Business, Kalidy's Way

 

Written by Amy Dee Stephens in the January 2018 Issue

Sabih Kalidy

Business, Kalidy's Way

Remember when the Kalidy building, with its bright-colored panels, was first built at Memorial and Eastern? I was among the many who wondered, “Is that a day care or a dentist office?” Owner, Sabih Kalidy, grinned happily as he explained, “We did it purposely, because we wanted people to be curious and look us up—and people did!”

Now, the company’s reputation in the real estate industry is going so strong that Sabih is building a larger facility in Edmond. It will feature the trademark color panels that so delight Sabih, who loves bold, flashy colors. “It really started with the red doors we put on our houses,” Sabih said. “I like bold colors because they stand out and give off positive energy. It creates an atmosphere where I love coming to work.”

Positivity truly radiated from him, and somehow, he’d replicated his attitude--the whole office was like an oasis of happiness. Each employee I encountered in the open-concept office was equally cheerful. Sabih said it’s because he only hires nice people. “It creates an environment where I don’t feel exhausted at the end of the day.”

Sabih was eager to show me around the office, which has a modern design, without being too stark. The high-tech offices with glass walls are broken up by brick panels lined with wine bottles, adding an old-style European touch to the atmosphere. A massive polished stone table hangs from steel cables in the conference room, and Thunder basketball memorabilia is scattered throughout the office. “I want people to feel comfortable here,” Sabih said.

We passed the lobby, lined with movie star posters. “I want everyone to see something here that brings them good memories,” he said. His sense of humor peeked through when we came to the life-sized image of Big Foot on the wall. “See this? People take their picture with this Big Foot all the time! It’s been tweeted numerous times.”

Sabih and I sat down to talk further about his business. He shared that the company is successful because of his proprietary real estate software—which was scrolling across large screens in his office, allowing him to track every aspect of his business at a glance. He confessed to remembering every one of the thousands of properties his company has bought or sold. Apparently it was true, because shortly afterward, the magazine photographer, Marshall Hawkins, dropped by. Marshall introduced himself and said, “I sold a home to Kalidy several years ago.” Marshall mentioned the street name and Sabih said, “Oh yes, isn’t that the one we put a new roof on?” He then proceeded to describe the house and the new buyer accurately.

Sabih’s newest business venture for 2018 is the opening of Kalidy Autoplex, which will feature cars for sale and rent that are seldom seen in Oklahoma, like Lamborghinis and Ferraris. “Instead of renting a limousine after a wedding or party, you can now rent a Rolls Royce convertible.”

Despite his success, Sabih’s guiding business principle is “family first.” He leaves work at five o’clock to eat dinner with his wife and children. He helps with homework, and he never misses their activities. He rides his bicycle daily and finds time to read books about people and technologies that have changed the world. “A typical day for me is a fabulous day,” Sabih said. “Every day is very rewarding, helping lots of families get into homes.”

Instead of giving me the typical “thank you for coming” handshake at the end of our interview, Sabih offered me a bottle of Kalidy wine. From beginning to end, he’d proven himself to be a gracious host—and just as he’d hoped, I left feeling comfortable. I laughed when I read the sign above the exit door: We thought you’d never leave. Only a man with Kalidy’s confidence in his hospitality would be bold enough to pull that off. He knew I’d laugh.

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