Following the lead of prior generations, the Williams family builds a business that enhances Mooresville
What gets you up and out of bed every morning? At first that sounds like an easy, casual kind of question, but in reality, it is a pretty deep and challenging question. When first posed with that question, real estate entrepreneur Shane Williams simply said he was a blessed, happy person. But then he stopped and after a moment, he said, “Really, we are trying to find ways to expand out. Maintaining and growing, looking for continuous improvement and expansion; that’s a challenge, but a great adventure, too. You want to build on, but you want to build it right. I guess hunting opportunities and the puzzle of it all. That’s what I really enjoy.”
Beside him daily is his wife, Rebecca. She says, “I enjoy being a helpmate, supporting Shane in what he’s doing, being part of the family and helping.”
Williams Rental Properties, LLC is a family business that is currently owned and operated by Shane, Rebecca and his parents, Tim and Pamela (Wilcher) Williams. His grandparents, Curt and Rosemary Wilcher were also owners until their deaths four months apart in 2010 and 2011.
At the time they started the business, the family was looking for a business that would fit their situation and the town was very important to them. Shane says, “(Real estate) gave us an opportunity to make a living and give back. You can be a landlord and provide value and enhance the town and provide a service that’s needed.”
He added, “We are a family that works together and plays together,” Shane says. “We trust each other. We share Christian values and a viewpoint that makes you want to give back and aspire to a higher purpose.” So with his experience in banking and his education in business, they decided to work together and begin buying and managing real estate.
The four owners are in daily contact as each contributes their talents to make the enterprise run smoothly. The business is structured to play to each owner’s strengths. Pamela handles maintenance and repair issues. Tim handles the myriad of little details that must be taken care of and errands that are necessary. Rebecca helps with bookkeeping, property selection, rehab and design and Shane takes care of the business side regarding property purchases, financing, leasing, insurance, taxes and the like.
Entrepreneurship is the path Shane says he always knew he would follow. “I see something noble in working for yourself. I have always respected someone who is able to make a living.” He enjoys the variety of responsibilities, being the boss, the employee, the entrepreneur all at the same time. “You are in control of your destiny.”
Rebecca was exposed to small business ownership growing up in Connecticut and the Boston area. Her grandfather owned a gas and service station. Although she is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked for others and in her own practice, she says being part of a family business suits her. She says the hours are flexible and there is less stress so it has been good for her health.
Shane has had role models to follow. Grandpa Curt told Shane that the best combination for business success is common sense and education. So Shane paid great attention to what Grandpa and his fellow business men did. He went to college at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan and grad school at Butler gaining degrees in marketing and business management.
Education cemented his knowledge, but experiences as a youth molded his beliefs and values. He says he grew up in the time when his grandparents, the Wilchers, were part of a group of civic-minded business owners that contributed to the community. Long-time Mooresville residents, the Wilchers owned the Ford dealership from the 1960s until 2000. But Curt, the man who bought, fixed up and sold cars during high school wasn’t ready to retire, so he went back to his beginnings opening and operating a used car business until he was in his late 70s.
That work ethic and dedication to community, Shane says, contributed to how the people in (Grandpa’s) generation made the town what it is today. Because of their cooperative efforts to build successful businesses, infrastructure, housing and community, Mooresville grew. They bolstered the town and provided services and products.
Now, Shane feels that it is important for him and his generation to follow their lead and continue to move Mooresville and Morgan County forward. During his grandfather’s day, Shane says there were little connections in a small town that helped each other get started. Today there are more businesses and longer work days. But collaboration to build each other and the town is still possible.
“I believe you have to be successful where you are,” Shane says, “You have to know where you’re from and where you want to go. Together we can build even greater camaraderie and improvements in the town and for everyone in it. I want everyone to be successful.”Download the full September 2014 Edition here.