Hometown Realty owner and longtime Covington resident Darlene Smallwood has spent the last eight years building a reputation for helping her customers. The business, located on Hazelbrand Road, has become known in the community for those efforts.
Smallwood received all the experience she needed to open up her business through the jobs she took on throughout the years. She worked in advertising with The News for 10 years and took jobs in printing, banking, accounting and real estate.
Spending all that time working for someone else ultimately led Smallwood to decide to open up her own company.
“I felt like God put me into a business where I had experience in almost all the areas necessary to run a company,” said Smallwood. “These other companies were just not doing things the way they should be. I wanted to do this the right way.”
Her family also played a role in her decision to open her own business. Smallwood’s uncle-in-law, Cecil Smallwood, wanted Darlene to spread the family and make it known. He urged Darlene to make a business for herself.
“My daddy (typically known to family and friends as Doc Yates) always said ‘you can pick your friends,’” said Smallwood. “‘If you take care of people, they will take care of you.’ So that’s we’re here to do. To take care of people.”
Once the real estate business opened in 2003, Smallwood and her husband Kenneth (who became co-owner) began to run the business the way she saw fit, to make sure customers would be given proper care and attention. The business didn’t boom, but it remained steady, as Smallwood slowly built her name in the community.
The family owned and operated real estate business mostly serves Newton, Rockdale and Jasper counties. Smallwood serves as both broker and agent; the business is also a listing agent and provides customers with buyer’s agents, where purchasing clients are represented by the broker.
What is Smallwood’s secret to keeping steady business? They pick up the phone, plain and simple.
“Real estate, for me, I know we’re supposed to be in it to make money,” said Smallwood. “But we’re also in it to make friends, to take care of people and to spread our name by word-of-mouth.”