Written by: Debra McCormick | Photographed by Arthur Green
When Tony Harrington, broker/owner of The Property Shop, and Allyson Pittman, top-selling broker/REALTOR®, greet me in the lobby of their office space, I think of a popular expression – “Stay close to people who feel like sunshine.” Their warm enthusiasm and big smiles make me think of this pleasant metaphor, and I instinctively feel that they love working with people. The Property Shop, located on Oleander Drive in Wilmington, is a boutique real estate company that offers highly specialized service to its clients. The term boutique, usually associated with high-end, intimately small fashion retail, is used here to describe a very personalized real estate experience for people from all backgrounds and needs — from the first single-family home to the large, commercial property and everything in between.
After chatting for about thirty minutes, Harrington’s hearty laughter and Pittman’s down-to-earth southern charm put me at ease as I listen to them describe the unique attention-to-detail they and the other eighteen REALTORS® offer their clients. Allyson Pittman excels as a REALTOR® for The Property Shop, leading the company by having the highest sales volume in the past three years and earning Agent of the Year in 2015 and 2017. The value of hard work was ingrained in her from a young age. Her father, a transplant surgeon, and her mother, a dance and theater teacher, raised her to value education, hard work and the importance of family. Throughout thirty-three years of experience, she has mentored other agents who are now top producers in the area, and she has had the unique experience of selling real estate to multiple generations within families — from the original family to the grandchildren. Pittman and her colleagues feel that a rewarding experience with the client is the pinnacle of success as a REALTOR®, and she describes the group as “a cohesive team within an office in a very positive atmosphere.”
The emphasis on camaraderie and connectivity illustrate what is most important to Harrington when serving the public’s needs in the real estate world. Eight years ago, when he opened The Property Shop, he saw the need for more focused, personalized attention that seemed to be lacking in an environment of some mega-size REALTOR® entities. As a result, Harrington designed the business model of the boutique experience, one in which his highly-trained and educated REALTORS® could provide a one-on-one approach to clients. All nineteen REALTORS® possess a unique brand of knowledge and experience, and they work as a team, tapping into each other’s backgrounds to broaden their scope of experience. There is healthy competition within the group, and they inspire each other to continue building their knowledge base “without the drama,” Harrington happily exclaims.
“It is never about the money. It’s about the experience.”
Accepting challenges is a priority. Harrington recently experienced this first-hand when he was asked to chair the newly formed NC REALTORS® Global Network — a committee dedicated to expanding foreign investment in North Carolina markets and growing communities. The initiative focuses on furthering the education level of REALTORS® to prepare them for serving global clientele. Later this month, Harrington and other NC REALTORS® will attend MIPIM, the world’s leading real estate market, in Cannes, France, to represent North Carolina among 24,000 international attendees from around the world. Thinking ‘local’ to ‘global’ is a new challenge for Harrington and one that he enthusiastically embraces since it represents a gateway to furthering North Carolina’s future economic prospects.
Dedication to the community is one of the hallmarks of The Property Shop. Harrington is extremely proud of his group for being so involved in the greater Wilmington community. His agents are actively involved in numerous charities and the arts, such as Full Belly Project, Food Bank of Eastern NC, Adopt an Angel, Paws Place, Paws4People, Thalian Association, Cucalorus Film Festival, and L Shape Lot. Having the most positive experience with a client and giving back to the community are the top priorities. With passion and conviction in his voice, Harrington states about himself and his REALTORS® — “It is never about the money. It’s about the experience.”