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Archive for Friday, April 2, 1999

FATHER-SON DUO ENJOY REAL ESTATE BUSINESS

April 2, 1999

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Stephens Real Estate promotes community involvement.

Most people wouldn't think of buying a home from their bread and milk man, but selling baked and dairy goods is just how the man behind Stephens Real Estate once earned a living.

Bob Stephens moved his family to Lawrence in 1962, working at that time for Manor Bread Company as a sales manager. Stephens took a job with Meyers Dairy from 1964 to 1970 because he didn't want to keep moving his family from town to town.

In 1970, Stephens went into business with Warren Mitchell as a real estate salesman. Then, after getting his broker's license two years later, Bob Stephens became a partner in the Mitchell-Stevens Agency. Their offices were in the 800 block of Massachusetts. Stephens served as the vice president of the agency from 1972 to 1975 and president from 1975 to 1978.

In 1978 the partners went their separate ways, Doug Stephens said.

Though he started in a different profession, Doug Stephens said his father was suited to the business.

"It was a natural fit with his personality," Doug Stephens said. "He loves people, loves real estate, and everyone knows him."

And, like his father, Doug Stephens found a place in the real estate business. Now, Doug Stephens and his father along with Mark Buhler own Stephens Real Estate.

He began helping his father out as a youth, doing maintenance and painting in the 1970s when construction workers were short, among other things. He graduated from Kansas University and began working with his father full time in 1983.

Doug Stephens left the real estate business to go back to school to become an optometrist, but in the meantime he and his wife had started their family. So, he worked at the former Hall-Kimbrell Company as a project manager. He returned to real estate in 1989. He became the company's president in 1998.

Doug Stephens says he came back because of his love for Lawrence and because he wanted a piece of his own company.

In addition to the men in the business, Doug's mother, Mary Kay, has worked as secretary/treasurer of the organization and as office manager. She retired last year.

In addition to being active in the community themselves, Doug Stephens said, the company officials encourage their employees and agents to become active, too.

Some of these causes include working on political campaigns of all types and being active with school-business partnerships, the chamber, the United Way and others.

Doug Stephens calls the company the largest, independent one in Lawrence. The business's first office was at Ninth and Kentucky.

Bob Stephens has been involved in many community organizations along with winning numerous community awards.

Doug Stephens takes a particular interest in Lawrence's growth and the need to provide affordable home-buying options for everyone in Lawrence.

His father has instilled the need to give back to the community and be interested in its progress.

"I know some projects in this town are controversial," Doug Stephens said. "But the families involved in these projects have been here. They are investing serious dollars, and they will be here to live with any consequences. I think people should at least appreciate that."

-- Regina Cassell's phone message number is 832-7189. Her e-mail address is rcassell@ljworld.com.

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