IRV BARR – Investor & Operational Advisor
Irv – the original “Mr. Barr” – is a business operator, company acquirer, and real estate investor. Since opening his first currency exchange in Chicago in the early 1950s, Irv has grown Barr Management Ltd. into one of the largest operators of currency exchanges in the Chicago area with over 40 locations.
Other Chicago-based operations include business lending, consumer loans, and commercial real estate. Since he acquired the Coral Castle Museum in 1980, he and his wife Irene have even been involved in the tourism business!
While he has had tremendous success on his own, Irv’s biggest “hits” have come from combining forces. Along with his longtime California-based business partner and friend,Fred Kunik, Irv has expanded his ventures beyond currency exchanges to include an array of financial services businesses and real estate holdings. Beginning with founding Continental Currency Services to provide currency exchange services to California customers, they’ve branched out well beyond their initial plans. Today, they are majority owners of AFEX and GPS Capital Markets, two major international payments and risk management providers, as well as Sectran Security, an armored transfer and cash management company. Previously, they owned Ria, which became the third-largest global money transfer company prior to being sold to Euronet Worldwide (NASDAQ: EEFT) in 2006. The sale of Ria enabled the two partners to substantially expand their real estate ventures, supercharging the growth of their property management firm, BK&S, to now own over a dozen West Coast commercial retail properties.
When he’s not working on the latest deal or managing his stores, Irv enjoys reading the newspaper and spending time with his family. He and Irene are active supporters of the arts – they’re founding donors to PAMM – and education – they’ve provided for multiple high-achieving, low-income students to receive an MIT education.