Killarney Realty celebrates 10 years in the Irish Hills
Killarney Realty began as a third career for Mary Alice Kozemchak. After being a stay-at-home mom for her four children, Mary Alice commuted for 17 years from the Irish Hills to Tecumseh for her job at Herrick Diagnostics.
Her husband, Bill, suggested she should change careers. Happy with her work, Mary Alice asked Bill what he thought she should do. He suggested real estate, and Mary Alice knew he was right about her love of houses. She became a licensed broker and went to work for Irish Hills Realty. One of her sales was the dilapidated Bauer Manor on U.S. 12, purchased by a preservationist. Mary Alice told the buyer she thought the building would make a wonderful realty office.
“I was itchy,” Mary Alice said. “I wanted to do something different than the traditional real estate office.”
After five years of renovations, in 2002, Mary Alice and her husband, Bill, moved their new realty office into the building built in 1834. “Originally it was a stagecoach stop in competition with the original Walker Tavern,” said Mary Alice. “We just found it really charming.”
St. Patrick’s Day 2003 was the official grand opening of the business, commemorated each year by a St. Patrick’s Day party for the staff and all past homebuyers. This year commemorates the 10th anniversary for Killarney Realty.
“Every month we’re trying to do something special,” Mary Alice said. “We just like to be people friendly.”
The month of May has Killarney Realty gathering donations of non-motorized recreational items that can be used at Hayes State Park. They are even happy to pick up donations; all people have to do is call the office at 431.3400.
There are currently nine realtors working for Killarney, all with a strong background in realty or experience living in the area. “They are seasoned people,” Mary Alice says of her staff. “They don’t hop around.”
“I think we have a lot of interesting people who work here,” Bill said.
Jan Hall came to work for Killarney after noticing the amount of advertising the office invested and being impressed with Mary Alice. “I felt she was a person of integrity,” Hall said.
Lisa Finch said, “I stay here because it doesn’t feel like an office, it feels like a family.”
“We have a beautiful working atmosphere here,” said Nancy Swope.
Community involvement is key to having a successful business, and Mary Alice believes her office’s knowledge of the Irish Hills lakes area gives them an edge in real estate business. Education is another key to the success of the business, and Mary Alice likes to stay current with training and what’s new not only for herself, but also for her staff.
She has even brought in educational opportunities and included other real estate offices. “We try to get along with everybody,” Mary Alice said.
The office can help buyers and sellers not just in the Irish Hills, but all over the region. Working with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), allows a greater coverage area for Killarney realtors. “We can access property anywhere in the state,” said Mary Alice.
She is very proud of the business website, killarneyrealty.com. “We’ve got a lot of information in there and it’s very simple,” Mary Alice said.
As much as she appreciates the ease of working on the computer, Mary Alice is also a firm believer in the power of print. She knows printed listings reach a segment of the population that like to hold a booklet in their hands.
Killarney Realty is a cheerleader for the Irish Hills, with the Irish Hills Welcome Center located in the foyer of the building. Bill and Mary Alice fell in love with the area when they moved out from Westland back in 1970, and raised their children in the Onsted school system.
“I put my nose in a lot of things,” said Mary Alice of her love for the area. “I want the area cleaned up and thriving. I want to see it come alive again.”
Mary Alice is proud of the business she and Bill have built. “We’re not the flashy realtors,” she said. “We want people to come in and feel comfortable.
Bill and Mary Alice may be retirement age, but their work at Killarney keeps them young. “I wouldn’t know what to do if I sat at home,” Mary Alice said.