By the time Virginia Cook Realtors officially shut down this week, the vast majority of agents from the firm’s six locations had already found new homes. Many of them were hesitant to talk about the experience out of respect for their former boss. Those who did generally shared the sentiment that they were saddened by the company’s demise but also grateful to find new firms that fit their personalities and business goals.
When Virginia Cook’s closure plans were initially revealed, search committees were formed at the Forest Lane and Park Cities offices to help agents decide where to go next. Representatives from multiple firms were then brought in to make their pitches.
Agent Chris Papazian decided on Dallas City Center in part because she preferred to work with a smaller, independent company. She considers herself a personal friend of Virginia Cook and, like many of her former colleagues, had no intention of ever leaving the firm. She’d even turned down multiple overtures from competitors. However, now that she has found her landing spot, she is optimistic about what the future holds.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am,” she said. “It’s an innovative office. (Dallas City Center President) Mike Miller is brilliant. I like the incredible team and staff he has put together.”
Dallas City Center also announced plans to acquire the Virginia Cook office in Sherman, with the intention of keeping all of its current team. It will operate under the name Paragon Realtors.
Among others who also chose to join independent firms were Johanna Davis, who went to The Standard Real Estate, and Nancy Martinez who recently started at David Griffin & Company.
“I just felt like our ethics and business M.O. are very similar,” Martinez said. “I knew it would be a very easy transition and I’m delighted to be here.”
Unsurprisingly, a large number of Virginia Cook agents decided to join some of the larger brokerages in Dallas. So far, 43 of them have moved to one of the three Ebby Halliday Brands in North Texas. Joining the Ebby’s Little White House were Doris Bonvino, Lindsay Craig, Arden Fitzgerald, Cathy Guasque, Whitney Kielwasser, Marty Marks, Neeta Olomu, Peachy Rudberg, Don Thomas, and Margot Tschantz. Candace Atkins went to Ebby Halliday Realtors’ Preston Center office.
Outside of Dallas proper, eight agents (Susie Costigan, Debbie Fellwock, Val Fenwick, John Hill, Laura Jeter, Dan Rieder, DeAnna Stratton, and Kerie Turner) went to the Ebby Preston Plano Parkway office. Other agents joining Ebby suburban locations were D’Ann Miller and Angie Graham (Frisco/Lewisville), Glee Jacobs (Frisco), Gayla Lowke and Karen Marti-Hale (Southlake). Williams Trew in Forth Worth welcomed Jan Aziz, Julie Castleberry, Lisa Jacobs, Ann Nayfa, Jennifer Nix, Ivey Ramsey, and Terri Silva.
Susan Melnick had worked with Virginia Cook for 20 years. She left for the Dave Perry-Miller’s Park Cities office less than a month before the closure was announced. When former colleagues later contacted her, she told them that her new company had the same family atmosphere that they once enjoyed at Virginia Cook, but with a bigger market presence. Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate’s centralized location and the Ebby luxury brand reputation were also important factors for her.
“I had 20 wonderful years with Virginia Cook and she was nothing but good for us,” Melnick said. “I also can’t say enough things about Dave Perry-Miller. It’s a fantastic company and the staff has really rolled out the red carpet for us.”
Joining Melnick at Dave Perry Miller’s InTown, Park Cities, Preston Center and Lakewood office are Bob Moran, Steve Nall, Jan Hayes-Keenan, Mackenzie Larch, Olga Salinas, Amanda Schulz, Soozie Bul, Ann Krug, Jessica Refakis, Tess Wood and Mark Pinkston.
Thirteen agents went to Allie Beth Allman & Associates, including Simone Jeanes, Bob Spurlock, Carolyn Pearson, Maureen Frieze, Stephanie Davenport, Laura Graves, Greg Pape, Lori Sparks, Mayo Redpath, Jill Noland, Pam Metzger, Rennie Meriwether, and Tric Sohosky. They joined former colleagues Kimberly Cocotos, Kristen Scott, Julie Haymann, and Lauren Savariego — all of whom joined Allie Beth between October 2019 and January of this year.
“We’re obviously saddened to see what transpired with Virginia Cook,” Allie Beth Allman & Associates General Manager Keith Conlon said. “Their culture matches up really well with our culture and the same boutique feel. Their agents are very professional, highly trained good people, and we think that the ones we added will be a good fit and do well with our brand.”
This story will be updated with future posts as we track Virginia Cook agents’ migration.