2010-06-24 / News

Islanders celebrate a decade of business and friendship

By Holly Benton

Carol Hopkins and Ginny Prichett have successfully combined business and friendship for the past 10 years at Island Realty. Carol Hopkins and Ginny Prichett have successfully combined business and friendship for the past 10 years at Island Realty. Whoever offered the advice not to mix business with friendship never met Ginny Prichett and Carol Hopkins – co-owners of Island Realty in Jamestown and close friends for 19 years.

“We were warned business partnerships usually don’t work,” Hopkins said. “We read books about it. And we threw the books over our shoulders and said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ And we’ve never looked back.”

A testimony to their success as business partners and friends, Prichett and Hopkins recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary as owners of Island Realty. Both women said they attribute their achievements to the one thing they were advised against relying on in the business world – their friendship.

Former agents for Conanicut Real Estate, Prichett and Hopkins said they made the decision to buy Island Realty in 2000, when Hopkins received a call from the former owner with an offer to sell her the company.

“I wanted to have a life and wanted to work with Ginny,” Hopkins said. “We had kind of partnered up at Conanicut Real Estate – we really helped each other out because we had kids growing up, and were involved in a lot of things and had families. So I asked Ginny if she wanted to come with me, and she did, and the rest is history.”

Today, Island Realty is a fulltime home to seven sales agents and two rental agents, all of whom live in Jamestown.

Prichett and Hopkins said that Island Realty has been so successful because of its tremendous staff. Prichett described the connection that the staff not only has with one another, but also with its clients.

“The people that are here are just a fantastic group of people to work with – they’re just a great staff,” she said. “We have fun together, and we enjoy each other’s company.”

Hopkins added that connections in Jamestown are a huge component of business on the island, saying that the relationships between their agents and the community are as much a part of Island Realty as the homes themselves.

“It’s all about personal relationships in Jamestown,” she said. “It’s also about how we market a home and price a home, but the connections that we make with people in this community are really important. We’re really on top of ethics, and putting the client first.”

Successful in business as in friendship, Prichett and Hopkins have shaped Island Realty into a company that excels in every way. With annual company sales volume reaching $30,000,000 – and selling variously priced homes in 24 Rhode Island communities – Island Realty has continued to shine throughout the recent banking crisis.

“Things changed drastically in the last two years,” Hopkins said. “When we bought in 2000, business really just went up. And then in 2008, it started to go down. Activity now is much better than last year.”

Having recently sold some of the highest-priced houses in Jamestown – including, most recently, a home for $8.795 million – Prichett and Hopkins pride themselves on selling great homes, as well as selling the truly special lifestyle that Jamestown offers.

“What’s cool about the organization is that if you want to move to this area, we really have our fingers on the pulse of what goes on here,” Prichett said. “We’ve also always been a place for people who want local information to come.”

Prichett, who has lived in Jamestown since 1980, completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1970 and taught special education for several years. Entering the real estate field in 1989, Prichett said she has enjoyed her profession since the beginning, because “it’s never been about the houses – it’s about the people.”

Prichett has also been a hospice volunteer for Visiting Nurses of Newport and Bristol counties for years. She lives with her husband, Bill, and has two children, Maris and Ian.

Hopkins, a lifelong islander, began working as a real estate agent in 1987 with her mother in North Kingstown, and five years later, began working in Jamestown.

Hopkins said she finds great joy in the fact that she is part of such a truly happy office, where laugher is abundant.

Hopkins has also been extremely involved in the Jamestown Community Theatre for the last 19 years and has three children – Megan, Rachel and Nathaniel.

Being a part of such a supportive, thriving business for the last 10 years has left both women feeling fortunate for their staff and each other.

Hopkins expressed their gratitude for one another, saying one of the main reasons they’ve been so successful is due to their unwavering friendship.

“Our philosophy has always been – since we bought the company – family first,” Hopkins said. “And we support each other. If someone needs time, they get it, and their clients are still taken care of. We are always there for each other, and we always back each other up.”

In celebration of their 10 years with Island Realty, Prichett and Hopkins are involved in a series of events, including a July 4 concert featuring Atwater & Donnelly from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Memorial Square.

Return to top