Conrad McGrew may have started his real estate firm small - recording a total of $250,000 in sales during its first four years combined - but his grandson is ready to build on its legacy and take the agency beyond its recent high of $100 million.
Mike McGrew this week became chairman and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker McGrew Real Estate, an agency launched in 1951 and led for the past 47 years by his father, John McGrew.
The change in leadership has been in the works for months - "This is just putting the period at the end of the sentence," Mike McGrew said - but the agency and its 65 agents intend to continue moving forward.
"We've got a great tradition here, and we just want to build on that," he said.
Mike McGrew, who had been the agency's vice chairman, shares leadership responsibilities with two other agency veterans: Gary Nuzum, president, who joined the agency 27 years ago, and Dennis Snodgrass, vice president and sales manager, who has been in the fold for 18 years.
And don't expect John McGrew to get out of the business entirely.
While no longer involved in the agency's ownership or leadership, he plans to stay active in property development, both in Douglas County and elsewhere.
"I am not really retiring, but rather adjusting my priorities a little bit," said John McGrew, who co-founded Alvamar in 1965 with Bob Billings and Mel Anderson. "I enjoy creating and developing real estate. This will let me do that and have more time to enjoy life, too."
His son becomes the fourth McGrew to serve as chairman: Conrad McGrew, from 1951 to 1953; Viola McGrew, from 1953 to 1960; and John McGrew, from 1960 to 2007.
Mike McGrew, now 47, joined the firm in 1982, earned his business degree at Kansas University in 1983 and hasn't looked back. He serves as chairman of Real Estate Business Resources, which is the for-profit arm of the Kansas Association of Realtors, and continues to serve on KAR's board of directors and its executive committee. He's also a director for the National Association of Realtors, the industry organization for which he'd previously served as a regional vice president.
"I remember 26 years ago when he came in here as a snot-nosed, wet-behind-the-ears college kid," Nuzum said. "Michael's growth in the past 20 years has really been incredible."
The agency has grown as well, having moved from its initial home at 806 Mass. to successive spaces at 901 Ind., 901 Ky., 1505 Kasold and, now, 1501 Kasold. Coldwell Banker McGrew also has an office at 4100 W. Sixth St., and another at 1402 Church St. in Eudora.
The agency's leadership team expects more growth in the future as it strives to provide the latest services and technologies.
"The world's dynamic," Snodgrass said. "You either stay with it or get out of the way."