A sixth generation native of the Emerald Coast, Craig Barrett grew up in Fort Walton Beach and never found a reason to leave. His devotion to the region is one of the reasons why he and partner Jayme Nabors have established arguably the most successful commercial real estate brokerage in the Southeast. Since the two teamed up nine years ago, NBI Properties has leased more than one million square feet of commercial real estate to investors and business owners. Whether it's industrial space, office buildings, shopping centers or mixed-use facilities, Barrett thrives on letting his clients know the Emerald Coast is great for business. He firmly believes that unparalleled knowledge of the local market is what sets NBI apart from its competitors.
“No one knows the market like we do,” he said. “Honesty and integrity is what we are known for, so we always tell our clients the truth – even when they don’t like to hear it! “
Humble to the core, Barrett also attributes much of the company's success to his partnership with Nabors. When they founded NBI Properties in 2005, they shared the same goals and vision about what they wanted to accomplish in the commercial real estate market.
“Jayme is one of the smartest people I have ever been around in the real estate business,” said Barrett. “There's a long line of successful entrepreneurs in his family, so it's no surprise he has an incredible business sense. When we founded NBI, we both agreed that our source would be God and that we would not be motivated by greed. We said we would always put the needs of our clients first, and we have."
Currently managing more than 2,500 properties on the Emerald Coast, Barrett says the high powered team has enjoyed steady financial success year after year while never experiencing a downturn in the unpredictable marketplace.
“It’s truly a ‘God’ thing,” explained Barrett, who has been an active member of the Destin Assembly of God since the early eighties. “We both believe in Psalms 115 where the scripture says you will increase more and that your future generations will also be blessed.”
Hard work was a habit instilled in Barrett at an early age. A graduate of Choctawhatchee High School and Okaloosa Walton College, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service and for Federal Express several years before he was bitten by the real estate bug. His first stint was as an employee of Realty House, where he worked for eight years and found his niche for commercial real estate. He worked with many investors who recognized the potential of the Emerald Coast despite the volatile national real estate forecasts.
“The fact that tourism is a huge draw and brings 8-14 million people to the area every year is always a plus for investors and business owners,” he said. “And when you add our enormous military bases to the mix, there’s always going to be a lot of people looking to put down roots in this area.”
No matter how many real estate deals and transactions he has in the works, Barrett can be found walking his two huge Newfoundland dogs on 30A in Santa Rosa Beach almost every morning. In the evenings, Barrett and his wife, Melanie, like to stroll the same beach to take in the spectacular sunsets they have enjoyed for years. If his cell phone rings and it's a client calling with a question, that's perfectly okay with him.
"If I'm trying to help someone with a property, there's no such thing as an interruption," he explained. "I can talk about why they should come to this area all day long."