Third-generation realty firm thrives

Lake Ontario Realty blends family, business through the years

Amanda Miller, left, and Beth Hopkins relax in a chair in front of their office space in Chaumont. The women are not only in-laws but business partners, after merging Hopkins Homes with Lake Ontario Realty. Photo by Amanda Morrison/NNY Business

Hopkins Homes Realty in Watertown may be no more. Though, fret not, because the same quality customer service can be found down the road in Chaumont at Lake Ontario Realty. Hopkins broker Beth E. Hopkins decided after two decades to hang up her hat as a real estate broker/owner, and instead play the role of real estate agent.

“No longer acting as an owner takes a lot of different administrative pressures off of me,” Mrs. Hopkins said. “And I’m fine with that. I believe that brokers should shift gears when they recognize it’s time. Ownership of an agency doesn’t define you as an agent. And I get so many more listings this way.”

Mrs. Hopkins is very familiar with her current broker. It’s her daughter-in-law, Amanda J. Miller. Ms. Miller is married to Mrs. Hopkins’s son, Lucas A. So family is never far away, even at the office.

Ms. Miller’s mother, Gail Miller, is also an agent at Lake Ontario Realty. It proved to be an interesting situation when Mr. Hopkins and Amanda started dating. But it didn’t hinder the family from folding Hopkins Homes into Lake Ontario Realty two years ago.

“My son Lucas worked for me at Hopkins, but was married to Amanda,” Mrs. Hopkins recalled. “Amanda and I started talking about her taking on Hopkins Realty a little over two years ago. She decided she didn’t want to take over the business. So we talked about dissolving Hopkins into Lake Ontario Realty and that’s where we are right now.”

For Ms. Miller, the biggest challenge she faces working with her mother, husband and mother-in-law, is keeping how she treats family separate from how she works with professionals.

“I think the biggest challenge is knowing that some people think I treat family differently because they are family. But I don’t,” she said. “We’ve been able to create a great business together, no doubt. But family or not, every agent is treated the same.”

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]

Joleene Des Rosiers Moody is a freelance writer, author and motivational speaker who lives in Pulaski. Contact her at joleene@joleenespeaks.com.