Serving Seattle With Excellence and Integrity
George Johnson arrived in Ballard during the Great Depression in the 1930s with very little money, but lots of ambition. Arriving from the family farm in South Dakota, he knew that the only way to get anywhere was to work, work, and work some more. George got his very first real estate license in 1936. At this time he split his attention by working a job on a dairy farm (on the site of what is now Viewlands Elementary) from before sun-up each day, then working a morning shift at a bakery, before attending classes at Seattle Pacific University (then college). Finally, in the late afternoon, he would get to sell real estate.
After college, he was kept busy for a year as teacher at an elementary school around White Center, commuting over the railroad-tie road that made up the downtown Seattle seawall in those days, and he continued to sell real estate in his spare time. After that year, he quit teaching to devote himself totally to the real estate business.
Over his first ten years selling real estate, George established himself as a leading realtor in the area. This led to George opening his very first real estate office in 1947 (pictured above, on the same land where the current office resides). Since that first sale, George built up a solid family real estate business that is respected both throughout the area and by his many real estate colleagues and associates in and around the Seattle area. A no-nonsense type of business, renowned for customer care and service, and for trying to do the impossible for its customers.
Those from Ballard, or people who frequently travel down 15th, will recognize the "Let George Do It" logo. Meant to represent George, the logo is a man in a hat, holding a pen at the ready. It was designed by an artist cousin of George's in the early 1950s, in lieu of payment for work. This was George's way. He had been looking for a way to set himself apart, "commissioned" the art, and the logo lives on to this very day. Its tag-line simply said, "Let George Do It," which is pretty much what the community of Ballard thought when referring to anything that remotely involved real estate.
Back in the early days there was no Multiple Listing Service (MLS), no Escrow companies, no house inspections. It was simply a case of closing the deals yourself. This is precisely what George did. He closed the deals himself. George was a founding member of the very first Listing Service in the Seattle area. Together with a small group of other real estate companies, he formed a "neighborhood listing service," where they pooled their information which helped to circulate the listed properties to more people in the area. This is how the very first Listing Service was born. It has since evolved into today's giant Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) which covers the entire state of Washington. So, next time you check out a listing that came from the NWMLS, spare a thought or two for George Johnson, as he had a hand in making this possible for you.
Time has moved on, of course, and so had the real estate industry. The big guys have gotten bigger, most of the smaller guys have gone...either bust, or swallowed up by the bigger guys. George Johnson Realtors still remains, independent and family-owned. George held the view that if you offered your customers a good honest deal, treated them decently and fairly, and carried out your business with integrity and values, there was no need to change the way you do business. George stuck with this theory all his life and is a shining example to others that the smaller can, and often does, win. He came to work six-days-a-week until just after his 98th birthday. We miss seeing his white hair (always dapper) in the front window, but are comforted to know that his values live on in the current office.
George's son, Bob Johnson, now owns the business and is steering the ship on its present course using the same traditional values as his father, George, but evolving the business into a 21st century company. His grandson Ryan Pederson, has also joined the team of agents to make this the fourth generation (George's father, Oscar, worked for him for a bit) to carry on the legacy.
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