HISTORY OF HQ GROUP
2011-2012 – HQ Development LLC Creative Office Portfolio
HQ Development’s latest real estate venture goal is to put together one of the most valuable portfolios of creative office buildings in West Los Angeles. The portfolio now includes buildings on Leahy Street, Sepulveda and Jefferson Boulevard.
2009 –Toscanova Restaurant Group
The HQ Group’s most recent enterprise is the Toscanova Restaurant Group.Partnering with famed chef Agostino Sciandri, HQ opened Toscanova Restaurant at Westfield Century City in 2009. A memorable Tuscan dining experience strategically located within the affluent West Los Angeles area has seen Toscanova become very successful in a short period of time. July 2011 saw the group expand into the “fast-food” arena, opening The Juicy Bird; a rotisserie chicken, panini and salad eatery located in the food court at Westfield Century City. In 2012, following the success of the restaurant in Century City, Toscanova opened a second location in Calabasas at the Calabasas Commons, the most exclusive strip mall in the Valley.
2003/4 – HQ Development, LLC
2003/4 marked the beginning of the next phase of operations for the HQ Group.In the process of divesting the majority of its other endeavors, HQ began to shift its focus to real estate development. Its development portfolio includes a number of retail strip centers ranging in size from 50,000 to 150,000 sq. ft as well as industrial and office buildings in Southern California.
2003 – Carousels
Building on the earlier success of its Kiddie Ride enterprise, HQ was the first company to introduce the Chance Double Decker Carousel to malls across the US.With a proven track record in the industry, HQ was quickly sought out by Westfield, General Growth Properties, CBL, Macerich and others, to provide carousels for their various properties. Before selling this venture to a private equity firm in 2012, HQ was the largest owner-operator of double-decker carousels in the country, with over two million riders per annum. Download Carousel Flyer
2000 – M&M Vending Machines and Coca Cola Machines
The new millennium saw HQ’s return to the mall candy vending market it helped create. HQ introduced the new M&M candy machine and quickly became the largest vendor of these machines in the nation. At this time HQ expanded its vending operation to include various soda machines in malls across the country.Having placed over 500 M&M machines, and 1500 soda machines, HQ sold this business in 2004.
1999- Mall Gift Cards Program
In 1999, HQ identified a lucrative opportunity to capitalize on the facilitation of the transition from traditional paper gift certificates to plastic debit cards. HQ Group entered in to a strategic partnership with American Express and established the first nationwide mall gift card program. With innovative technology and unparalleled expertise, HQ built up an exclusive client base including Westfield, Taubman, CBL, Vornado, PREIT, Caruso Properties, Feldman Properties, and MGM and Harrah’s Casinos. With over $300 million worth of gift cards sold, HQ Gift Cards was acquired in 2006 by Comdata Services Inc., a division of the Ceridian Corporation.
1997 – Santa & Easter Bunny Photo Stations
Looking to expand its ancillary shopping mall services portfolio, HQ introduced seasonal Santa & Easter Bunny photo stations to 16 malls throughout the country.HQ managed and operated all activities with a staff of over 300 employees before divesting this operation to Cherry Hill Photography in 2000.
1995 – Kiddie Rides & Payphones
In 1995 HQ began installing Kiddie Rides and Payphones in regional shoppingcenters throughout North America. By the time the business was sold in 2004 to aprivate equity company, HQ was operating over 1,000 Kiddie rides and 1,500payphones.
Servicing regional and super-regional shopping malls in Southern California; HQGroup pioneered the Candy Train, the Candy Wall Unit, the Candy Carousel andTalking Gumball Machine concepts. After building up an inventory of 15,000machines, this business was sold in 1996.
Mr. Herscu, a native of Australia, graduated with a degree in economics and accounting from Monash University in Melbourne. He moved to New York and worked for Shearson Lehman Brothers in mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Herscu then formed HQ Entertainment, and began operating vending machines, eventually owning and operating 20,000 units in shopping centers and malls, along with children rides, candy machines, payphones, ATMs and soda machines. By the late 1990s, Mr.Herscu had built the largest vending company in the West Coast. Additionally, within the shopping center arena, Mr. Herscu owned and operated a Christmas and Easter photo company with sales exceeding $30 million; and built what would become the largest independent gift card company in the U.S. with sales exceeding $300 million.
Mr. Herscu owned and operated the largest double-decker carousel company in the United States, with over 2 million annual riders. All of these businesses were located in enclosed shopping malls where Mr. Herscu did business with Westfield, Macerich, General Growth Properties, Taubman, Vornado, Preit, CBL, Caruso and other well-known shopping mall developers.
Mr. Herscu formed HQ Development in 2003 and now has over five hundred thousand square feet of strip shopping centers, industrial buildings, and entitled landfor commercial projects and creative offices in West Los Angeles.
Mr. Herscu also has a restaurant chain called “Toscanova,” which are fine Italiandining restaurants in The Commons Calabasas and Westfield Century City Mall.
Jeffrey Friedmann is CEO of Looop (www.looop.com.au) a private equity venture capital group which operates numerous business ventures. Looop has ongoing interest in restaurants, manufacturing, import, retail and property development. Looop operates in South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and the USA where it maintains the company’s head office. Looop’s clients, tenants and joint venture partners include a number of well-known publicly listed companies. Jeff Friedmann is an experienced business and private equity investment analyst and has diverse experience in medium and large scale business enterprises. He maintains a strong personal involvement in the decisions of Looop and its subsidiary companies.
Leo graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona, double majoring in business management and entrepreneurship. Leo then worked for GK Development for several years, developing medical office buildings in Beverly Hills. In 2012, Leo founded Grifka Realty, a residential real estate brokerage firm. To date, Leo has brokered millions of dollars worth of real estate transactions through his brokerage firm. In addition to operating Grifka Realty, Leo was hired by HQ Development to facilitate their rapid expansion of high end creative office development in West Los Angeles.
Mr. Fred Shiffer, a native of Mexico, graduated with a degree in Justice Administration from Imperial Valley College in California. In 1991 Fred began to invest and open several food concession stands within shopping malls. Through these interests, Fred met Robert Herscu, and in 1992 they formed a partnership to develop a vending machine business that included candy dispensers, kiddie rides, soda machines, and payphones. The relationship expanded to include ATM machines and seasonal marketing ventures in shopping malls. More recently, Mr. Shiffer was part owner and operated the largest double-decker carousel company in the United States. He currently owns and operates a successful frozen yogurt chain in Southern California while also actively managing a number of retail and commercial real estate properties for the HQ Group. Mr. Shiffer has been business partners with Mr. Herscu and Mr. Friedmann for the past 20 years.
Mei Zheng, a native of China, graduated with a degree in Law from Wuhan University in Wuhan, Hubei, China. She has worked in the public and private sector in China, Japan, and the US. In 2004, she received her Accounting Certificate from UCLA. Ms. Zheng joined The HQ Group in 2005, where she works alongside Mr. Herscu on various projects. Her roles at HQ include analyzing investment opportunities and managing the Group’s finances.