Billboard in the Jittery Joe’s parking lot at the intersection of S. Lumpkin Street and S. Milledge Avenue in Athens taken April 26. With the standard pose of Reign Streiter, the billboard promotes Wire Park, a new venture in Oconee County for which Streiter is the sales agent. (Photo/Olyn Gee)

When he got into real estate sales in the 2000s, Streiter used sports radio and full-page newspaper ads to attract customers, he said. Then, he devised a method to get discount prices on billboards by allowing the billboard company to randomly place his advertisements on billboards that were temporarily empty. 

By 2017, Streiter had been an award-winning real estate salesperson for over a decade. Then, he took a risk and started Give Back Real Estate. All sales agents at the company must donate 10% of their commissions to Athens area nonprofits. By April 2021, Give Back had donated over $600,000 to local organizations. 

Then, in response to the pandemic, Streiter started delivering sandwiches to people in need every Thursday.

 Why It’s Newsworthy: With the appearance of 20 new billboards promoting Wire Park, a development in Oconee County, there is renewed interest in Reign Streiter.  

 

A Life-Changing Mix-Up

After graduating from the University of Georgia, Streiter taught English and coached at Clarke Central High School for 10 years. He enjoyed it, but did not make much money, he said. 

Streiter supplemented his teacher’s salary by purchasing used cars at an auction in Orlando and then selling them in Athens. His goal was to buy a car for $6-8,000 and sell it for about $10,000. If he could clear at least $1,000 on each car and sell 15-20 cars a year, he could increase his teaching income by 50%, he said.

Because of a mix-up at his wife’s job, Streiter quit his teaching job and prepared to move to Florida. Then, the move was called off. Streiter’s old job had been filled, and he had to find a new career.

When he decided to get into real estate, Streiter traded his inventory of four used cars to a friend and fellow dealer for a used Lexus, with large tires, tinted windows and impressive rims. He said, “And so then I was the new agent driving around in this fancy Lexus. It was, yeah, it’s 10 years old, but it looked good.” 

The billboards and luxury cars he drives seem to say: Look at me!

Streiter disagrees.

I’m not a big ‘look at me’ type of person. But I realized that marketing requires you to be out there.”

Levi Brooks has worked with Streiter for about 10 years.  “He is, it’s funny because he’s on the billboards, but he is about the most humble person I know, you know, it’s just a quiet confidence,” Brooks said.

“He’s incredible with people …  he makes you feel like you’re the most important person at that moment,” Brooks said. “I mean, he knows who you are. He remembers things about you.”

His Company Gives Back

In 2017, Streiter attended an awards ceremony, and a speaker encouraged the audience members to give back. Streiter was disappointed when he realized the speaker meant giving to lobbyists for the real estate industry.

The next day, Streiter planned his next venture — starting Give Back Real Estate. While many companies donate to nonprofits, Streiter wanted Give Back to do more.

“We didn’t just once a year, put on a T-shirt and take a picture and go volunteer. Instead, I want it to be an everyday thing for our company.”

The company and each sales agent donates 10% of each commission to a local nonprofit. Since its founding in 2017, Give Back has donated over $600,000 to local nonprofits.

Streiter and the Give Back agents let the client choose the nonprofit and encourage the client to attend the donation ceremony.  “It also invests the client into the nonprofit, you know what I mean, mentally and emotionally. So that’s a big win, in my opinion,” Streiter said. 

Streiter presented a check for $1,275 to the nonprofit ESP, Extra Special People, in Watkinsville, Georgia, on a Monday in April. The nonprofit helps individuals with disabilities live a fuller life. 

For the presentation ceremony, Streiter stood on the artificial turf and talked to the staff and young people. He presented an oversized check but focused on the client — the Summers family — and ESP. 

Georgui Kassaev works as an agent at Give Back Real Estate. “Everything he tries, everything he does is to give,” Kassaev said.  “He tries to help people out in his circle that are striving to better themselves.”

Justin Woodall, the founder of the Woodall Realty Group, worked with Streiter when Streiter was new in real estate. Woodall said Streiter’s billboards may give the impression that he is cocky, but Streiter is actually “a good guy.”

1,000 Sandwich Thursday

When COVID-19 hit last year, Streiter realized that many people in Athens were hurting financially. His family and neighbors made sandwiches on Wednesday nights, and he delivered them to people in need on Thursdays. 

He leaves his car in the neighborhood common area with the doors unlocked every Thursday morning so his neighbors can drop off their sandwiches, he said. The sandwich type can be peanut butter and jelly or cold cuts — it depends on what the neighborhood volunteers choose. Streiter refers to the project as 1,000 Sandwich Thursday.

When he discussed helping others, Streiter chose his words carefully and often paused between sentences. He grew up in a giving family, he said. “We always just had people coming in out of our lives who needed a helping hand.”

He drove his Porsche with a camouflage wrap — one of the eight vehicles he owns.

A regular weekly drop off is at the Boys and Girls Club of Athens. Streiter said that the children can take sandwiches home to share with their family. “One thing with the sandwiches is, we don’t ask any questions,” Streiter said.

In April, Reign Streiter carried food into the Boys & Girls Club of Athens. In response to the pandemic, Streiter delivered sandwiches to people and organizations in need. (Photo/Olyn Gee)

Dedra Evans directs the Boys and Girls Club location on the eastside of Athens. In addition to sandwiches, she said Streiter brings chips, juices and crackers, so the children can have something to take home.

The children call him “the sandwich guy,” Evans said. Streiter is “for us, a little celebrity.”

Streiter drove to a vacant lot where two homeless men live near Prince Avenue. But the men were not in their chairs. Streiter took bags of sandwiches, which he placed at both their chairs. “They expect us every week, so if they’re not here, I just leave some sandwiches on their place, and they know I’ve been by,” Streiter said.

Streiter knew the men by name and gave a detailed account of how one of the men lost his income because of COVID-19.

Streiter stopped at a small row of apartments run by the Acceptance Recovery Center. The apartments house “folks that are fighting their way back from addiction,” he said. He has been coming to the apartments for 13 months.

“It’s just a sandwich. But it means more to them, I think, that we’re taking the time to care about them,” Streiter said. “I think it’s good for them. It’s good for us.”

When Streiter delivers sandwiches, sometimes people ask, “who made these sandwiches?” 

Streiter answers, “Well, people that care about you.” 

Olyn Gee is a fourth-year student in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

 

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  • Show Comments (2)

  • esmeralda

    THANK YOU.
    WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

  • Bob Streiter

    Reign Streiter is a man with a heart that gives unselfishly to those in need.
    He has always been that way and I have always admired him for his “Give Back” philosophy in life.
    I love this nephew of mine – so proud of him.

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