Beachy Beach. Go ahead, say it a few times. You have to smile. It’s a Real Estate company with that happy little beach hut logo, also known as “the hut.” The two women behind the contagious spread of that little hut logo, Hilary Farnum and Karen Smith, united a little over three years ago.
On the outside, the Ying and Yang of Beachy Beach 30A and Destin, could not look any more different. Hilary stands over a foot taller than her 4’10 business partner Karen. Hilary, is fast talking and sleek in a pencil skirt and a force on the tennis court while Karen’s best sport is shopping, and talks with an southern drawl, often calling you “Sweetie” whether you like or not. But on the inside, these two are cut from the same cloth, tenacious, headstrong problem solvers, both just crazy enough to start not one, but two new companies when everyone else was still in recovery mode.
Beachy Beach nation, as it wore, was born a few years back in Panama City Beach. And not in the easiest of times, Smith signed the lease for the Beachy Beach building a day before the BP Oil Spill.
Fast forward to 2011 when Hilary, a Real Estate veteran and top seller for the 30A community of WaterSound Beach met Karen Smith, broker and owner of Beachy Beach Real Estate on the western end of Bay County.
Smith and Farnum got to know each other when the two were part of one of those Real Estate deals that would make most people’s skin crawl, but not them. With a little bit of compromise and creativity they got the deal done. After this particular deal, they kept running into each other’s paths. It became clear they had a shared worked ethic, Smith saying, “Until I met Hilary, I had never met anyone that worked as hard as I did. She is unstoppable, I love that about her.”
Farnum, with her background with St. Joe, was an expert in Resort amenity communities like Watercolor and WaterSound and one of the top producing Realtors in Walton County while Smith was just as successful in Bay County, even being named 2011 Broker of the Year by the Bay County Association of Realtors. As the line between Walton and Bay County was becoming grayer, i.e. as the Eastern corridor of 30A and the Western end of Panama City Beach was growing, the two realized they were on to something if they joined forces.
Though it is Hilary or Karen who you will see most of the time, the two both credit their husband’s Chad and Hugh, respectively for keeping it all together behind the scenes so they can do what they do best, and that is going full throttle.
As a result of their tenacity, Smith and Farnum have been able to attract several high profile agents for their Walton County and Okaloosa County offices, which helped them increase their total sales volume for all offices by over 65 million dollars in 2013.
In addition to sharing a fighting spirit, both Smith and Farnum share a spirit of generosity, the company routinely gives money and volunteer to local charities, most significantly Food for Thought Outreach in Santa Rosa Beach. Beachy Beach became one of the first local businesses to offer Food for Thought annual support and they hope more South Walton businesses join suite. Next month, Beachy Beach 30A will unveil www.hutwear.com which will not only sell “Beachy” merchandise but will sell goods that will directly benefit Food for Thought, and thus help decrease food insecurity in our area.
Farnum and Smith have an equal desire to use their success in business to affect positive change, both power house women are moved by the Dale Carnegie quote, “The only people we have to get even with in life, are those that have helped us.”
It is this generous spirit that has helped grow the Beachy Beach companies into a gathering place for happy, smiling Realtors that just can’t get enough of that little hut.