Real Estate Brokerage Is Family Affair

June 13, 2005
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GRAND HAVEN — Family name and reputation are important to Bob and Janet Hendrick and their son Dan Hendrick.

The Hendricks are working to continue that good name through Prudential Clyde Hendrick Realty, which Bob Hendrick's father founded in 1920.

After 85 years the family-owned real estate company has grown from selling farms to commercial, residential and property management. Through the growth and changes, however, the company's value system has never wavered.

"Clyde was a person that cared very strongly for people and for his community," Janet Hendrick said. "He brought this into his company."

Clyde Hendrick, who died at the age of 88 in 1981, started the real estate business in Muskegon Heights after returning from World War I. He sold farms from Hart to Benton Harbor and became very involved in the Lakeshore community, including projects such as the Muskegon International Airport, Muskegon General Hospital and Hoffmaster State Park, which was once part of property he owned.

"He was involved in much of the growth in the area," Bob Hendrick said of his father.

His family's business has carried on that tradition by helping with the creation of and involvement in the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors. Dan Hendrick is past president, and the company's Muskegon office manager, Sharon Johnson, is the current president.

Prudential Clyde Hendrick Realty has two locations, 415 Beacon Blvd. in Grand Haven and 1060 Norton Ave. in Muskegon, with 37 real estate agents between them. The Hendricks work out of the Grand Haven location.

Bob Hendrick, who is a Certified Commercial Investment Member and broker/owner of the company, knew he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps when at a young age he came to realize real estate was a good investment.

"I just felt that people needed to have an alternative to stocks," Bob Hendrick said.

Buying real estate is an important part of a person's life, he said. "Typically people only have three or four transactions in a lifetime."

Janet Hendrick, who has her real estate license but does not practice, started doing clerical work in the Muskegon office after her brother-in-law, Gerald Jett, who also worked in the business, died in 1983. She moved to the Grand Haven location after the company started working in commercial real estate.

"She's the go-to person," Bob Hendrick said.

Though she did not plan to be part of the business, Janet Hendrick said it grew on her.

"When you're part of the Hendrick family, you learn real estate by osmosis," she said, laughing. "I've learned to love the real estate business. I get joy out of watching our sales people work with our buyers and sellers. When they come to a close, the joy that's on their faces — that means something to me."

Dan Hendrick also eventually succumbed to the allure of the real estate business.

"Growing up, I never wanted to be in the business," he said. Instead he worked as a chef, but soon realized the hours and pay were not for him, so he joined the family business in 1993.

"It's a great business," he said. "We help so many people with the American dream of finding a home."

Dan Hendrick is the broker manager, corporate trainer and vice president of the company, and also a national trainer for Prudential and a trainer for the Michigan Association of Realtors.

Just as the Hendricks have had three generations working in the family business, they  also have acted as agents for several generations of families.

"We have generations of people that use us," Dan Hendrick said. Some families worked with his father or grandfather in their previous transactions. "Now I'm working with them as a second or third generation. That's neat to see."

The company became a Prudential franchise in 1997, gaining more tools and resources than it had as an independent company. Dan Hendrick said it was a matter of gaining a competitive edge with the name recognition and reputation of Prudential behind their company.

"This is a very competitive business," he said. "If you're not leading the pack, you're way behind."

Bob Hendrick said keeping the family name in the name of the company adds a responsibility to do the best they can in order to keep the name respected and untarnished.

Dan Hendrick also takes that responsibility on in his work.

"I'm responsible for the third generation," he said. "All you have is your integrity and your name."

Whether it is in their business or personal lives, the Hendricks said they hold themselves and their employees to a high standard in order to respect Clyde Hendrick's legacy.

"We take that very seriously," Dan Hendrick said.

Though Bob, Janet and Dan Hendrick are the only members of the family who work at their company, Bob and Janet Hendrick also have a daughter, Sarah Turton, who works in commercial real estate in Detroit. The only member of their family without a real estate license, son Steven Hendrick, is a surgeon and also lives in Detroit.    

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