Thursday, June 20, 2024 Jun 20, 2024
81° F Dallas, TX
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Jim Hancock: Work Like a Farmer

Commercial real estate professionals can learn a lot from farmers. They know that one day the rains will return. Things will grow tall and plentiful. But even in times of drought, some things prosper when taken care of.
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Jim Hancock

A friend of mine recently drove back from a wedding in Houston. The normally green and lush expanse along Interstate 45 was a tinderbox, looking more like the highway between Andrews and Odessa in West Texas. About halfway home, his fuel gauge was approaching E, so he pulled off the road in a small town for gas and refreshment.

After filling up he noticed a fruit stand with the sign “Peaches for Sale” next to the gas station. He thought, “How could anyone grow anything in this heat?” He walked over to the stand and was greeted by a 60-ish shirtless proprietor dressed in dirty overalls, boots, and a gimme cap. With a toothless grin, the man sliced off a juicy treat with his rusty pocketknife and said in a heavy Texas accent, “Ya waunt sum?”

My friend reluctantly accepted. Using a fancy cocktail toothpick, he grabbed a piece of the fruit off the sticky paper plate—and tasted a most intense and flavorful peach slice.

“Wow! That is awesome” said my friend. “How do you grow these in this desert?”

Toothless replied “We got us a couple of wells on our place and water ‘em trees when it’s dry like ‘iss. Reminds me of ’80. Few ‘o them peach trees iz ‘bout th’ only thang that ain’t died yet. When it’s rainin’ and we got more water to give, we grow and sell all sorts ‘o stuff like strawberries, okra, peas, melons. I guess you city folks call that dee-versification. Reckon we lernt to save when times is good so we can survive off these here peaches in times like this.”

Commercial real estate professionals can learn a lot from that old farmer. One day the rains will return. Things will grow tall and plentiful. But even in times of drought, some things prosper when taken care of; they can be sweet—even when it seems like it will never rain again.

Jim Hancock has served as managing director and senior advisor for Sperry Van Ness since 2006. He also currently serves on the board of North Texas CCIM. Contact him at [email protected].

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