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Golden Anniversary: Hollinden Realty Business of the Year

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Schweizer Fest award presentation tonight at 7 p.m.

By Eric Whittaker

TELL CITY – Hollinden Realty celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has been named Business of the Year for Schweizer Fest.

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Founded in March of 1969, Hollinden Realty was started by Jim Hollinden on 12th Street across from the Tell City Jr-Sr High School. This was Jim’s second business venture, having already started Tell City Builders, a construction company performing work in the area.

When he opened the real estate business, Jim industriously manned the first office by himself.

His son, Tony Hollinden, now operates the business with help from staff.

Tony remembers being about 13 years old when his father started the construction company.

“Until I went to college,” he said, “I did menial labor at the construction sites. All the brothers were involved with the construction and realty,” he regaled. “We all did things like mowed the grass and cleaned houses.”

Growing up in a construction and real estate household prompted Tony to focus on real estate and business administration in college.

In 1978, Tony returned from Indiana State University to assume duties as managing broker. By then, the realty office had moved from 12th Street to Main Street into the Schreiber’s Drugstore complex, a location the business would be in for eight years.

“We were big shots in a fabulous office,” Tony jested, but after he worked there for about a year, the optometrist across the street lost his office to fire and needed a new site immediately.

The Hollindens gave up their building to the optometrist and moved to a newly renovated office at 715 Main St.

Withheld from others, the office had been renovated by his brother, Jeff, who had returned from university in 1979. Jeff wasn’t long for the business, however, and left the area for Saudi Arabia, later settling in Houston, Texas.

Later, the Schreiber Drugstore complex also burned. Now the Old National Bank drive-through automated tellers sit on that corner.

Tony has run the realty business along with his parents and a competent staff at the 715 Main St. location ever since.

In the 38th year of business, Tony’s parents, Jim and Mary, were recognized as Distinguished Citizens of the Year. But they are not the only members of the Hollinden family to have won Citizen of the Year, as Tony also received the honor in 2012.

Besides the recognition he and his parents received, he also stated, “I want to acknowledge the wives, moms and friends who’ve kept the ship running. They’re the ones who handle the ads and talk with clients,” explaining that the business wouldn’t keep going without their contributions.

“This is a different type of life,” he explained. “Everything is done on commission, and for the last 41 years I’ve received no weekly check.”

“The important thing my dad told me,” Tony said, “is ‘staying active in the community by helping the community. The more you get out and meet people, the more recognized you will be and maybe they will work with you.’”

Once he started joining organizations and working with the community, he realized “it’s fun being with friends and I’m very much enjoying it.”

Tony is part of the Arts Council, Perry County Wellness and has been the Schweizer Fest Talent Show announcer for several years.

In his office is also a bass guitar he plucks at in his spare time. Tony performed at the Edelweiss ball with Danny Bolin’s band, the Honky Tonk Villas. Tony stated he’s practicing songs from the set of bands from the original Woodstock lineup and has prepared 11 of the list. “I’m the guy people know,” Tony explained in reference to his participation with Bolin’s band, where he will fill in a needed bass guitar position.

Bass guitar isn’t the only pass-time, but being active is a way of life for Tony. Hanging from the walls in his office is a collection of medallions from various half-marathons and marathons he’s collected over the years. “I’ve gone out by myself all the way to Louisville to run a half-marathon,” he said, “but now people have joined in a group (and we run together). It’s a morale booster.”

 

Tony Hollinden credits the longevity and success of Hollinden Realty with the people that have worked for and with him down through the years. Some of those people are:

Former employees of Hollinden Realty:

James Hollinden, Jerry Sawlers, Bill Goffinet, Louis Ludwig, Hauk Stowe, Bill Reid, Tony Collignon, Jerry Richter, Darryl Iwin, Goldie Hollinden and Brian Melton.

Current Realtors are:

Joyce Stath, Rich Newton, Marti Tichnor, Kelly Hollinden, Betty Cash, Rita Marcilli, Susan Ubelhor and Chris Cail.

Current office staff includes, Barbara King, Lisa Lutring, Phyllis Schaefer, Rhonda Hollinden and Martha Aders.