Soup Kitchen: a Brief History

posted Jan 17, 2018, 8:17 PM by Sam Zherka

According to statistics provided by the World Food Programme, one in nine people across the globe “go to bed on an empty stomach each night.” That means more than 800 million people suffer from hunger.


This has been a problem that has faced the world for several millennia. And throughout history, societies have always found the need to feed the hungry, seeing it as their moral obligation to do so. An example of humanitarian causes that has sought to address hunger is soup kitchen, or a place set up by charitable individuals or institutions where free food is served to the homeless or destitute.

The earliest known occurrence of the modern soup kitchen concept was way back in the latter part of the 18th century, during the Industrial Revolution era. Amidst the technological and economic developments was the worsening condition for the poor in Europe. Count Rumford of Bavaria, with the help of American-born British physicist and inventor Benjamin Thomas, advanced their advocacy for hunger relief by establishing soup kitchens.

They used soup for practicality’s sake – it was not costly to produce, and water could be added if they needed to serve more people.

The concept also spread to the U.S., thanks to Irish immigrants who moved to the “New World” due to the Irish Potato Famine during the 1840s.

When the Great Depression hit U.S. hard starting 1929, more than 12 million Americans found themselves without work. Because of this, many organizations opened their version of soup kitchens to help struggling families. Bread and other pastries were also served, in addition to the soup.

Until now, the soup kitchen concept has been embraced by different philanthropists all over the globe. They have even expanded by offering additional services or providing other types of food.

Real estate maven Sammy Zherka is involved in different humanitarian causes, including raising money for the homeless, contributing to soup kitchens, and lending a helping hand to the nonprofit Toys for Tots. Read more about Mr. Zherka here.

Customer service: A driver for success in the real estate industry

posted Dec 27, 2017, 2:06 AM by Sam Zherka   [ updated Dec 27, 2017, 2:12 AM ]

Many say that the foundation of the real estate industry is customer service – majority of real estate transactions consist of interaction or communication among people. Without delivering exceptional service, potential customers might be dissuaded from doing business with real estate professionals or companies – and one-time clients might avoid repeat transactions with them. 

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Much like in other fields, to drive in sales, a business has to find or create loyal customers, build up word-of-mouth marketing (on top of other marketing means), establish an excellent brand following, and more. Customer service plays a huge role in ensuring these steps are done. 

There are several ways to improve customer service in real estate, such as the following: 

  • Quick response: Consumers nowadays have less patience than before; there are even customer service experts who state that customers perceive a few minutes of waiting as an hour. Real estate businesses should then make sure that measures are made to quicken response time. 

  • Anticipation of customer requirements: It is not enough to just respond to customers. Real estate businesses should also anticipate what the customer needs as this would make them feel valued and important. Some of the best ways to do this are to practice empathy, always be engaged in communicating with clients, and research. 

  • Appreciation: A business cannot run without customers; thus, customer relations employees should always express their appreciation for clients. Even a simple thank-you note can make a great impression on customers. 
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Since he closed his first deal when he was 17 years old, Sammy Zherka has been passionate about real estate investment. He has established exceptional relationships with customers, partners, lenders, and other people in the industry. Learn more about Mr. Zherka here.

Influential Entrepreneurs of the 20th and 21st Century: Part 2

posted Nov 14, 2017, 1:15 AM by Sam Zherka   [ updated Nov 14, 2017, 1:15 AM ]

As seen in the first installment of this blog, success comes in all shapes and sizes. From college dropouts to those with PhDs, the ability to become an entrepreneur has no restrictions. Check out a few more influencers that are admirable to many.

Richard Branson

The Virgin Group founder is well-known around the world for creating an empire in various industries that impact all areas of the world. Virgin now owns over 350 companies within technology, transportation, and entertainment industries. As the main provider of train travel in the UK, Branson’s visionary work helps the world as we know it function with ease. From the music around us to the way we are transported, Virgin is a company that supports the backbone of the world of business. With all of his success, he has remained humble and accepting of all people in our world. In his most recent endeavor, Branson hopes to be a pioneer in the intergalactic tourism industry with Virgin Galactica.

Jeff Bezos

This influencer is another instance where many people don’t know his name but they have likely used his company more than once. If you have yet to hop on the Amazon bandwagon, I highly suggest you try it sooner than later. Bezos had a simple vision of selling books online while driving across country. After getting investments, took off and became a huge provider of quick service and affordability. Today, Bezos is in close competition with Bill Gates for highest worth individual. Amazon is now involved in almost every industry out there from groceries to technology and there is no sign of them slowing down anytime soon.

