John J. Prost - Founder
John Prost was a high school teacher at Kimball High School in Royal Oak, Michigan. Passionate about the neighborhood, he decided to invest in real estate. He fell in love with Virginia Avenue, a quiet street lined with mature trees and within walking distance of downtown Royal Oak. He began buying apartment buildings in the mid 1970's with his first building, a 4-unit apartment on Virginia Avenue in downtown Royal Oak. He soon bought two other properties on Virginia Avenue; this is how the Prost family came up with the name Virginia Avenue Apartments. Over the years, John acquired other properties in the Royal Oak and Ferndale area. He stressed the importance of re-investing most of the business' money back into the properties. This was so he could continually increase property values, attracting new tenants who appreciated the community in the same way he did.
Another area Mr. Prost excelled at was technology. When new tenants arrived in the area, he would give each a free GPS device. This was in the late 1980's before they were included standard with every mobile phone. He also made sure all multi-unit properties featured wireless internet. His son Brian worked with him occasionally, especially over the last two years before his un-timely death. When John passed, his son Brian took the reins of the business, continuing the same quality and level of service his father had started. One of Brian's first items of official business was to boost the internet signal in the properties to Comcast Extreme, which is the fastest in the area market. This service is still free with every rental.
Brian E. Prost - President
Brian grew up in Warren, Michigan and has been helping his father with the apartments since he was a young boy. To this day he has fond memories of being six years old and raking the fallen leaves in front of the homes. Over supper or on father-son outings, John would teach Brian everything there was to know about the family business. His biggest piece of advice for the younger Prost? “Always remember that every tenant is your boss.” Brian noticed his father consistently responded to tenants in a timely manner, making sure their needs were taken care of as expediently as possible. At an early age, Brian embraced this same philosophy and would even use it to begin his own career and family on the west coast.
After school, Brian became a money manager, accepting a position with Merrill Lynch in Beverly Hills, California. After becoming Vice-President of Investments, Brian wrapped up his 25-year career by working with Peter Schiff and Euro Pacific Capital in Newport Beach, California. When his father passed away in September of 2013, Brian moved his family to Oakland County, Michigan to manage the business full time. Brian now lives with his wife Julie, and two boys, Brian Jr. and Nicholas. The youngest Prosts love exploring Michigan, spending time at Mackinac Island, and falling in love with the beautiful neighborhoods their father and grandfather enjoyed so much. His boys also love to write code for computer games and learn about robotics.
Today, Brian employs the same exceptional quality of care his father provided to each and every tenant since acquiring that first 4-unit apartment on Virginia Avenue. As for the rest of the Prost family, 40 years of excellence is only the beginning of a remarkable journey that combines a love of family and community.