In a time when women were a rare sight in the workplace, Joanne Howle, was boldly and graciously carving out a future for herself and her family. The local real estate icon is a household name in McDowell County and has been helping people settle in here for the last 40 years.
The Chamber of Commerce, local dignitaries, agents, and friends gathered on October 10th at Joanne Howle Realty to celebrate the work and life of a woman that has had a lasting and impactful impression on the local business community. Steve Jones, who currently owns the agency, honored Joanne with a framed custom work of art of the little stone building that bears her name and her trademark butterfly. "I've always loved butterflies," Joanne says. "It's become very memorable."
Joanne and her family have deep roots here in Marion. She and her husband Bill Howle started Marion Pharmacy in the 1960s and remains family-owned. The pharmacy quickly became a success and continues to this day as Marion's leading pharmacy, says Steve. "The pair learned that superior customer service and cutting-edge technology were keys to success, he says. Steve expressed his gratitude for the example that Joanne set for him and the rest of the staff about the importance of really taking care of customers.
She obtained her real estate license in the 1970s when women did not share equal footing with their male counterparts in real estate, Steve recalls. "When Joanne approached the local Century 21 office, the owner asked, "What does Bill think about this?", which didn't sit well with Mrs. Joanne. In her competitive and entrepreneurial spirit, Steve says, she just decided to open her own company and it didn't take long before Joanne was outselling the "big boys!"
"Joanne's steady leadership and mentorship have formed the foundation for the steady growth of Joanne Howle Realty," says Steve. Friends, family, and fellow business owners including Freddie Killough were quick to share stories and thank Joanne for setting the bar high and being such a strong example of integrity and grace in business.
Steve was very humble and grateful for the opportunity Mrs. Howle afforded him and to work alongside her now, as were all the agents. Flavors on Main was on hand with a delightful spread of olives, cheeses, and crackers and the Chamber gifted Steve and Joanne with a carved cutting board with the logo and butterfly from Flavors on Main and imprinted by Dart Sign & Trophy on Main.
For more information on Joanne Howle Realty, give them a call at 652.6455 or stop by the office at 301 N. Main Street.