Park Ridge wasn’t the only small town Brian grew up loving.
“In 1989, my parents purchased a restaurant called Jam’s of Boca Grande,” he said. “It is now Sister’s Restaurant. We would come to vacation in Boca Grande all the time and eat at the family restaurant.” Brian's father, Ray, started A-1 Delivery Service, a trucking and warehousing business, in 1982.
“My father was a self-made business man,” recalled Brian fondly. “He was an entrepreneur who started out with nothing and showed me the hard work ethic necessary to start my own business and make it in a tough world.”
Brian and his siblings John and Debbie often helped out on the road and in the warehouse, while his mother Iliene worked as a dental hygienist.
“It started out as a trucking business,” Brian recalled. “I used to go out in the summers when I was 10. I would go out from our terminal in New Jersey and spend the day delivering and picking up, mostly in the garment center in midtown Manhattan. I would spend 12 to 14 hours with the workers in my father’s truck company. I met so many interesting people in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn. I got to see the city from every corner. That was my summer job, the way that I learned to work.”
“One time when I was 13 the driver dropped me off and told me to press the intercom button and someone would let me in to drop the package off. I went down the hallway and realized I was in the dressing room of Chippendales exotic dancers,” Brian laughed. “I was surrounded by mirrors and lockers of the male dancers. Needless to say, I delivered the package quickly and got out of there before anyone showed up for work.”
With his mother’s influence, Brian started playing the piano at nine. It was the beginning of a lifelong love for music.
“Playing the piano isn’t something you can be taught, “ he said. “You can’t convince a 9-year-old to sit down and play for hours. You either have it in you or you don’t. I had it in me. I kept asking for more lessons, and that eventually lead to performing at Carnegie Hall recitals with other students.”
In high school, Brian played keyboards in a band called Heat, with his brother John on the drums.
“We performed at battles of the bands, birthday parties and weddings starting when I was 15 up until I was 18,” said Brian. “From there, I was accepted into Mannes College of Music, a conservatory for classical musicians.”
Brian met his wife Sigrid in New Jersey on a blind date.
“I picked her up and we drove into New York City,” he said. “We spent the evening looking at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, my favorite site because of its musical influence. We also went to the Landmark Tavern, an Irish tavern on 48th Street, a historic site that we visited again two years ago. Our first kiss was in the back of a New York City taxi cab.”
Brian proposed to Sigrid at Arthur’s Landing Restaurant in Weehawken, N.J., overlooking the New York City skyline.
“She was surprised, but I think she saw it coming,” he said. “We knew pretty quickly that we were right for each other.”
They were married at the Sea View Resort in Absecon, N.J., just outside of Atlantic City. They shared an intimate wedding, followed by their honeymoon in Antigua, known for its beautiful beaches and romantic resorts.
“We left at four in the morning to Sandals in Antigua,” Brian laughed. “It’s still the best vacation we’ve ever had.”
After two years of classical music training Brian was lured back into the family’s trucking and warehousing business. His family sold the business and he stayed on as a vice president with the new company to help with the transition.
“When we sold the trucking business my father and my brother wanted to spend more time in Florida,” said Brain. “So they opened a second restaurant called Jam’s of Cape Haze, now known as Villa Capri.”After two years of working in the corporate world, Brian packed his bags and moved with his wife and 6-month-old son, Matthew, to join his family in Boca Grande in the year 2000.
“I decided that the restaurant business was a nice deviation from the corporate world,” he said. “After five or six years of driving in and out of New York City every day I saw what was going on in the economy, and decided that real estate would be an interesting profession to get into.”
Brian got his real estate and broker’s license and started BRC Group in November of 2008 with his brother, John.
“I’ve always been in sales, whether it was selling a performance playing the piano, working a sales pitch to corporate executives or selling something as simple as a bottle of wine in a restaurant,” he said. “It’s all sales, and real estate seemed the most interesting and rewarding business that was out here in Boca Grande and the surrounding area.
“The people in Boca Grande and Placida are some of the nicest people that I’ve met in my life. Finding the right property for someone is extremely rewarding, because it’s the follow up and comments they make to other people that are so positive and reinforcing. When I do a good job I am rewarded for it.”
With a 16-year marriage, Brian and Sigrid have to two boys, Matthew and Andrew.
“Sigrid was a social worker in a hospital when I met her, but once we had Matthew she stayed home to care for him,” said Brian. “I really admire her. She helps me with the kids, and being able to come out and do this business and be successful at it. I couldn’t do it without her. My boys are respectful. They are great kids to their mom every day, they are both excellent students and they love to play basketball and golf. Every day is a proud day for me as a parent. My father influenced me to work hard. I hope to influence my boys to be good citizens.”
Brian sets an example as a good citizen with his long-time involvement with the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Fort Myers.
“I’m proud of being involved in the Taste of Boca Grande every year,” he smiled. “I was one of the founding members when I was in the restaurant business, and 10 years later turned it into one of the premier fundraisers in Boca Grande.”
Brian’s family tree in Boca Grande has roots beyond the family restaurant.
“My maternal grandmother, Helen Johnson, grew up on Boca Grande,” he explained. “Her father, Arthur K. Johnson, was a captain with the Lykes Brothers Steam Ship Company. My great-great-grandfather, John B. Riley, was the resident supervisor for the Boca Grande Land Company. My grandmother broke the chain and left when she was a teenager, but my parents were the ones to reconnect with Boca Grande.”
Brian carries on the tradition of working in Boca Grande with pride. He plans on moving The BRC Group LLC, located at 333 Park Avenue, downstairs to the front corner office come October 1st of this year.
“It’s a big deal for us, having our sign out in the front now,” he said. “Moving the business to the ground floor corner office is going to be really exciting for us this year.”
Brian Corcoran is a loyal family man, an entrepreneur by design, but a musician at heart.
“I don’t play much, with my business and the kids at home,” he said. “I’m lucky if I get 30 minutes a week, but it is something I look forward to when I retire.”
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