Real estate company is sold
Kannady & Associates Real Estate — a fixture in Marion for the past 30 years — has changed hands and the sign on the downtown building has been replaced.
But the real estate business will continue and its original owner will not soon be forgotten.
Lori Heerey began the purchase of Kannady & Associates six months ago; the transaction was recently completed.
The story of Kannady & Associates is common to many Marion grassroots businesses — it’s the story of an entrepreneurial opportunity fostering success.
Charles Kannady started selling real estate from his home in 1980.
“The first house I sold in Marion was for $60,000 and I couldn’t believe it,” Kannady said, referring to the amount for which the house sold.
As his business grew with 95 listings at one time, he decided to move the home business and establish an office in the business district, downtown Marion.
But that’s not the beginning of Kannady’s affiliation with Marion.
Charles and Linda Kannady lived in Florence in 1971, prior to Charles’ real estate career, when he was a middle school science teacher at Florence and coached football. It was the first year the Florence and Marion schools were consolidated.
“We moved from Valley Center to the Marion area to raise our three sons,” Kannady said.
He had worked at Boeing Co. in Wichita but decided he would rather teach and coach sports.
After his tenure at Florence in the 1970s, the family moved to Goddard where Kannady taught and coached football and freshman basketball.
In 1980, the Kannadys returned to Marion and the rest is history.
“I got in the real estate business when the economy was tougher than it is now,” Kannady said. “It’s a great challenge right now. There are great opportunities.”
In the 1980s, it was common for the buyer to have to pay 25 percent down on a property, pay high interest, and pay off the mortgage within 10 years.
“I sold a lot of houses on contracts,” he said.
Since then, banks and lending institutions have loosened their belts with smaller down payments, lower interest rates, and a longer time to pay — 20 years or more.
There were eight Realtors in Marion when Kannady came to town — now there’s only one — but 99 percent of Marion properties in the 1980s were being sold by out-of-town realtors.
“I don’t know if people realize there is more money being brought into Marion when a house is purchased through a local agency than taken out,” Kannady said. “I didn’t build this business to have it fail. Most of the business will be from making customers happy.”
He is adamant about local businesses supporting the community.
“Local business owners contribute to the community,” Kannady said, where as outside agencies typically do not.
Kannady attributes his success to his agents.
“People in this office have made my business successful,” he said. “Real estate agents are not only representatives of the business but the community.”
Kannady and Heerey realize the real estate agent is often the first contact an out-of-town person will have with Marion. With the Internet, this is even more true.
“More people are looking at Marion from farther away,” Kannady said.
Hiring the right people doesn’t hurt either.
“I hired people who were involved in the community,” Kannady said. “There is an obligation to help those who help us.”
And hiring the right person six years ago has paid off big for Kannady.
Lori and husband Doug, both Marion High School graduates, returned to their hometown in 1992 after living in Maize where Lori taught fourth grade.
“Adam (her son) was getting ready to start school and we wanted to raise our kids in a small town,” Heerey said.
When Heerey began her teaching career in 1984 in Maize, there were four fourth-grade classes.
“When we left, there were 14 classes and now there are 20,” she said, indicating the Wichita suburb’s growth.
Doug commuted to Wichita and Lori was a stay-at-home mother and substitute teacher for USD 408. About a year ago, Doug purchased an insurance agency in Marion.
Lori Heerey had never been a salesperson and hadn’t even considered the notion of selling real estate.
At that time, her father-in-law, Charles Heerey, was selling for Kannady.
“Charles (Kannady) gave me a call one day and asked if I wanted to sell real estate,” Heerey said.
She was immediately drawn to the opportunities.
Little did Heerey know that six years later, she would have the opportunity of a lifetime when Kannady decided to sell the business and retire. He wanted to leave the business in good hands.
Heerey’s youngest child, Kayley, graduated from high school in May.
“The timing was perfect,” Heerey said.
Spending time with her family and being available to them was always Heerey’s priority.
“I told Charles that in the beginning that kids always came first,” she said. “He was really good about family time.”
“I love meeting people and like looking at different houses,” she said. “I like the challenge of helping people sell houses.”
And there have been some challenges, but for the most part the real estate business remains strong in Marion.
“The housing market is good,” Heerey said.
She has 20-plus listings with six houses under contract.
“People are looking. There are a variety of homes available to show,” she said.
Customers aren’t going to see many changes in the business, Heerey said — the most notable will be the name change to Heerey Real Estate.
Her company may join an online multiple listing service but it requires all agents to join the real estate board.
“It’s a lot to ask part-time realtors,” Heerey said.
A strong online presence is important and that will continue.
Keeping current with ever-changing real estate laws is also a major task.
“Charles has been a good mentor for me especially training me in business management,” she said.
Honesty is the most important aspect to Heerey and her team of real estate agents — and not just from them.
Heerey also believes in treating people with kindness.
“No matter how big or how small the purchase, we treat people with respect,” she said.
“We need people like Lori and Doug who returned to Marion,” Kannady said.
He noted that Charles Heerey had done the same thing Doug did when Charles commuted for decades from Marion to Wichita.
“Marion is in the golden triangle,” Kannady said, referring to access to major highways. “If used right, we could be more successful.”
It’s been bittersweet for Kannady to sort through file cabinets with 30 years of memories but he is confident when he retires June 30, the business will be in good hands.
He is appreciative of the Marion community for its support.
“Marion has been very good to us and I hope I’ve been a help to Marion,” Kannady said.