We Are Family

Paul Calkins was an anchor in the North Country business community. Beginning in the 1950s he founded and ran an auction house, an insurance business and a realty brokerage with his wife Florence. Sadly, in 1980 Paul died unexpectedly. Suddenly widowed, Florence made the decision to focus on the real estate business. While building Calkins Realty she raised four daughters who became successful professional women. Paula Calkins LaCombe retired as Director of the Clinton County Public Health Department. Sheila Calkins served as the Deputy Attorney General for Massachusetts and is now the Title IX Coordinator for Suffolk University. Denise Calkins Ryder worked with the family company for almost 20 years. She is now an account executive at Prime Link and still works with the family firm part-time.
The youngest of the four Calkins girls, Tina, was just two months into her first semester at college when she received the news of her father’s passing. She returned home to support her family and then went on to earn a degree in Banking, Insurance and Real Estate from Canton ATC and a degree in Business Administration from SUNY Oswego. After eleven years in retail management at Service Merchandise she was ready for a change. After the birth of her daughter in 1999 Tina decided to take a more active role in the family business. “It was always the plan for me to work with Mom and Dad,” Calkins Covey shared with a smile. “Mom is still an owner of the business. She pops in every once in a while, and we love to see her.” (Florence Calkins is currently 89 years old and still enjoys summers in the North Country and winters somewhere warmer.) Since she joined the firm, Calkins Covey has consistently been a multi-mil- lion-dollar producer. She is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and is now the firm’s co-owner and managing broker.
The affiliation between Calkins Realty and RE/MAX, an American international real estate company, took place in 2007 when the firm became RE/MAX North Country Calkins Professionals (RNCCP). Since that time, it has built a team that works tirelessly for the mutual success of its members. Proof of that is the news that RNCCC was number one in residential sales for 2018, selling over $50 million of real estate in Clinton County. And while that is impressive, it’s not new for the firm which has won that specific recognition consistently since 2015.
“We are so fortunate that our people are like family and support one another like family,” Calkins Covey observed. “I’ve had agents come to us from other companies and remark that the atmosphere here is really unique. I wish I could take credit for it all. I’m just really hum- bled and super proud.”
Speaking about her team, Calkins Covey said, “I have a tremendous group of seasoned agents who are willing to mentor the greener agents. It ensures everyone’s success and, most importantly, our customers benefit from that kind of cooperation.”
The most senior member of the team is Kathy Bennett who has been with the Calkins group since 1984. “I just love coming to work,” she declared. “I get to meet people I never would have met and see homes I never would have seen.” Bennett has been growing her business along with RNCCP for the past 35 years and credits the office and its dynamic in large part for her success. “I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have the team I have. I am really very lucky.”
The team that Bennett referred to is made up of four administrative assistants overseen by Office Manager Becca Gillett who has been with the firm for nearly 20 years. Some team members work primarily to support specific agents, while others support the office in general. “We take pride in our reputation and really want our customers to have a positive experience,” Bennett emphasized. “We know there are a lot of good options around town when someone chooses to buy or list their home. We are honored when people choose us, and we are always grateful.” Bennett makes a point of asking her clients how they heard about or found her. “I like to ask my new clients how they found me and, if it’s a referral, I like to reach back and thank the person who referred me. Taking the time to demonstrate appreciation is essential.”
Even though the Calkins team of seasoned professionals has seen great success in recent years, it is not immune to area employment challenges. “We are grateful for and appreciate each and every one of our team members, but like other area employers, we are looking to recruit new agents,” Calkins Covey emphasized, “agents who could benefit from the wealth of experience and sup- port a 60-year-old business like ours can offer.”
In crediting her dynamic staff Calkins Covey was sure to mention contractor, maintenance person, sign helper, and partner in life, her husband, John. “He even does a little bookkeeping when we ask,” she shared with a wink and a smile.
As SB went to press, Calkins Covey was pleased to announce that her daughter had graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh and joined the family business. Rachel Calkins Covey passed her New York State real estate exam this summer and we look forward to watching her grow. Working alongside her mom, and soon to be alongside her daughter, Tina Calkins Covey understand- ably gets a little overwhelmed when she talks about the company’s founder, her father Paul. “I think he would be proud of us — all of us and what we have accomplished,” she concluded.