The Hardie Group has remained at their original location since starting their business in 1988, even after the Nov. 17, 2013 caused major damage to the building.   Herald Photo/File
The Hardie Group has remained at their original location since starting their business in 1988, even after the Nov. 17, 2013 caused major damage to the building. Herald Photo/File

The Hardie Group celebrated 30 years of business on March 8. After beginning their adult careers in different fields, Kevin a teacher and Nancy a surgical nurse, they have established a legacy of excellence in the Kokomo community.

“I taught school for seven years and transitioned into real estate sales when our family was really young. At some point in time I worked for the previous owners here, Dick and June Scoggins. They were called Scoggins Realtors. I managed for them and eventually he decided he wanted to sell the company and go into residential and commercial development here in Kokomo and Howard County,” said Kevin.

He credits Nancy for helping make the decision to purchase the company and make their own path. Thirty years ago on March 8, the Hardie Group began. Nancy left her position at St. Joseph Hospital to take over the bookkeeping and advertising.

“She stepped into that role. She’s an integral, equal part of this company with me. She’s still working full time here,” he said.

Kevin and Nancy are not the only Hardies working for the family company. Their son Andy has been with them for about ten years now.

The business has seen its fair share of diversity over the last three decades. As expected, changes in the housing market, including times in the early 1980s when interest rates were a high 16 percent down to the most recent economic recession in the early 2000s, Kevin said the wonderful agents at the Hardie Group helped the company get through the down times by taking care of the clients they served. 

They faced what was probably their biggest adversity in 2013 when part of the building was hit by the Nov. 17 tornado along Hoffer Street. The company temporarily relocated to Inventrek while their building was remodeled.

“There was never a question of going anywhere else. It was a matter of renovating this building. We like this location, it’s a great location. That was never anything we considered. Our agents helped get us through that time. They really worked although they didn’t have much space to work. We were grateful to have the space. Through their dedication and perseverance, we got through it,” said Kevin.

Through economic and environmental changes, the business, itself, has changed over the last 30 years. From ink and paper to real estate information for agents and consumers at their fingertips, the Hardie Group has worked to stay up to date with current methods of communication.

“Some of the newer agents grew up with the technology where some like me, didn’t. It was probably easier for them to make the transition. For those who were successful in the business, they were always willing to learn and explore new avenues in the technology world,” Kevin said. “Our multiple listing service evolved from a book to internet based as well as the marketing of homes and trying to seek out new clients, the internet had to be something we had to adapt to quickly or get left behind.”

“Technology has changed real estate tremendously; all the way from when we didn’t have cell phones or computers. Technology really does help the agents with transactions. The public is expecting faster responses to inquiries. They have about as much access to real estate information as the real estate agents do so we have to offer something, even over and above that, which I think comes into service and building relationships with people over time,” he continued.

Kevin said he wants the agents to do well because when the agents are successful, the company is successful. 

“I think we remind ourselves that it’s a people business even though it doesn’t always appear to be so. Agents will build their client base and their client relationships by offering excellent service to their customers and in staying in touch with them after the sale is complete. That takes effort on their part because they’re also busy trying to generate new business while trying to maintain long term relationships.”

Through it all, Kevin said it was important for The Hardie Group to be involved in the community, whether members of the company were involved with community organizations, the company offered financial support to organizations like the YMCA or Kokomo Humane Society, or other behind the scenes support.

“We appreciate the business we’ve received over the years,” Kevin said, ”and hopefully we’ve earned respect from the public.”