It is a fact that over the past 30 years there have been remarkable changes.
We began our business in 1978. Initially we sold real estate from our car on site in Ocean Dunes. The following year we built our tiny office as close to the road as possible, so that the occasional driver might be tempted to pull in and talk about buying property in Duck. Our office floorplan was a one bedroom house plan, a backup strategy in case the business didn’t succeed.
There were no grocery stores on the beach. None. Winks in Kitty Hawk had bread, milk, etc. We drove to Manteo, Grandy or Chesapeake for groceries.
The first oceanfront lots sold for $17,500. There are no numbers missing. That was the price and there was a lot of effort in persuading people to buy.
When we decided that we would need to get into the rental business we persuaded 4 families to give us a chance.
In 1979 there was Carolina Dunes, Sanderling and Sound & Sea Village in Duck and a new ribbon of asphalt into Ocean Dunes. The paved road ended after what is now the Sanderling. There was no paved road to Corolla. Almost every year after that there was a new road paved between highway 12 and the ocean. Communities like Sand Dollar Shores, Poteskeet, Tuckahoe and Nantucket followed. The value of property appreciated. We added a part time employee.
Packing for a vacation here meant packing linens and groceries, so cars were bulging at the seams and travelers erupted from the car when they arrived. There were knocks on our door in Ocean Dunes to borrow an iron or a mixer. Our kids were an amenity and many a vacationer knocked to announce that they were back to play. We set nets, shared fish, and taught many how to cook them. Gallop’s vegetable truck drove through the neighborhoods selling the bounty of summer. A ride on the tailgate was a highlight in the day.
In 1981, the first Twiddy & Company Realtors office was opened in Corolla. It was located in a small space next to Winks and the post office. We spent our time between Duck and Corolla and had native, Shirley Austin, man our Corolla location. In 1985, they paved the road to Corolla.
With every year we had hopes of turning a profit, but instead every year we added a new employee or expanded our offices. We reinvested in ourselves.
We have added on to the Duck office 5 times. This year, in November, we demolished the original structure. Many people arriving for Thanksgiving lost their bearings when we weren’t in our landmark spot. We are rebuilding hard and fast with a vision for 30 more years.
In Corolla, we operated out of the US Lifesaving Station that we moved to Corolla. We built our current office and then expanded that. We have 90 employees as well as our sales team.
In 2008, we represent over 770 homes in Duck, Corolla and in the 4 wheel drive communities of Swan, North Swan and Carova beach.
Our employees have become longtime contributors to our success. Each of our children has tended to linens, plunged toilets, cleaned houses, delivered air filters and entered data to help us succeed.
We are still a privately owned family business with the intent to go another 30.
Our employees work hard to extend the hospitality and integrity that we have always felt were valuable cornerstones. They are often at their best in the most difficult situations. We marvel at their talents and their commitment.
We celebrate this 30th year with wonder and pride that so much has occurred. We no longer have to explain to people where Duck is. We no longer have to loan irons or mixers.
Much change has occurred. We have all witnessed it.
The constant has been the ritual of a family vacation. Not much beats the anticipation of a week at the ocean. Sharing moments on vacation that collect family histories and speak of a life well spent.