Jimmy Cushman

MIAMI—As the nation becomes increasingly diverse, working effectively with immigrant business owners becomes more important. Success, Jimmy Cushman, a property manager for Halpern Enterprises tells GlobeSt.com, comes from mutual respect, clear communication, and a focus on helping tenants succeed.

With a strong presence in diverse markets throughout Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, Atlanta-based Halpern Enterprises understands just how important it is to have open communication with these types of tenants. And when language becomes a barrier, personal visits, body language and understanding the importance of an ongoing relationship become paramount.

As an example of the increased diversity of retail tenants, stores owned by immigrants in one of Halpern’s Atlanta centers range from a grocery owned by a man who moved to the US from Columbia, to a clothing shop owned by a couple from Mexico, to a live shrimp store owned by a family from Vietnam, to a handbag store owned by a family from Korea.

Globe St.com talked to Cushman about the challenges and rewards of working with immigrants on real estate issues in part one of this exclusive interview. Be sure to come back this afternoon for part two, where he will dives deeper into how these cultural issues affect business.

GlobeSt.com: What is different in working with business owners who are immigrants?

Cushman: Certainly, there is often a language barrier. So we focus on making in-person visits, and we often have a second-generation family member there to help in translating. We focus on communicating clearly, on building relationships and on helping the tenant whenever we can, whether in understanding local ordinances, creating marketing plans or assisting them with signage.

It is extremely gratifying to help these business owners succeed. They have tremendous and well-deserved pride in their businesses and in the lives they are building here. They understand and appreciate the value of hard work and the path to success, and we understand that successful tenants make successful properties.

GlobeSt.com: Do you find that you need to be aware of different customs, depending on where the person moved here from?

Cushman: It’s very important to read someone’s body language, then to recognize that and act accordingly. Even if you are talking about a difficult subject, you need to smile and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ This builds respect, and leads to trust. They have to understand that you care about them as people, that you care about their business, and that their success is your success.

Be sure to come back this afternoon’s Miami edition, where Cushman will talk about how to overcome various challenges associated with working with tenants from various nations.