Tony and Denise Brown both grew up in Georgia's smaller towns, but they always fostered big dreams. As natives of Marietta and Sylvester, respectively, the couple now splits time between two iconic spots in the Southeast — Atlanta and Florida’s Emerald Coast — while they run a thriving home renovation business. Kitchens Design Group focuses on upscale kitchens, bathrooms and floors and has locations in Marietta, Santa Rosa Beach, Nashville and Augusta. One day, as luck would have it, a particular home project led the couple to meet Realtor Rachel Hutchings.
“When Rachel was building her own home several years ago, we handled the cabinets and countertops,” Tony notes. “That was before we opened our showroom location here.”
Once the project was completed, Tony, Denise and Rachel continued to cross paths in various settings, and before long, a friendship among them had readily formed. Because the Browns are aficionados of taking properties in need of TLC and turning them into marketable and beautiful homes, they always have several real estate projects going at once. It would not take long after meeting Rachel for the couple to put one of these upgraded homes on the market – and call their new friend to take the first look. Since that day, the Browns have had Rachel list homes over and over again.
“We’ve sold a bunch of houses in the last year, and she’s the best agent we have worked with,” Denise emphasizes. “Rachel will list the next five homes we do. She has a genuine marketing plan. She’s organized. She calls you back.”
Tony agrees heartily with his wife’s assessment. “A lot of agents would not even be able to be agents if they didn’t live [in this area and know people], but Rachel reminds me of our Atlanta agents — she’s a hustler,” he remarks, grinning.
Rachel – who has roots in interior design and is a native of New Albany, Mississippi — has worked in high intensity markets, lived in Atlanta for 11 years and ended up loving the pace of the Emerald Coast. Her entire business, she says, was built the way it was built with the Browns — organically, starting from the ground up. She credits her success not only to her inclination to take care of others (a trait she gets honestly from growing up in a family of faith) but also to Compass.
“My goal has always been to be a relational — rather than transactional — focused business, seeking to become my clients' 'forever agent,’” Rachel notes. “I have sought to empower my clients with the facts they need to make confident investment decisions for buyers and provide a superior level of proven, curated service for my sellers. My partnership with Compass’s office at the beaches of 30A has elevated what I can achieve for clients on many fronts — helping them accomplish their 'win' in one of the most beautiful and unique coastal markets in the world.”
This “beautiful and unique coastal market,” by the way, is a dream come true to Rachel, the Browns and scores of others. The laid-back nature of the Florida panhandle is indisputable, and, while all three business owners are consistently finding success, they relish being able to pause, take in the scenery and be grateful for its beauty. “We’re on island time down here,” Tony jokes. “It’s still work; you’re still doing the same job as you are in Atlanta or Augusta – but with God’s backdrop behind you, it doesn’t feel like you need to be in such a hurry.”
Tony and Denise are keen to point out Atlanta’s good points, as well – and share with the rest of their Atlanta community of friends, family and associates just how great it is to have the benefit of both lifestyles. Naturally, for those in Atlanta looking to invest in the Florida gulf, the Browns recommend their friend Rachel as a savvy and trustworthy real estate partner. Rachel, meanwhile, shares how many of her own clients treasure the area as an investment and great vacation spot.
“I love Florida, but there’s something to be said for Atlanta too,” Denise remarks. “We love the flexibility of having both lifestyles. And that’s what we tell people; it’s the best of both worlds. “There are plenty of opportunities around here — and there’s something for everyone, price wise. But you have to have the right agent to help you find them. Rachel would be my recommendation — she knows the area and is so plugged in with what is going on.”
“[The Emerald Coast] is far away from the hustle and bustle, but close enough to stay connected with friends and family who can easily come down for a visit,” Rachel adds. “It takes very little research to discover that investment experts tout the Emerald Coast market as one of the most lucrative investment areas in the nation. Not to mention our culture — we are far enough north in Florida to have an element of Southern hospitality mixed in perfectly here. The rule is sunny weather with cool breezes, perfect for an active lifestyle that keeps you vibrant and in touch with nature.”