Gordon Gundaker has been “selling St. Louis” for nearly 70 years. At 88, he is currently president and CEO of Gundaker Commercial Group. He joined the organization after retiring from his post as president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Gundaker, the St. Louis metro area’s largest residential real estate company, in July of 2007.
A native St. Louisan, Gordon’s success story begins in 1944 when, at 20 years old, he moved from pumping gas and working in the tool and die trade to his first real estate sales position. In 1956, he joined the John J. Armbruster Company and rapidly rose through the ranks from top sales associate to vice president and eventually part owner in 1964. In 1967, he was recognized by the Real Estate Board of Metropolitan St. Louis as the top residential salesperson in the area and a year later, he and his wife Donna established Gundaker Realtors in St. Louis.
“I enjoyed the fact that my company was selling the American Dream of homeownership. Everyone wants a place to call home and I was privileged to have a company and salespeople that provided this opportunity to them. Being part of the growth of St. Louis, whether in my residential real estate company or presently in my commercial company, has always been a desire of mine,” says Gordon.
The company grew to include 2,500 agents, becoming the largest sales organization in the history of St. Louis real estate, and in 1999, was ranked as the seventh largest independently-owned residential real estate company in the U.S. In 2001, his wife, Donna passed away, and Gordon sold his residential interest to NRT, Inc., parent company of Coldwell Banker. He remained as president for five years.
“He thought it was important for the agents to have a national presence,” explains his daughter Dana, who, along with her sister, Kim Magaletta, remained with the company.
Gordon says one thing he attributes the success of the company to is his understanding that “Treating the Customer Right” was most important. "I consider the St. Louis community as my customer, but also my salespeople are my customers,” he adds.
Gordon says he also strongly believes in educating employees and giving them the tools to be successful. He says he’s always believed, “If we have happy agents and happy employees, we have happy customers.”
“It’s amazing…Dad still goes into the office every day, at age 88,” says Dana. She began her real estate career in 1983 and was named "Rookie of the Year" in 1984. In 1986, she became a broker and has since managed three different offices in St. Louis. Since 2011, she has led Coldwell Banker Gundaker's Town & Country Office, which has been the No. 1 office in the company for the past 20 years.
Kim runs the company’s No. 2 highest-selling office, in St. Peters. And Amy works in that office as well. Gordon's current wife, Jan, works in the business as well.
In addition to his passion and success in the real estate industry, Gordon spends time with his large family of five children, 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren (with three on the way).
He is known for his involvement in numerous charities and civic projects, including the Foster Children’s Holiday Project with the Division of Family Services, serving as president of the Arthritis Foundation’s area chapter and on the boards of the Kilo Foundation, Boy’s Hope/Girl’s Hope and KUTO. He’s a member of The National Association of REALTORS and is a past director of the St. Louis Association of Realtors and the Missouri Association of Realtors. In 1989, he was honored as the St. Louis Businessman of the Year by the St. Louis Rabbinical College and in 1998, was named “Realtor of the Year” by St. Louis Association of Realtors.
He's a philanthropist, a family man, and a legend in real estate. When asked about retiring any time soon, Gordon simply says, “I have no plans to retire.”
That pretty well wraps up Gordon Gundaker’s philosophy. His long journey has been about learning, teaching, hard work and building relationships. That’s a recipe for success!