Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Chicago Title has moved to its new location, 601 W. Yosemite Ave., Ste. #101.
Chicago Title county manager Mark Barsotti is reinvesting in the community that has supported him throughout his life.
“When times got bad in 2007 and everything just crashed, we’ve stuck it out through thick and thin,” he said. “We had competitors who were here and left to where they came from. The market comes around and they came back to Madera. We’ve been loyal.”
Barsotti, who has been with the company for 25 years, moved Chicago Title from its Schnoor Avenue at North Pointe Shopping Centers location to its new building at the corner of Yosemite Avenue and L Street (601 W. Yosemite Ave.) because it’s an investment in a community that has been home since 1893 when Chicago Title was Madera Abstract Company.
“It was an opportunity,” Barsotti said. “This lot was bare for a long time. It put us closer to the recorder’s office. It put me on the main drag in town. What made it a good little marriage was Noble was in need of space, too. They needed more space. They took the building next door. It just made sense for us.”
The move for Chicago Title is the third in 11 years. Chicago Title was on Yosemite Avenue and then moved to Schnoor in 2007.
“The building on Yosemite was a company-owned building before Fidelity Financial bought us,” Barsotti said.
While on Schnoor, Barsotti had thoughts of relocating closer to the Madera County recorder’s office and had the current location on his mind the whole time.
“I’ve always eyed this property,” he said. “The people that owned it, I went to school with. It’s owned by the Tyndals. I saw them at my son’s baseball game and asked what they were going to do with this property. They said they were going to develop it, but it wasn’t cost effective. I asked if they wanted to sell it. That sparked a conversation and that’s how it evolved.”
Barsotti, a Madera Athletic Hall of Famer, played football at Fresno State and had some NFL looks and didn’t think he would be working in the same line of work as his parents.
“Things have changed,” he said. “You don’t find so many people that have lived here, leave and come back. I have been able to keep my foot in the community. This has always been a special place for me growing up here. My mom worked for this company and my dad worked for Fidelity. I never thought I would get into this business. Boom, I transition 20 years later and find myself doing marketing for the company, became a sales manager and moving to the county manager role. It’s evolved over the past 25 years and it’s been a great marriage. I can’t complain.”
Another reason for the move was not only the proximity, but the clientele. Where they were at was more of a retail center. Now, on Yosemite, Chicago Title gets a bigger presence on Yosemite and is closer to the government center, where they make runs to all day.
“We left that location on Schnoor to a stand-alone building,” Barsotti said. “It shows our investment in our community and roots. You don’t do this thinking it’s going to be a short-term deal. This is a long-term marriage in the community. We’ve been here since 1893 and don’t plan on leaving. We’re not here just for the good times. We’ve managed to do it so we’re here to support the community through good and bad.”
Fidelity National Financial is the largest title insurer. It is the holding company to many title companies and Chicago is one of them. Madera Abstract Company opened in 1893 and handled the transfer of properties within the county. In 1923, the company merged with Security Title and Guarantee Company. Security was then purchased by Safeco Title, which was purchased by Chicago Title in 1987. Chicago Title specializes in all types of transaction including agricultural, residential, commercial, mobile home transfers and bulk sales transfers.
“The owner of the company is also the owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights,” Barsotti said. “He also owns a number of wineries. He got into the restaurant business. Whatever that guy has touched has turned to gold.”
However, Barsotti says that his move to Yosemite shows his commitment to Madera.
“It shows the community we’re here for a long time,” he said. “That’s the important factor.”