Broker ‘sold’ on Blair County
Under Pennington, local Coldwell Banker thriving
Bob Pennington likes the view from the top. “One thing is I am very competitive,” Pennington said. “I’ve always been very aggressive in my marketing, and we’ve always branded the name to represent quality and performance.”
Pennington’s business, Coldwell Banker Town & Country Real Estate, will be one of five businesses that will be inducted into the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame on Monday, Oct. 16, at the Blair County Convention Center.
Being the first real estate company inducted into the hall of fame is especially significant to Pennington.
“It is a big deal,” he said. “I am honored and do not take it for granted. It is a privilege to be going in with the others who are going in. My friends and family are thrilled. It is a lifetime coronation to be recognized for doing this for so long and doing it the right way.”
Pennington got his start in real estate at a young age.
After graduating from Villanova University at the age of 22 in 1973 — he had planned to go to graduate school — he was asked by his father, Heritage Hall of Fame inductee Robert G. Pennington, to sell one of his homes in Penn Farm Estates, which he was developing at that time.
Pennington sold the home during his first open house.
“That gave me the key to my calling to sell real estate,” he said. “I found I really loved it.”
Also in 1973, Pennington approached the owners of Town & Country Real Estate in Johnstown about opening a branch office on Allegheny Street in Hollidaysburg.
Town & Country Real Estate opened on Jan. 29, 1973, and upon passing his broker’s exam in 1976, Pennington purchased the Hollidaysburg office and became broker/owner of the business.
Four years later, he moved the business to its present location at 300 Union Avenue in Altoona.
“Moving from Hollidaysburg to here gave me a larger market area,” he said.
In 1986, Pennington joined Coldwell Banker Residential Affiliates Inc. and became known as Coldwell Banker Town & Country Real Estate.
“Coldwell Banker was a brand people could trust and was the oldest franchise in America,” Pennington said. “We get referrals from across the country from Coldwell Banker. They have Coldwell Banker University, online training which is a very good tool for my agents.”
His business has put up some amazing numbers over the years, having sold more than 15,000 homes in Blair County while closing more than $1 billion worth of real estate.
In 1995 and 2008, Town & Country Real Estate was the number one Coldwell Banker Affiliate Office in the United States and has been the number one office in Blair County on closed dollar sales volume for 37 consecutive years.
“My goal is to be the leader in the local market,” Pennington said.
The company has sold more homes than any other real estate office in the history of Blair County.
“Bob Pennington’s knowledge as a Realtor is unquestioned,” Joe Hurd, chamber president/CEO, said. “Few know the industry or the area as well as Bob does. His ongoing success is clearly his ability to hire great people and market effectively.”
Pennington credits his employees for the success.
“I have always tried to surround myself with good people,” he said. “I have always had a good productive staff. I have 10 people with at least 25 years. In this industry, that is really rare, and that is the thing I am most proud of.”
Pennington also credits customers for his firm’s success.
“I was born and raised here,” he said. “The people of Blair County have treated me very well. We are only as good as our reputation, the last deal we’ve closed. It always keeps me on my toes. If you don’t treat people well, it will get around. You need to have great attention to details, work hard and treat people well.”
To be successful in real estate, tasteful self promotion is important, he said.
“You must sell yourself to get the person to trust you to sell their home,” Pennington said. “It is not just selling physical real estate but selling yourself to the person to get them to agree to list their home with you to sell it.”
Paying attention to details is a must.
“I am very organized,” Pennington said. “I check with all of my agents every day. The big word is ‘accessibility.’ I am here and available seven days a week. I don’t ever skirt an issue. Another key is my door is always open to both my agents and the public. I am not hard to find.”
Pennington’s firm has always been involved in the community, supporting hundreds of fundraisers, organizations and nonprofits over the company’s 44 years of operation.
“That is part of the fiber,” he said. “It is essential in any town. If you are in business, you need to give back.”
Pennington, 67, is optimistic about the future of his business.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “You have to stay ahead of the curve. It will continue to reshape our industry going forward. You need to deal with it the best you can. The Internet will continue to play a key role. I still believe in people. You still need the personal touch of a Realtor.”
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.