Elon Musk

A new face to the entrepreneurial game is the man behind the first self-driving car. CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk has made a name for himself in various aspects of the technology industry over the past 10 years. In addition to his work with Tesla he has also founded Space X, a rocket company which is forecasted to change the way that space travel is approached. Musk’s impact on technology is bound to continue over the years and will likely be a pioneer for innovations beyond our wildest imagination.

These entrepreneurs have helped to influence many aspects of our daily lives. Technology, food, travel, and shopping have all been drastically improved and adapted thanks to these great minds. Hopefully, their stories and success can help motivate any aspiring entrepreneurs out there!

Sammy Zherka has traveled a long road to success in building real estate portfolios totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in value. This Bronx native has eight children, five boys and three girls, including six-year old quadruplet boys. He continues to live the legacy of his parents, Albanian refugees who have survived tyranny, oppression and discrimination. For similar articles, visit this blog.

Upcoming Development Projects That Will Transform New York City

posted Oct 22, 2017, 5:37 AM by Sam Zherka   [ updated Oct 22, 2017, 5:38 AM ]

To further improve the quality of life in one of the world’s most famed cities, a number of infrastructure and development projects are ongoing in New York. Here are some of the most notable ones, certain to drive both the Big Apple’s economy, real estate industry, and tourism in the next 20 years.

Essex Crossing

This residential area located on Manhattan's Lower East Side will showcase 1,000 apartments available for various income classes. Interesting amenities in this $1.1 billion development are the Regal movie theater, a bowling alley, and a street market. Construction of Essex Crossing should be done by 2024.

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Pacific Park

Pacific Park, formerly known as Atlantic Yards, is located in Prospects Heights, Brooklyn. It’s a $6 billion housing project that will feature 6,430 new apartments, an eight-acre park, and new retail shops. The project is expected to be completed by 2025, but it’s already drawing in lots of visitors for having the world's tallest modular apartment building, which opened in November 2016.

Cornell Tech Campus

This Ivy League school is set to open a new campus that should encompass most of NYC's Roosevelt Island. The development costs about $2 million and will feature new dorms, classroom buildings, offices, and a hotel.

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World Trade Center Site

As of January this year, 1 World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center, 7 World Trade Center, a transit hub, the 9/11 memorial and museum, a mall, and a park have been completed on the site of the September 11 attacks. It’s a 16-acre site that will feature two more towers, a small church, and a performing arts center when construction is finished in 2020.

Born in the Bronx to Albanian immigrant parents Sammy Zherka has lived through many hardships in his lifetime. Now he is an accomplished businessman in the real estate business. More on Sammy’s work and interests here.

Emerging Real Estate Trends In 2017

posted Sep 15, 2017, 6:27 AM by Sam Zherka

Real estate is a booming industry, particularly as the world gets more linked up via the internet.Many financial advisors would recommend investing in the industry, provided a careful study and understanding on the investor’s part of the factors that affect its growth. Listed below are the current trends that make real estate an increasingly viable option for your hard-earned capital.


The introduction of optionality

This basically means that a single property investment can now have multiple values or functions. Investors need not be tied down to keeping a rented space solely as a living area. Younger entrepreneurs and millennials are not attracted to being “housed” so soon. It would do owners is to let these spaces double as work areas or small offices, especially for multi family tenants.

Real estate is now friendlier to small developers

Small developers now have a bigger room to maneuver. As big businesses deal with stricter credit availability, smaller real estate businesses are now shifting their focus to older neighborhoods and semi- niche markets that bigger companies are not interested in. They are key to enhancing more property types, thus allowing access and affordability for more people.


The 'internet of things'

Everything is becoming intertwined. Just in 2016, 10 billion devices were plugged into the internet, and the estimate is that the number of people online will swell to about 34 billion people worldwide. And it’s not just about gadgets and computers; as technology continues to develop, cities will become more efficient in terms of traffic devices, parking meters, CCTVs, etc. These surrounding quality-of-life changes will drive up real estate values.

Sammy Zherka is a businessman and humanitarian who has mastered the art of creating value in commercial property and multi-family residential properties. He has a keen ability to tap upside potentials through renovations, capital improvements, and life enhancing amenities. More on his work and advocacies here.

