Local builder builds reputation on service

Q and A with Kenneth Dulgarian
Q and A with Kenneth Dulgarian

Ken Dulgarian on-site. /DULGARIAN PROPERTIESKen Dulgarian, President of Dulgarian Properties, the well-known Rhode Island real estate developer, is the owner of the Avon Cinema on the East Side of Providence and many premier properties. In fact, his latest venture, on Pitman Street on the East Side, is called The Premiere Apartments. One of the largest local private construction projects since the latest recession, The Premiere Apartments created about 300 jobs. Ken was interviewed by The Jewish Voice by phone and email. Excerpts follow:

Q. Tell us a bit about your roots.

A. I am the youngest of four children. I have two older brothers and a twin sister. Both my parents were positive and powerful influences on my upbringing. They taught us the importance of hard work and respect. Both of which I conduct myself to this day.

Q.  My first memory of you is from 1995 at your Avon Cinema on Thayer Street. You generously treated the entire Nathan Bishop school (I was an English teacher there) to a showing of “Hoop Dreams.” Giving, giving back, is one of the main Jewish principles – tzedakkah. The other being tikkun olam – making the world a better place. You seem to embrace these twin tenets, quietly, without blowing your own horn.

A. It has always been important to me to give of myself, if possible, without much fanfare. I truly cherish my community, so if there is ever a time when I can offer any assistance to make it a better place, I will do so.

We’ve also had kids to the theater from Meeting Street School, John Hope Settlement House, the Providence Recreation League and others.This is something that my wife and I have required of our three children as well. We are incredibly proud of their empathy towards others and their desire to “do the right thing.” The greatest gift to myself is doing for others anonymously.

Q. How did you get involved in the real estate business? Had it been a family business

A. Every month, my folks took me, from a young age, to New York to visit my grandparents. I was always in fascination of that city’s architecture, massing, density and height of its real estate structures.

Q. What was the first property you bought?  Do you still own it?

A. I worked for minimum wage and bought my first property at 19. It was on Fourth Street, off Hope Street, on the East Side. I sold it years ago.

Q. You have a great reputation as a landlord. In fact, my good friend, Sylvia Denhoff, often sings your praises. How did you develop that attitude of pleasing your customer?

A. This attribute is what I believe sets me apart from other property owners. My tenants truly are the most important aspect of my business success. I appreciate them and want them to feel, on a daily basis, that they have made the correct decision to live in a Dulgarian property.

I was raised in a household where customer service was the number one priority when running a successful business. I never waivered from that mindset and it is that way of thinking that continues to drive me today. My greatest joy is when my tenant is pleased with their timely requests and giving them peace of mind. I am blessed to be part of a team that doesn’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. I am grateful for all those who have worked with me for 20 to 35 years to have the same goal – make the client happy, our mantra is ‘do it now’ – not wait till morning on requests from our family of residences.

Q. Assuming The Premier is successful, will you replicate it elsewhere?

A. Definitely!

Q. Any other “previews of coming attractions” on the Dulgarian drawing board?

A. Always! But you will have to wait and see!

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve received? From whom?

A. My first grade teacher at Henry Barnard school in Providence, Florence Roberts, Governor Roberts’ sister-in-law and Judge Roberts’ wife. invited me for dinner at their family home. She told me I had goodness – don’t ever change.

My late father taught me at an early age that success is not using emotion in business, that character is measured by the hammer and fire not the soft easy way.

Q. Anything else you feel our readers would like to know?

A. It has been, and will continue to be, an honor to be able to provide superior housing and service to the wonderfully gracious people of Rhode Island. I hope to be doing it for a long time to come.

In its truest form, service comes from the heart. It is a team of service professionals inspired to be naturally helpful, empowered to graciously anticipate. Gestures of service you deserve to experience, unobtrusively and with a warm and caring manner.

For more information on The Premiere Apartments, or other Dulgarian Properties, Call Ken Dulgarian at 421-0021 or visit premiereprov.com.

This is one of a series of business profiles about local businesses, some of which advertise in The Jewish Voice.