George Johnson arrived in Ballard during the Great
Depression in the late 1930s, and had very little money, but lots of
ambition. He decided the only way to get anywhere was to work, work, and
more work. He took a job in a dairy from 4am to 6:30am each day, then he
would work a morning shift at a bakery, finally in the late afternoon he
would sell real estate.
George got his very first real estate license in 1935 and although he
was kept busy as a teacher at an elementary school in the day time he would
continue to sell real estate in his spare time. A year later he quit
teaching and focused full on the real estate business.
George's first real estate office in Ballard
Over the next ten years George focused totally on real
estate and established himself as a leading realtor in the area.
Inevitably, this led to George opening his very first real estate office in
1947. Since then, George has built up a solid family real estate business
that is respected both throughout the area and by his many real estate
colleagues and associates in and around the Seattle area. A no-nonsense
type of business renowned for customer care and service, and for trying to
do the impossible for its customers. A mascot (see left) had been adopted
and incorporated into the company's stationery. It simply said, "Let George
Do It," which is pretty much what the community of Ballard thought when
referring to anything that remotely involved real estate. George, who is
probably Seattle's real estate elder statesman, is still actually "doing it."
And, he is actually very good at it, too.
Back in those early days there was no Multiple Listing
Service, no Escrow companies, no House Inspections. It was simply a case of
closing the deals yourself. This is precisely what George did...closed the
deals himself. George was a founding member of the very first Listing Service in the Seattle area.
Together with a small group of other real estate companies, he formed a
"neighborhood listing service," where they pooled their information which
helped to circulate the listed properties to more people in the area. This the
very first Listing Service was born, and which has evolved into today's giant
North West Multiple Listing Service which covers the state of Washington. So,
next time you check out a listing that came from the NWMLS, spare a thought or
two for George Johnson, as he had a hand in making this possible for you.
Time has moved on, of course, and so had the real estate industry. The big
guys have gotten bigger, most of the smaller guys have gone...either bust, or
swallowed up by the bigger guys. George Johnson Realtors have resisted the need
for change, although they have progressed wherever necessary. George held the
view that if you offered your customers a good honest deal, treated them
decently and fairly, and carried out your business in a good Christian manner,
there was no need to change the way you do business. George has stuck with this
theory all his life and is a shining example to others that the smaller can,
and often does, win.
While George is still very active within the company, his son, Bob Johnson,
is now steering the ship on its present course into the 21st century using the
same traditional values as father, George. Still very much a family business
with the younger members carrying on where the founder will eventually leave
Visit our real
estate offices in Ballard, where traditional service
is still available at no extra cost.
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