I like to reflect every now and then on where I am at in life and where I have been. It’s been 6 years since I sat on a pastor’s retreat with Jason Goins and started this roller coaster. I never thought that from the beginning of this ride that Mantle would be where it is today. It’s taken a ton of energy, time, and people to help us grow.
From the very beginning, my previous boss Tracey Shrouder helped me as much as possible. I can still remember the first deal done under Mantle. She had to be my bulldog and tell the listing agent that I did in fact start my own company and the contract should be under the Mantle name.
I always pictured that Mantle would make an impact on the real estate world but also in our community. I was blessed from the beginning to have Josh Tackett come on and be a superstar agent. That allowed me to start figuring out the management end of things (still working on that). It was an amazing blessing to not be the front man of the show. I can still remember people thinking that Josh and Bonnie were married because I was non-existent.
Even though Bonnie knew upfront that starting a company with just the two of us would be difficult, she trusted me. It would have been nice in some aspects to have a business partner outside of my marriage to break the ties and bounce ideas off of but we didn’t have that option.
We leaned on the success of other small business owners. Sometimes it was Tracey and her wealth of real estate knowledge. Sometimes it was Jack Wingate who owns AllChoice Insurance for technology and business development ideas. There were countless conversations with my dad on employee management. And lastly tons of prayers from my mom and my at the time, all-star agent’s mom, Kandi Tackett. Kandi knew the stresses of small business since Josh’s family has owned Dusina’s Pizza since 1989. I am pretty sure she never stopped praying for us. We couldn’t have done it without all of these people.
18 months into the creation of Mantle, “the Josh Tackett connection” (he knows everyone in Welcome) found the Welcome office for a steal of a deal. It was the perfect location for Mantle but the property was less than ideal. It was tiny, had termites, and it flooded every time it rained. But, we pinched pennies and remodeled that turd into what we have today.
We (OK just me) didn’t turn the heat on unless we had someone coming by the office. I can still remember a client of mine walked in unexpectedly and could see her breath.
When we first started, Josh Tackett and Ashley Weitzel were the first two that believed in me. We sat around one huge desk that had no business being in our office.
I know that most people assumed that Mantle had backers and we were probably just playing with Pop’s money. This wasn’t the case. Bonnie had enough faith in me and Mantle to get a home equity line of credit (thanks Alyson Hill, you were just as nuts as myself) on our house to start this company.
We couldn’t afford to concrete the parking lot for a few years but we just dealt with it. After a couple of years, I was so busy dealing with the business side of real estate and still trying to sell homes. Bonnie decided to go from my catch-all, while still teaching, (Sorry to all those kids that didn’t have her full attention) to becoming a full-time agent. This doesn’t always make for the best of situations, but we have made it work.
Over the years a lot has changed, we have added two more locations to help our expanding business. Our Uptown office has allowed us to have more space to train agents instead of cramming 10-15 people in a tight conference room on Tuesday mornings. Last year we were blessed with the opening of our Summerfield office due to our footprint expanding to the Forsyth & Guilford County real estate markets.
I used to just dream of making a living in the real estate industry and now we are one of the largest privately-owned real estate agencies in the Triad. It’s a great feeling knowing that all of the blood, sweat, and tears of this small business has been paying off.
While we aren’t satisfied with where we are, it’s good to look back and realize that even on the bad days, 6 years ago I would give up my right arm for these problems. I know that agents have come and gone. I wish them all the best.
I know that Mantle isn’t for everyone and the real estate market is so large that we can all have a piece of the pie. I know that even with Josh moving to EXP Realty, we all can still be one big family. We call our people the Mantle Mafia and everyone knows once you are in the Mafia, you are in. Even just a few months ago, I had one previous agent come in to ask me some questions, while another previous agent called me to do the same. I had the one in the office answer the call from the other! We all got a laugh.
We are super grateful for all of the agents we have had and still have. We have learned from each and every agent. We will continue to grow, and we will continue to learn. Lastly, I want to thank all of our friends and family for their support over the last six years. We couldn’t have taken this little mom and pop company to the next level without all of you. I also want to thank my wife, Bonnie. I know we had the opportunity to have other partners involved but you believed in my dream enough to jump in feet first when they weren’t quite ready. Thank you and I love you.
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