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Justin Sidell: A Neighborhood Guy with a Neighborhood Pie

By John Grossi

Photo by Monique Kuhlman



This holiday season, realtors all over town will be delivering small gifts as a token of appreciation to their clients and network. An end-of-year “thank you” for business or referrals. Justin Sidell will be taking a slightly different approach. His “thank-you” gesture isn’t just for individual people. It’s for the entire neighborhood.


While Justin has become a perennial top-seller in all of 90815 and Long Beach, his presence in the specific tract of Los Altos where he lives goes far beyond dropping flyers on porches a few times a year. Between Clark, Stearns, Bellflower, and Atherton, almost EVERYONE knows Justin and has asked him something at some point. Maybe about real estate, maybe about the power being out, or what new restaurant is going in, or what’s happening with Sears across the street, or maybe more info about the next neighborhood event he’s throwing.


Each day, as Justin walks his dog, Sadie, through the windy streets of his Los Altos tract, he is a living and breathing source of the latest neighborhood news, inside scoops, and moreover, a helping hand. In Los Altos, if you need a local resource, or just help moving a heavy item to the curb… you call Justin.


I DON’T JUST SELL HERE, I LIVE HERE

When Justin bought his first home on Fidler in 2013, he noticed that all the real estate flyers and listings in his new neighborhood were from realtors who didn’t actually live in his tract. He thought about that fact, and about the real estate license he had (but wasn’t really using), and decided that he wanted to be a real estate agent who not only said he cared about the neighborhood, but actually meant it.


His slogan, “I don’t just sell here, I live here” is a mission statement as much as it is his marketing line. It took him almost two years to get his first listing in the tract. But since then, no one has sold more homes in his neighborhood than him. And definitely, no one knows more of their neighbors than Justin.


“It’s funny, because these days a simple walk with my dog around the neighborhood takes like an hour at least,” says Justin laughing.

Justin and wife Jessica have organized bike parades, Santa Claus visits, Valentine’s drop-offs, and more in their Los Altos tract. During COVID, Justin wasn’t just organizing safe ways to celebrate holidays…. such as offering Halloween goodie bags for those not trick-or-treating, but he also brought the WE LOVE LB trolley through the streets of Los Altos to deliver music over the summer. And during the first month of the pandemic, he even offered grocery shopping services to the older residents in the neighborhood.

“Justin’s definitely your first call if you’ve lost your dog,” says Phil, who is one of his neighbors and a friend. “He knows everything going on. What people here understand is how much he truly cares about this neighborhood and the people in it. He’s not just saying that.”


Phil met Justin after he was referred to him by a Los Altos neighbor who knew that Phil’s family was looking to move to Justin’s tract. “I met Justin solely because of a real estate transaction. But since I’ve moved here, I consider him one of my best friends. Everything he does is genuine,” said Phil.

THANKSGIVING PIES

Beyond anything else he’s done for the neighborhood, the Thanksgiving Pie giveaways remain Justin’s trademark in Los Altos. Each November, every home in his tract gets a note on the door asking if they would like a Thanksgiving pie… no strings attached.

Hundreds participate in taking him up on the offer. Whether it’s because they don’t have family to celebrate with, are hosting a big party and could use help with the dessert, or maybe they’re giving the pie to someone else in need… the Thanksgiving Pies (and the visit from Justin that comes with it) are something people look forward to each year!

“Around Thanksgiving I feel I need to remember just how much this neighborhood has given me, and give thanks to everyone,” says Justin. “The way this neighborhood works, there are so many leads on homes I get just through conversations with the entire block. I don’t know how else I can thank everyone that lives here for everything they do for me, other than offering some sort of token of appreciation to the entire neighborhood.”


Justin Sidell is a great example of how one man can make an incredible impact in Long Beach, starting on his own block, when committed to filling just what his neighborhood needs.

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