Crye-Leike Co-Founders to be Honored as Leaders in Real Estate Industry
Memphis, Tenn. – Co-founders of Crye-Leike, Realtors, Harold Crye and Dick Leike, will be honored as leaders in the real estate industry at Carnival Memphis’ 19th Annual Business & Industry Salute Luncheon on Wed., April 23, 2003. Crye and Leike will be presented Carnival Memphis’ Chairman’s Award for exemplifying leadership and innovation within the real estate industry.
Each year, Carnival Memphis (www.carnivalmemphis.org) celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of an industry that has a major economic impact on the Mid-South community. This year’s honored industry is residential and commercial real estate which has played a major role in the development and evolution of our economy, says Ed Galfsky, executive director of Carnival Memphis.
The success story of Crye-Leike, Realtors is one that is well known in the real estate world. It began in Memphis, Tennessee when long-time friends Harold Crye and Dick Leike decided in December 1976 to leave the real estate firm they were with to start their own business. They committed as partners to build a real estate company that would be results-oriented, professional and would provide superior service “above and beyond” that provided by other real estate companies.
“We were na?ve enough then not to know what wouldn’t work so we went out and made it work,” Crye said.
Operations began in December 1977 in a leased 3,500 square foot office in Memphis. “We didn’t think we would make enough, so we didn’t take any compensation for the first year and plowed the earnings back into the company to continue growth and success,” said Crye. The company generated $19 million in sales within the first year. “We have sales associates now who make that much in one year.”
As new branch offices were added and more sales associates joined the company, Crye-Leike became the largest real estate firm in Memphis within three years with operations expanding into West Memphis, Arkansas and North Mississippi.
They took the company to new heights by utilizing the one-stop shopping concept and franchising which has set Crye-Leike apart from other real estate firms. With their full service approach to customer service, they opened a relocation division, a commercial property division, a property leasing and management company, an insurance company, a home improvement division and auction division. Harold and Dick further became known as innovators in commission structure and marketing, credited for bringing order and consolidation to an unstructured industry.
“When Harold and I first decided to start a real estate company, I don’t think that we wanted to be the biggest company, but we did have a sincere desire to provide the best real estate sales and services around,” said Leike. “Our growth was a result of just that. Since ours was a true service business, providing the best service caused our company growth.”
During Crye-Leike’s first 25 years in business, it grew to become the 10th largest real estate company in the nation and No. 1 in the Mid-South through their leadership and vision. Today, Crye-Leike (www.crye-leike.com) has a network of over 2,300 sales associates and 600 support staff working among its 62 branch and franchise offices located in 33 counties throughout a six-state southern region in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. Crye-Leike attained sales of $3.17 billion and 22,198 closed transaction sides corporate wide in 2002.
When asked what is the most important ingredient to Crye-Leike’s success, Crye feels the key is our willingness to take risks. “Staying successful is more about innovating new ways to tackle traditional problems,” remarks Crye. “Over the past 26 years, our company has built a reputation of providing total homeownership services for the consumer that add convenience, simplicity and efficiency to the home buying and selling process. Each year, we grow stronger in our mission, expanding our vision and horizons, to offer a broader menu of services that improves the homeowner experience and satisfies consumer demand.
“There are a lot of people who become successful and then stop. They’re happy with their level of success,” said Crye. “If it came down to just working for money, then Dick and I would have quit a long time ago. We work now because we enjoy what we’re doing,” he said. “We see all this potential and we just can’t get to it fast enough. We understand how this business works.”
“With 25 years of service behind us, we have developed a customer base that has come to know and trust the name, Crye-Leike,” said Leike. “Our loyal customers and the strength of our dedicated sales associates and staff have made Crye-Leike No. 1 and we are eternally grateful.”