Last summer, my father in law (Chris) was fishing during high tide in the salt water marsh on Seabrook when a surly looking man rode by in a boat. He asked if Chris had caught anything. It seems that fishing in the marsh- just off of six ladies trail- is either hot or cold. Some days the red drum (and sea rays) will jump into your lap and some days you can’t get even a nibble. This was one of those “no bites” days, Chris replied that he wasn’t having any luck. The man said “Try one of these”, and kindly threw him a shrimp. Chris asked him where he got the shrimp. The man replied “Up at Rosebank Farms, ” and motored off.
We would later discover that the “Shrimp Santa Claus” was the man behind Rosebank Farms- Sidi Limehouse.
We have always enjoyed having Rosebank farms at the entrance to Seabrook. Before KDP built Freshfields Village, Rosebank was the main attraction outside the gate. They host various events throughout the year and advertise with large colorful roadsigns that keep us stopping at Rosebank’s to see what’s going on. My kids love visiting the “petting zoo” behind the produce market. Everyone’s favorite is the goat that climbs the spiral staircase to get some feed out of a dish that my kids can pulley to the top. Lately they’ve had a rolling Chicken Coup out on Bohicket Road that is full of chickens. We all agree that Rosebank Farms fits into the rural image of John’s Island and is a great place to stop and buy some fresh ingredients for dinner.
But recently more signs have popped up on the roadside. One reads something like “Wanted: Real estate agents to pick beans and ride hard on Escalades”. Clearly this is a jab at real estate agents who are suffering from the declining local realty market. I asked myself what this sign meant every time I drove by. At one point there were about five or six signs up and I thought all the signs were junking up the rural appeal of this quaint roadside farm. Apparently, I was not the only one!
About a week ago all the signs came down- literally laying on the ground. The next day I saw an article in the Post and Courier explaining the situation.It turns out the signs are part of a high stakes plan to develop a home tract next to Beachwalker County Park on a Kiawah Island spit. Limehouse is opposing the development and has formed a group of like minded people called Friends of Kiawah River. Supposedly, real estate agents who work in that area complained to the county that the signs violated county code. Limehouse pulled down all signs except for the one opposing the spit development. Kiawah Development Partners is in a court battle now to determine the outcome.
The county claims that they are now policing other sign violations in the area, (something they do a poor job of- if you’ve ever driven down Savannah Hwy) not just picking on Limehouse.
For the sake of community curb appeal, I am glad the signs are down. I don’t think I’ll be stopping in to apply for the bean picker job. With so many agents leaving real estate right now, I am sure the position is already filled!
As a young college student sitting in my business 101 class, one of the first lessons opined unto my sponge like brain from the professor was the argument of mixing politics with business. When the politics might affect your business it is appropriate to employ a Political Action Committee (PAC) to work behind the scenes in favor of your business’s politics. It is, however, never wise to use your business to express your political or personal views. Imagine if I put a big sticker across the back of my car and a banner on my website that read: I Vote Republican! This would alienate half (these days more than half) of my potential clients. I would in effect be saying that I don’t want to list houses that belong to democrats. Could you picture Wal-Mart (who spends millions on PAC) changing their signs from “Low Prices” to “Low Prices for Environmentalists”? Of course not…. that would be a horrible business model that would hurt sales.This is an interesting argument for Real Estate agents. The line gets blurry between branding yourself as “yourself” (i.e.–> a stand up citizen/ business professional/ dad/mom/ community volunteer/ PTA member/ “mayor” of your town) and not losing potential clients.
There are two arguments to this debate:
Church and State: There should be a wall between your business and your politics, and the business should never reflect your politics. Your clients don’t care, they don’t need to be exposed to your politics, and you do yourself (literally) immeasurable harm.
Out and Loud: While it is not necessary for every client to know all my politics, I am an activist in a cause that benefits from being not only “out” but “in your face” and failing to integrate these two aspects of who I am is an opportunity lost.
While these two arguments are at the opposite ends of the spectrum and there are many “in between” areas, these serve as starting positions to ask yourself- Where am I as a real estate agent? Am I losing commissions because my business and politics are bleeding together, or are my politics bringing me more like minded buyers and sellers than I can handle? This is something I would be interested to know what other agents have experienced. Maybe I’ll call Rose bank Farms and ask Sidi if more environmentalists have started buying shrimp since the signs went up! – Shawn Pillion