How To Find Motivation When Things Aren’t Going Well

posted Aug 7, 2017, 3:10 AM by Sam Zherka   [ updated Aug 7, 2017, 3:10 AM ]

Staying motivated while things look bleak can be a difficult thing to do. However it is important that you continue to feel encouraged in order to be successful and pull yourself out of the hole you are currently in, but certainly won’t be in forever as long as you stay motivated and have your goals on your mind.

Focus On The Positive

Take a look at what is working out in your life right now. What are three things good that happened today? When things are going wrong it is important to focus on positives to keep you motivated in your career. Focusing on the positive will get you excited to keep going even if things aren’t necessarily going your way. It is easy to narrow in on things that are going wrong in your life and what is stressing you out. Keeping a list of these things will give you something to look back on when you need an extra spark of motivation one day.

Pick A Goal

When things aren’t working out or going well it can be easy to get off track and have a million things on your mind. Instead of being scattered, focus on one goal that you have and the steps you need to take to achieve it. Often, people are discouraged by financial woes or full-on resigned to a fate that society told them is the only path they can take. However, everyone has unlimited potential, they just need to harness it. Once you work towards and achieve the first goal that you laid out, you will continue to gain confidence and be motivated towards further success. Never lose sight of your dreams, even when things aren’t working out at the moment.

Lean On Others

When something isn’t going well, it is okay to ask for help or advice from people. Remember, everyone has been there and you shouldn’t feel ashamed to reach out to people you know or a mentor. When I was growing up I would draw inspiration from my father, who moved here from Albania and worked various maintenance jobs. Even though it wasn’t his dream job, he showed up every day motivated to be the best at what he was doing at the moment, which is something I continued to stay inspired by today.

Achieving your dreams isn’t always going to be a steady uphill victory, you are going to experience ups and downs, as is life. It is important to stay motivated during these times and remember that you can reclaim your life and future at any time.

What People Need to Know Before Investing in Commercial Real Estate

posted Jul 31, 2017, 3:37 AM by Sam Zherka   [ updated Jul 31, 2017, 3:37 AM ]

Given the magnitude of the deal, the numbers involved, and the paperwork and money at play, one should approach commercial real estate investment with utmost caution.  A misstep could be disastrous.  Here are a few things investors need to know before buying commercial real estate.

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Investors need to time the buy well.

When is it the right time to buy real estate?  To the casual observer, investing in commercial property during a down market would seem like a bad idea.  Veteran investors, however, know better.  They know that a down market is the time to take advantage of the lower prices.  They know that in commercial real estate, crisis creates opportunities.  

Investors need to learn from the veterans.

Picking up from the previous item, younger investors should pay close attention to seasoned investors.  Not only will the younger generation gain knowledge only experience can provide, but newer investors may also adopt a mindset that exudes confidence and decisiveness.

Investors should know real estate from the inside out.

Real estate has a lot of ins and outs and is very detailed.  Younger investors should take the time to study, really study, the finer points in real estate investment.  For example, not knowing the difference between commercial and residential real estate can be catastrophic.

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Sammy Zherka is a successful real estate investor, developer, and consultant with more than 30 years of experience in the field.  Learn more about him and what he does by subscribing to this Twitter page.

How the hard life can bring out the best in an individual

posted Jul 11, 2017, 6:35 AM by Sam Zherka   [ updated Jul 11, 2017, 6:36 AM ]

The world doesn’t bend over backwards for anyone. In more than a few places, it becomes a space for conflict to become the norm. Many individuals have suffered the hard life. There are some who have succumbed to the ills. However, there are quite a few who have lived through the horrors to become better individuals. 

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For instance, it can be one of the toughest environments to be in, where blatant use of addictive substances is the norm. Education is not even a priority. People are starving, and they are forced to steal in order to survive. However, the successful individuals who strive and seem to see adversity as the opportunity to overcome huge challenges. 

And there are also some who see America as the land of the free, the land of opportunity. People from outside take their chances and come to America, hoping that they will get jobs. However, many times in the past, this has proven to be far from a walk in the park. Immigrants get measly pay, and are even discriminated. 

The hard life is no joke. People live through external forces that are designed to break a human being. However, these forces are also what inspires such individuals to tell themselves and the rest of the world that they will not give in, and that someday, they will make a success story out of their lives. 

For those of them who actually accomplish this, they turn into leaders who wish to inspire those whom they see their past selves in. This is the essence of the kind of philanthropy that is inspired to give back. 

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Sam Zherka has lived through many hardships in his lifetime. Now he is an accomplished businessman in the real estate business. For more on Sam’s work, please visit this page.

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