The Early Years
When Wojciech “James” Cioromski hung up his shingle in 1960 as a real estate broker, he had no idea that his little business on the corner of Troy and North Avenues in Chicago's Humboldt park neighborhood, would flourish and impact families and businesses of all types for decades to come.
James was born and raised in Poland. As a young adult he served in the Polish Home Army to fight the Nazi invasion, and was later imprisoned for two years by the Soviets for his participation. After he escaped, he lived in Germany and England before settling in the United States. His first job was as a houseboy to the Kennedy family in Massachusetts. They realized how capable he was and encouraged him to move to Chicago, where Mayor Richard J. Daley helped him find a job in the tool-and- die industry. His new employer soon suggested he get into the real estate business.
James quickly became known as the go-to realtor in Chicago’s growing Polish immigrant community. Poles couldn’t own property in Poland during World War II, so helping them buy real estate for the first time was a meaningful experience for him. Over the years, James’ clients transitioned from laborers to business owners. When they were ready to buy or lease property for their companies, they turned to James as well.
The Next Generation
After graduating from college in 1982, Hubert, James’ son, joined the company. “My dad said, ‘Here’s a phone, here’s a desk, go to work,’” recalls Hubert. He did: Within a few years Hubert was an award-winning broker with a plan for growth well beyond his father’s scope. In 1987 James retired and Hubert took over managing day-to- day operations. Over the years he has served on dozens of boards of banks, foundations and organizations, and is known for supporting Polish events in the city.
Today the company is comprised of three entities: Troy Realty, specializing in commercial real estate; Troy Realty Management, a full-service property management firm; and Troy Companies, an investment group that acquires, redevelops, leases and manages properties.
How Troy is Different
“I describe Troy as an in-fill brokerage firm,” explains Hubert. “We’ve always had feet on the street. We know the neighborhoods – the properties, the businesses, the communities – better than anyone in this marketplace. And we’ve got connections – relationships -- with business owners all over Chicago. It’s why many of the large commercial players reach out to us for help.”
The Troy companies focus on the Chicago market but in recent years they’ve established a presence in Wisconsin and Florida. As longtime clients looked to purchase second homes or investment property, Hubert and his team supported their interests. But Troy has evolved wisely. “We turn plenty of assignments down,” Hubert says, “if we don’t know the area. We refer business to brokers we know across the country.”
More To Come
In 2015 one of Hubert’s sons, Steve, came to work in the family business. Steve uses his grandmother’s desk, and remembers playing in the office as a child while his grandparents and his father met with clients. He takes great pride in his status as a third-generation Cioromski – especially when he is the broker for a third-generation client.
Hubert isn’t going anywhere soon, but Steve says he looks forward to ultimately taking over the reins.
“My dad has created a supportive culture at Troy. Everyone works well together. I’m glad I chose to be part of Troy,” says Steve.