture that only recruits people that we know are dedicated to serving the client, not themselves.

And sometimes that means convincing people not to buy the home, if it’s not the right home for them. And that’s a very important piece of what we do. Because, especially in this market, when it becomes very competitive, sometimes you have people that just like to win, and it may not be the right house. We have [a] buyer-consult at the very beginning of the relationship and go through all of the aspects of the transaction to prepare our clients. But most important, [we] talk about their goals, and why they’re setting out on this journey to begin with. If they like a house that doesn’t meet their goals, we’re going to remind them of that.

We’re here for the long term, we want to be a part of your family’s life. This is a huge life transition for the families that we serve. And we want to make sure that we’re your trusted advisor.

Have you all been reading about what’s going on in our crazy market? Or maybe you’ve bought and sold in this market too.? We’ve had to change the way that we do business.

People that are buying are committed to the process and ready to go. But it has become very fast. And we must react very quickly.

We talked about the low inventory and there certainly is low inventory, but we are selling more homes than we ever have. There just isn’t a whole lot of options. If you’re setting out to go and find one, you must move rather quickly.

Is there a compelling argument for selling right now?

St. Cyr: For sure. But just like you said, it depends on what your goals are for selling. Most people need to sell their home to buy the next. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to buy their next home before selling, they need that equity out of their current home.

We used to be able to put the home on the market, go find a house, put it under contract and then make it contingent on the sale of their current home. That’s just not flying in a competitive environment.

It’s been an interesting market and we’ve had to get very creative.


TBBW’s CEO Connect series is an exclusive, invitation-only, event that brings together Tampa Bay area’s top business leaders to meet and mingle. SouthState Bank and PBX-Change were presenting sponsors. The host sponsor was The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. Diamond View Studios is TBBW’s production partner.

The evening begins with a cocktail reception for about 120 guests, followed by an interview with that month’s cover CEO.

Partnering with TBBW on future editions provides an opportunity to network with the area’s business elite, generate new business opportunities and increase brand awareness.

For information about event sponsorship opportunities, email Jason Baker at [email protected].

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