Wonderful article on our own Cynthia Froid this weekend in the Variety section of the Star Tribune. From her beginnings when the Mill District was just getting developed almost 20 years ago, to overcoming breast cancer last year, to selling another record-breaking price per square foot on a recent Downtown Minneapolis Condo, we are very proud of all the good work she does for buyers, sellers, and neighborhood organizations. http://m.startribune.com/variety/307128321.html
Mill District real-estate agent Cynthia Froid is rolling on the river
By KEVYN BURGER, SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE June 13, 2015 - 4:13 PM
How a former third-grade teacher survived the recession and cancer to become the Mill District’s top real estate matchmaker.
Cynthia Froid considers herself a big-picture thinker, but her florist might disagree. The Minneapolis real estate agent was quite specific with a recent order at Brown & Greene Floral in Linden Hills: six dozen tulips — white — in a plain glass vase.
The petite Froid carried the oversized arrangement to a half-million-dollar riverfront condo that she was selling and carefully positioned it on the center island.
“Simple but sophisticated,” Froid explained. “Tulips don’t have a scent; some people don’t like fragrance.”
A few prospective buyers meandered past the bouquet while viewing the loft. At the end of the day, one of them made a full-price offer to Froid’s clients.
The unit, in the Whitney Lofts, was not even officially for sale.
The Froid file “I have properties up my sleeve that are not on MLS,” Froid said. “People call me about what’s not on the market. I’ll say, ‘Tell me what your buyer needs, and I’ll tell you if I have it.’ And on the other side, I have clients who don’t have their place listed but tell me, ‘If you have a buyer, I’ll let you show it.’ ”
Peppy, with an easy laugh, Froid, 45, has become arguably the top real estate agent in the Mill District, the row of swanky warehouse-style residences along the revitalized Minneapolis riverfront. In 2013, her five-person team, the Cynthia Froid Group, Keller Williams Realty, did $43 million in sales by volume; her individual sales of $34 million made her the top-selling agent in the city of Minneapolis. Her team sold $41 million in 2014, when her average property closed at a robust $1.4 million. This year is shaping up to be her best yet. Earlier this month, she was in on the riverfront’s biggest sale ever, co-representing the buyer of a $4.3 million property at the Carlyle. That shattered her own record; in January, Froid closed on a $4.235 million loft at the Washburn Lofts.
It was another of her back-pocket deals; the Washburn property had never been on the market. Froid match-made the deal and represented both buyer and seller at closing. She has inked another such deal set to close Sept. 1, representing both parties on a $3.1 million river-view unit in the Stone Arch Lofts.
“Real estate changes often happen because of life changes,” said Susan Boren, an executive recruiter who has used Froid for three transactions. “Cindy hears about those changes before people want to go public with them. She knows a lot about people’s lives. She’s very friendly, but very discreet.”
With so much money at stake, it would be logical to assume there’s a cutthroat attitude among downtown real estate agents, all grabbing for the same trophies.
But according to Froid, that simply isn’t true.
“In this business, we have to rely on each other,” she said. “Downtown is our sandbox, and it’s a very small sandbox. We all have to play nice to be successful.”
She frequently crosses paths with Edina Realty’s Fritz Kroll, whom she speaks of with marked respect. The admiration is mutual.
“Nobody knows a building better than someone who’s sold it. Cindy has knowledge for that whole row of buildings,” Kroll said. “She’s my go-to person if I have questions, and she always has time to chat. And across the table on a deal, she takes the high road.”
Raised in Hastings, Froid studied education at St. Catherine University. She had been teaching in St. Louis Park for five years when a friend who’d starting selling real estate suggested that she get her license.
“That sounded like something fun to do during my vacation,” Froid said with a grin. “I made more money that summer than in a year of teaching. I thought, ‘Man, this is a lot easier than teaching math to third-graders.’ ”
After returning to the classroom in the fall of 1996, the school librarian sought her out.
“She said, ‘I want you to meet my husband. He’s selling real estate downtown.’ ” Froid recalled. “I thought, ‘Real estate downtown? Where would that be?’ ”
That pivotal introduction led Froid to her mentor, the late Sheldon Hoffman, a legendary real estate agent who operated S.R. Hoffman & Associates. He was involved in marketing the riverfront’s first residential project, the North Star Lofts.
Within a week of meeting Hoffman, Froid quit her teaching job and began her real estate career in earnest.
Tailgaters and homeless
“What an adventure!” she said. “At the time, the riverfront was the Whitney Hotel, Liquor Depot, Vikings tailgaters on Sundays and some homeless people. Most people thought we were out of our minds. But Minneapolis was ready for something like this.”
Froid worked for Hoffman for an exciting decade, selling units in new and refurbished buildings in the emerging Mill District. She learned the area and built relationships with the first wave of buyers.
“That’s how it became my niche. Now, when a buyer calls me, it’s not because they want to live in Edina or Rose-ville. They are looking at a six-square-block area along the river,” she said.
In 2009, Froid leased the ground floor in a building a stone’s throw from the Guthrie, creating the Cynthia Froid group. She sought a place where she could be visible to her clients, both present and prospective ones.
“It’s old-fashioned hunting and gathering, knowing people and getting face-to-face in front of them,” she said. “That’s the best way to bring people together. You can’t have an app for that.”
Today, she has no luxurious private office; her desk in the corner of the open room is littered with papers and Post-its, the wall above it decorated with a drawing by her son, snapshots of her husband and a framed picture of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
Her first recruit after she opened the office was Holly Holt, an agent whom Froid had worked with at Hoffman & Associates.
“It was the middle of the recession, and a lot of people felt hopeless, but Cindy didn’t,” said Holt, the group’s lead buyer’s agent. “She thought, ‘This is the perfect time to get a storefront.’ We all know things are cyclical, but she had the courage to take the risk.”
“She’s a big player here,” said Brenda Langton, chef and owner of Spoonriver, located across the street from Froid’s office. “She’s what you want in a neighbor. So real. Very straightforward, a lot of personality and integrity.”
When Langton initiated the Mill City Farmers Market, Froid wrote a check to help sponsor the Saturday morning event, and has continued to underwrite the market; last year she donated $15,000, according to Langton.
“The market draws people to the neighborhood, and it’s where people who live here congregate,” Langton said. “Cindy’s right in the middle of it. She’s very strategic; she markets herself by putting her marketing dollars back in the community. And her clients love her.”
Clients who haven’t seen Froid for a while may notice that her hair, long worn in an Audrey Hepburn bob, has gone curly. It came back that way after she lost it during chemotherapy. In 2013, in the midst of her biggest year ever, Froid discovered a lump during a breast self-exam.
“She was terrified. We saw vulnerable moments in Cindy that we had never seen before,” said Holt.
Surgery, chemo and radiation slowed Froid’s pace for almost a year. She spent more time at home, and turned to the team she had put together to keep the business running.
“They stepped up; it was their time to shine,” she said. “I had to surrender that. It was hard, but once I did it, it felt good.”
Froid is “the proverbial optimist, and she faced cancer that way,” said her client Boren. “She wore great scarves, kept her style. She went through it with grace.”
Froid believes her diagnosis changed her.
“I used to run myself ragged; now I can say no, or delegate,” she said. “I’m a hard worker, but I’m lucky, too. Now more than ever, I know that.”