The Saratoga Sun -

Barkhurst builds business

Newly elected county commissioner starts White Stone Realty in Saratoga

 

January 2, 2019

Joshua Wood

Byron Barkhurst works with new assistant Rachel Biernacki at White Stone Realty.

Byron Barkhurst is already a familiar face in the Valley. The son of Les and Tammy Barkhurst, he helps his parents manage the family ranch and aided in starting Iron Creek Bison Company. Barkhurst also led a successful campaign for the two-year unexpired term on the Board of Carbon County Commissioners (BOCCC) and has worked for ERA Shepard and Associates and Century 21 Cornerstone Realty in the past. It was these two past ventures that eventually led him to his most recent endeavour.

Located at 116 W. Bridge Ave., White Stone Realty, LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) is among the newest businesses to join the ranks of realty companies in Carbon County. Barkhursts' journey began nearly nine years ago when he and his wife, Wendy, invested in a handful of multi-family properties in Rawlins.

"In 2010, Wendy and I started investing in multi-family properties over in Rawlins and we hired, over the course of about six years, several different property managers. Lo and behold, I ended up managing them because I felt like I was needing to be more attentive to the tenants," said Barkhurst. "In the process of investing, I had the idea to get my real estate license."

According to Barkhurst, it was one of his property managers that initially suggested the idea. After some initial skepticism, the Valley resident decided to pursue a real estate license and began working for ERA. