A leading Columbus real-estate company said Friday that one of its longtime partners has stepped aside from day-to-day leadership, selling his ownership to the remaining two top executives. But don’t expect a name change anytime soon for what has become a popular brand.
Coldwell Banker — Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Davis, with offices at 5670 Whitesville Road in Columbus, said Doug Duncan and Steve Davis have purchased Dan Parker’s shares in the firm.
The transaction was completed three weeks ago, the 76-year-old Parker said Friday, stressing that he has no plans of retiring. Instead, he will serve as a sales and operations consultant to the company, which dates to the 1987 founding of Kennon and Parker Realtors by Parker and Kelsey Kennon.
“We actually closed the transaction on June 30, and I’ll have to say I felt a bit melancholy that day,” Parker said. “We announced to the company yesterday the news of my situation and I had them repeat to me two times: ‘He’s not retiring.’ ... I’m going to be working every day. I’m just not an owner of the company any longer.”
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Terms of the buyout of Parker’s shares were not disclosed. But the company did say it also purchased ownership from Kennon earlier this year, with Parker saying his former partner is now working in an adjacent office building selling real-estate for the Coldwell Banker affiliate.
In a related move, the real-estate firm with about 140 licensed agents said that Paul Fincher has been hired as director of operations, a newly created position. Fincher has been selling real estate with business partner Garrett Groce since joining Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Davis in 2012.
Fincher, 35, is a Columbus State University communications graduate who holds a master’s of science in management degree in organizational leadership from Troy University. The Columbus High School graduate also has worked previously with Aflac and Leap Wireless International.
In his new role, Fincher said Friday he will be focused on supporting the company and its real-estate agents, both younger ones and veteran top-producers. Duties also include overseeing marketing, recruiting and information technology services.
“The size and scope of the company requires a little bit more operational-managerial oversight,” he said. “So I’ll be an extra layer of support with agents and, really, my goal is to use a lot of the tools that we’ve got access to, the tools that Coldwell Banker gives us, and just help agents across the board.”
The bottom line, Fincher said, is to use business planning and other real-estate tools to reach the next generation of buyers and sellers in the Columbus-area market. It’s a very tech-savvy generation accustomed to doing much of its research online before pulling the trigger on a major purchase such as a home or vehicle.
“You have to be nimble. Competition’s changed a lot. Consumers know way more than they ever have,” Fincher said of the real-estate industry. “In a lot of ways that’s good for a real-estate agent because that makes our job (of educating people) more efficient. But on the flip side, for a consumer, nothing’s gotten less complicated. In fact, it’s gotten more complicated as far as the transaction goes.”
Thus, he said, the need to connect with a solid and intelligent real-estate company with agents and brokers who can get transactions completed minus any confusion and hassle. Fincher cited an industry statistic that 89 percent of buyers today still use a real-estate agent when buying a new or used home.
Both Fincher and Parker see the moves now being made by Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Davis as necessary and exciting for the future of the 30-year-old company. They also said there are no plans for a name change at the firm due to its branded prominence within the community already.
“We’ve been really good, but I think we’re about to kick it up a notch and we’re going to really turn some heads around in this city,” Parker said.
The current moment certainly puts an exclamation mark on the career of Parker, a University of Georgia journalism and real-estate graduate who said he served as a city editor at the Ledger-Enquirer for six months before leaving to join his father, Dan Parker Sr., full time at his Gallery of Homes real-estate company on Feb. 6, 1966.
But it would be four years later to the day that the son would mourn the loss of his father due to a heart attack at age 56. It thrust the young Parker into a tough moment of having to quickly develop leadership skills, which he did and began to grow the company to the point of its merger with Kennon in 1987.
“I was an agent for four years, and one of the guys, and the next day I was the boss,” Parker said of losing his dad. “That, of course, required a sea change for me, and I figured it out and had a lot of good folks to associate with over the years. It’s been a wonderful ride.”
Friday’s announcement marks the fourth major moment in the leadership of Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Davis. Partners Doug Duncan and Jack Key III merged with the Kennon and Parker in 1996. Key announced his retirement from the company in 2013. In 2011, Steve Davis became a partner in the firm after running his own real-estate company for 25 years.