When James Vakrinos started Home AU Real Estate some three years ago, it was always with the intention of returning to Port. Having worked for Westpoint selling Bay Street’s Bayview and Bayshore developments off the plan as an enthusiastic 21-year-old, James, a Licensed Real Estate Agent, has property and investment running through his veins. As he explained “I’ve always done things a little bit differently, I’ve never wanted to be one of the pack.”
To that end, the inconspicuous Home AU is tucked away in a neatly outfitted office at the Beach end of Stokes Street. “We’re not here to do what our competitors do – there are plenty of them. We do what we do best, and that’s service a loyal base of developers, investors and vendors who appreciate the attention we can offer.” Having grown up alongside many of his early investors, James still counts many of those Bayview and Bayshore purchasers as clients. “We’ve managed their investments, helped them acquire more, and moved with them as the market has changed.”
With a burgeoning business and now role as the President of the Port Melbourne Sharks Soccer Club, James might be short on time, but not on passion. Having grown up close to the area, James played with the national youth league of the Sharks, before hanging up the boots to pursue his professional aspirations. But his years at the club were marked by dating a local Port Melbourne girl whose dad was also the Sharks’ President. Fast forward what seems a lifetime, and James has married that girl, and returned to the club that has never been far from his heart. “I love the sport, I love the club and I love the opportunities it’s giving young kids, including my own.”
With 266 junior members and a 45 strong senior team, the club’s activities are a seven day a week operation. With training five days a week, and games on both Saturdays and Sundays, the Sharks are in the National Premier League with aspirations to achieve more. Formed in
1968/69 by Greek immigrants, 2018 will see the club celebrate 50 years of continuous operation and the first time in the club’s history that they’ve qualified for the national round of 32 in the FFA cup. “It’s a massive achievement by any standard, but the fact that we continue to thrive with what are pretty limited amenities, is a testament to the club’s spirit.” Promoted to the Victorian Premier League in 1994, the club has won two minor premierships and has seen five national league players and two Socceroos ascend from their ranks.
With a strong focus on sponsorship, James initiated a raffled sponsorship drive in 2017 that enabled the club to vie for sponsorship dollars in an increasingly competitive market. A simple but innovative idea, the raffle allowed the club to both grow ground level support and awareness of the club, while continuing to drive a program of excellence for members.
But James’ commitment to the club also extends to supporting a board of volunteers, a full time Technical Director, a licensed coaching staff of around 20, and a host of club volunteers who keep the club alive. Committed to the development of football and developing players of the future, James is now focussed on building the club’s female player base. With only two pitches currently available, the club is desperate to extend their facilities and reach girls and young women looking to enjoy the game into adulthood. “We have so many touch points with young girls through our school outreach and holiday programs, but we can’t yet provide teams for girls aged over 11 years. That just has to change.”
So with the future looking bright for both Home AU and the Sharks, James has a lot of work to do. But he’s up for the challenge. Home AU is set to redefine how people see and use real estate services, and the Sharks will take on the challenge of gaining an additional pitch to grow its membership for girls and young women.
If you’re looking to get involved in soccer at a player, supporter or volunteer level, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Home AU Real Estate
18 Stokes Street