A family-owned Redlands real estate firm which has navigated three recessions, a pandemic and interest rates skyrocketing to 19 per cent is still thriving after half a century.
Pat Barrett Realty on Main Road at Wellington Point was among the first estate agencies in the Redlands and is now celebrating 50 successful years of business, community and family.
Established in 1973 by Pope (Pat) Flood Barrett, the firm has grown to become a trusted name boasting a 60 per cent repeat referral record for house sales and impressive staff retention.
Director Peter Barrett, who incorporated the business with his father in 1983 and set up a trust as joint shareholders, said there were few other estate agencies around when the firm opened its doors.
“There was one across the road, a couple at Capalaba and a couple at Cleveland and that was about it,” he said.
“Now there are five realtors along the Main Road’s small strip of shops alone.”
Peter joined the business as a 20-year-old on the advice of his father and has not looked back since, carrying on the family legacy and helping the firm become a trusted name in the community.
“I’d made some particular muck-up on a particular day at my FFE [Fire Fighting Enterprises] Salesclerk job, and the boss guy there gave me a right chewing out, deservedly so,” he said.
“Dad said ‘give real estate a try’ and I thought, well that will do until I work out what I want to do.”
The firm has grown into a real family affair, with Gary joining the team in 1988 as sales manager and helping to run the business alongside his older brother.
Gary’s twins Meg and Lia came on to work casually for the team at one point and Peter’s daughter Kathryn joined in a full-time capacity for 20 years.
In 2019, Peter’s partner Kathleen Hyde joined on as property manager, a role she enjoys for the “big smiles” she receives when securing a home for locals.
There have also been several employees without any relation to the Barretts – but they too have become like family thanks to strong staff retention at the firm.
“It’s bit like a black hole. Once you go in there, nothing escapes,” Peter said.
“But in all honesty, teamwork, a flat structure and a culture encouraging everyone to contribute helps retain employees.”
Pope Flood Barrett founded the firm aged 55 after owning other businesses, including Foote & Barrett in his hometown of Springsure, Central Queensland and The Sports, Music and Toy Shop at Wynnum.
The youngest of four children, born to Irish immigrants, Pope was named after a family friend and got his middle name from being born during the 1918 Central Queensland floods.
Seeking a change of scenery from the Wynnum business, Pat launched his real estate career with the Kurts Realty sales team, which was one of the few bayside estate agencies around in the mid-1960s.
Peter said his father did well in the field but the pressure ramped up as the business grew, leading him to join his colleague Lance Greene who opened an office at Capalaba.
“One day in 1973 dad finally decided ‘why don’t I paddle my own canoe’ and went out on his own,” Peter said.
“That was the beginning of Pat Barrett Realty.”.