This article originally appeared in the November 21, 2017 edition of Grass & Grain. Some minor changes have been made for clarity.
Forty-four years in business – a somewhat unusual number to observe, but Dolly Anderson of G&A Real Estate believes every milestone is worthy of celebrating. So she did. She recently held a reception and invited her friends and clients to help her mark over four decades in a business she had originally hoped would just get her two kids raised and through college.
She was a young, divorced mother of two in 1967 when she moved to Kansas to live with her mom while she got back on her feet. Without a college degree, her prospects were only minimum wage jobs, which she knew would not support her family.
“I was young and naive and thought, ‘I’ll just go into real estate where I can work hard and make money.’” Dolly recalled. At that time she was only the seventh female realtor in Manhattan among a sea of men, whose population dominated the industry.
“I worked hard and put in the hours and the days,” she said. “And it’s been wonderful.”
She met and married her husband Dusty, a rancher, which helped open the door for her to work with those in the agriculture community. Dusty died in May 2008.
In 1974 she and a business partner opened G&A Real Estate. Dolly bought out her partner in 1980 and has been the sole owner ever since. According to Dolly G&A Real Estate is the oldest real estate company in Manhattan operating with the original name and owners.
She treasures the people she has met over the years.
“With the University and the military, we have the most wonderful cross-section of people,” she said. “I’ve met some of the most wonderful people that I never would have met except for real estate.”
No doubt that times have changed, with all the lengthy contracts, inspections and legal requirements.
“What was so neat when I first started was, your word was your bond,” she reflected. “Our contracts were two pages long and we never had a problem.”
Looking ahead, Dolly has no plans to retire.
“I don’t have an exit plan,” she laughed. “Because I never thought I’d be in it this long.”
Once her kids were grown and gone, her passion for showing her horses continued to motivate her to continue in the business.
“My inspiration is to make enough money to go to the next horse show,” she admitted.
Horses have always played an important role in Dolly’s life, even to the point of bringing one to college with her the one year she attended Kansas State University. She started showing horses in the 1970s and as she got more wins under her belt, began showing nationally. She’s won in all the big shows she’s wanted to compete in. For eight years she showed a mare that her mother and stepfather had raised which Dusty gave her as a gift and up until last year, she and her daughter were showing the third generation of horses that her mother and stepfather had raised.
With success in real state and wins in the horse show arena, Dolly appreciates all the good people along the way that have made both possible.
“A lot of my success is from the people that have been with me all these years,” she said. “I’m very thankful for all the people that have been associated with G&A Real Estate.”
As she visited with the 125 or so people that came to her reception, she relished the time with old friends and clients who became friends. It’s those connections that keep her coming to the office each day, with no immediate plans to leave the business.
“I’m going to keep going as long as I can,” she said. “It’s a wonderful business and I love the people I get to meet and work with.”