Focus on family, philanthropy helps Lakeland real estate firm grow

·5 min read
Max and Alicia Claircius , owners of Claircius Group, a highly successful Black-owned real estate company that now gives back to the community with philanthropy at their offices in Lakeland Fl. Wednesday December 1 2021.  ERNST PETERS/ THE LEDGER
Max and Alicia Claircius , owners of Claircius Group, a highly successful Black-owned real estate company that now gives back to the community with philanthropy at their offices in Lakeland Fl. Wednesday December 1 2021. ERNST PETERS/ THE LEDGER

LAKELAND – When you combine a nurse practitioner and a real estate professional with a penchant for family and philanthropy, the result is The Claircius Group - serving the community's health and well-being as well as their real estate needs.

“A lot of real estate agents see clients as just a transaction; whenever someone is buying a home, that eventually leads to a family, raising children,” explained Max Claircius, a husband and father of six himself.

The Claircius Group International, LLC moved into a new office at 519 Bartow Road in July and they say business is booming.

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The real estate brokerage reports quarterly business as high as $3.4 million, consistently reaches the top 100 brokerages on the Stellar MLS and by mid-year 2022, they aspire to have 50 agents. Currently they have 13 people either in the office full-time or as agents.

But business owners Alicia and Max Caircius still value community service as demonstrated by their donations of backpacks for the homeless and by hosting a silent auction for charity, all while focusing on family.

Max and Alicia Claircius , owners of Claircius Group, a highly successful Black-owned real estate company that now gives back to the community with philanthropy at their offices in Lakeland Fl. Wednesday December 1 2021.  ERNST PETERS/ THE LEDGER
Max and Alicia Claircius , owners of Claircius Group, a highly successful Black-owned real estate company that now gives back to the community with philanthropy at their offices in Lakeland Fl. Wednesday December 1 2021. ERNST PETERS/ THE LEDGER

Their oldest, also named Max, is now age 13, and the youngest at 15 months, Adirah, can be found around the Lakeland office, a converted single-family home. The kids often observe and even help with marketing and property transactions at the office.

By next year, the Claircius' hopes to acquire more buildings along Bartow Road to accommodate business growth and their client's needs. They also plan to open a mortgage company, a title company and possibly a moving truck rental franchise, Max Claircius said.

The current space also houses a telehealth business Alicia Claircius formed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit and as her home care clients did not want to risk in-person visits. While real estate takes up most of her time, Angel Eyes Primary Care grew from the home care business and now offers services as a virtual primary care provider.

"I enjoy the process of helping others,” Alicia said, explaining a connection between their healthcare businesses and the real estate business. As a nurse she said she had logged 12-hour shifts at Lakeland Regional Hospital and other Central Florida hospitals as a traveling nurse prior to starting her own business. Now, she prefers her current work-motherhood life balance.

Max, who speaks multiple languages, embraces the couple's African American heritage as an asset for the business.

"I think people are always rooting for the underdog," he said of the recent successes of the Black -owned enterprise.

Claircius Group joins other Black-owned brokerages, such as Lakeland's Ardis Limited Inc., which has been in business for 26 years, according to its owner Reginald Ardis. Records at the Polk County History Center show there were others listed in business directories by the 1980s.

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Alicia and Max Claircius produce video podcast called Evolven2Power

Alicia and Max Claircius also produce a video podcast called Evolven2Power, which seeks to spread the entrepreneurial mindset on YouTube.

Hanging on the wall as people walk into Claircius Group are photographs of Max posing with Sheriff's Grady Judd and Mayor Bill Mutz.

Of the high-energy entrepreneurial professionals, Mutz said the couple have a "people-centric emphasis" and are "enthusiastic and optimistic and engaging."

A recent guest on the Claircius' podcast, Mutz added, "They are also excellent listeners which helps them help others. It is a blessing to have their enthusiasm in the Lakeland business community."

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Sylvia Blackmon-Roberts, associate vice president, community relations and chief diversity officer at Southeastern University and owner of a business management consulting firm, enjoyed watching the couple as they started new ventures.

"Max and Alicia are hard workers who listen, learn and execute with customer service as a core value," she said.

With her experience in nursing, Alicia, who Max often calls, "Dr. C," understands the demanding and hectic lifestyle of medical professions and this helps them land clients.

Clermont plastic surgeon and client, Jeffery Feiner said the couple helped him sell a townhouse property and he was very positive about their service, which he called "fantastic." He added Max was on top of things the entire time his property was listed.

The couple deals primarily in residential real estate throughout Central Florida from $2.4 million homes to the more commonly priced home at around $300,000 in the Lakeland area, among their potential sales.

Concerning recent trends in real estate, Max Claircius said he is seeing a lot of cash buyers who sell single-family homes in places like New York or California for up to $700,000 and come to Florida with more than enough cash to afford a place in the Sunshine State.

Max gained more than 10 years experience in sales at Keller Williams Realty in Lakeland. There he was also an instructor with its Quantum Leap Program and Kids Can Program educating young adults on how to succeed as business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. He also participated in Red Day charity events.

He explained, his time working with the Salvation Army in Harlem planted the seed of community service in his mind. The Ledger reported in June Claircius Group intended to give away more than 100 backpacks filled with food and hygiene items for the underserved homeless community at an event at Talbot House Ministries in Lakeland.

The patriarch and native Haitian, Max Claircius, who immigrated to New York City at age six explained, “We’re doing life with each other - the bad, the good, the ugly.”

Further, he wants his kids to grow up believing in the American dream and the meaning of hard work, which he models for them.

“You can have anything you like in life," he said he tells his children, "but it takes hard work.”

Paul Nutcher covers business and industry for The Ledger. He can be reached at pnutcher@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Claircius Group real estate firm grows through community involvement