Good butchers tell great stories.
Before he was a real estate agent, Col McIntyre was a butcher who managed a shop in South Dunedin, New Zealand, called the Bashful Butcher. A chirpy young bloke who was a real estate agent named James Stewart called in regularly for Col’s chops or sausages and always told the butcher what he was doing that day.
A qualified slaughterman, boner and butcher in his late 20s, Col started thinking real estate sounded more interesting than cutting up fat lambs. He had grown up in Tumbarumba and moved to Wagga Wagga when he was 16, staying in boarding houses while completing his butcher apprenticeship.
“When we go back to Australia I’m going to give real estate a go,” he promised himself.
He did just that. A decade later he took his team of agents to a conference.
“I was sitting outside a pub, having a beer and listening to this guy behind me talking and thought, I know this voice. I turned around and said: “Mate, you are obviously a New Zealander from South Dunedin. James Stewart?” Col said.
“Yes.” “I’m Col McIntyre.” “Oh, the butcher! I’ve opened my own real estate agency and brought my team to Australia for the AREC conference,” James said. “You won’t believe this, so have I,” Col said.
The ball had started rolling much earlier for McIntyre Property, which today has three offices, in Conder, Greenway and Belconnen. It began even before Col moved to New Zealand in his 20s. Before that, the young butcher was at Wagga Wagga’s Romano’s wine bar when he met a young woman not that long out of Red Bend College, Forbes, named Jo Matters. Romance blossomed.
“We married, bought a house in Wagga Wagga, Jo had grand plans to study to be a dental hygienist, that happened to be in Dunedin,” says Col. Instead of returning to Wagga as planned, they moved to Canberra, where Jo became a successful dentist hygienist, while Col made a start in real estate, later hitting his straps with LJ Hooker Tuggeranong under the guidance of Frank Pompeani and Mario Sanfrancesco.
As the years progressed Jo and Col were blessed with their four children, Harrison, Louis, Oscar and Claudia. He looked at the hours he was working and the road ahead thinking: “I have to raise these little tackers, put them through primary school and give them every opportunity I could, and thought to make more money I would follow in the footsteps of Frank and Mario and open my own business,” Col says.
They sold their house and bought a rent roll of 80 properties from Darcy and Janette Wentworth. “They were a beautiful couple, they had lost a child who was in his 30s and I would have been about the same age so they took me in as a son,” Col says.
At home these days Col says he and Jo, who is McIntyre Property’s managing director overseeing 22 staff, talk shop “way too bloody much,” because of their strong focus on the business. Also growing with the years is their appreciation of the warmth and kinship that comes from a community, second only to a family.
For the next five to 10 years McIntyre Property will be paying off debt and progressing through succession planning. Future growth will depend on market conditions. In return for their efforts, Col says the business is working for them, enabling the family to get away for family holidays and enjoying their place on the South Coast.
The youngest of eight children Col, like his wife Jo, is passionate about their family. The children love returning to the family farm at Tumbarumba for bonfire nights, Christmas holidays and spending time with aunties and uncles and 22 cousins.
He tends to employ established agents who gravitate to the McIntyre brand and culture where they enjoy a safe environment, not a dog-eat-dog one. “We look after them, we pay well, we are involved in their lives as much as they want us to be. It’s like an extended family,” he says.
Growing up in Tumbarumba, Col was accustomed to his parents’ deep community ties – his father in the turf and rugby league clubs, his mother in CWA and Parents and Friends.
“It was a real interest in community/family environment,” says the sponsor of local schools, Tuggeranong Hawks, the Bushrangers and a multitude of other clubs. “I take Tuggeranong on as my Tumbarumba,” Col says.
“You can’t take from a community and not give back. We employ locally, we don’t go overseas for back-office work. Some companies go offshore. I could do that but don’t because I want the community to support me, so I have to support the community,” he says.
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