Steve and Karen Means are an interesting and funny couple. They complement each other and know how to make each other smile. They always seem happy and fun to be around. They have a way of making you feel like you've known them for a long time. Their story is engaging.
Karen and her family moved from La Crosse, Wisconsin to Gadsden, Alabama when she was 7 years old. Steve was born and raised in Gadsden where his roots go back for many generations. They first met when Karen applied for the position of Administrative Secretary for the City of Gadsden in 1976. Steve was the newly elected Mayor of Gadsden and would serve as the Mayor for 28 years. The Mayor made the final decision on hiring all new employees. Karen was the top choice of the Personnel Director for the position. The Mayor (Steve) said he didn't think she could do the job . The Personnel Director went to the Mayor's Administrative Assistant and together they (politely) told the Mayor he was wrong. Karen got the job. A decade later they were married and have just celebrated their 34th Anniversary. Steve noted that much has changed. "Now, she gives the orders and I am her assistant" he said with a chuckle.
They described their married life together with two simple words, "A Blessing". Proof that 'opposites attract'. Karen is the handyman around the house making sure that everything is in good repair while Steve is busy cooking supper. For Christmas, Steve gave Karen tools and she gave him a sauté pan. They love to travel but Karen says their real estate work keeps them pretty close to home. Steve quickly reminded her that he has taken her to many exciting and wonderful places like Rome (GA), Berlin (OH), and even Madrid (VA). Karen's passion is her family, church, civic work, taking care of her house and yard, real estate and of course her children, grand children and great grandchildren. Steve loves fishing, tending his vegetable garden, cooking and music. He started his first band when he was fifteen. They are both active in the Gulf Shores Methodist Church.
Karen loves being a realtor. "It's so much more than listing and selling property" she said. "It's an opportunity to help people. Selling or buying a home is a big deal. We work with young people who are busy and raising their family, and older people wanting to make life a little easier with less house and property to maintain. We learned early on that one thing is constant: everyone wants a realtor that is honest, committed and hard working. Everyone wants to feel like you are their one and only client".
Speaking of clients, Steve and Karen say it's their goal to not work with "clients" but with "friends". Steve believes that while clients "come and go", friends last forever. They maintain contact with hundreds of people long after being their realtor. Over half of their sales come from referrals from past clients to current friends.
Having visited the Gulf Shores area for decades, vacationing and attending conferences, Karen and Steve moved here almost 9 years ago. Both agree they wish they had come sooner. Karen said "It was sad leaving our friends and home, but we decided it was time to make a new home and new friends."
Steve adds, " We decided it was time to start our "4th quarter" in life. "What better place to find new opportunities, new friends and new excitement? Where else in Alabama can you watch the Gulf kiss the sky at some distant horizon? The beautiful beach, the seagulls, pelicans and sandpipers flying overhead...the soothing sound of the waves breaking on the shore, experience the glorious sunrise and sunset? We hope to get to the original Paradise when life is over but for now this is second best! We love this area, our community and it's people."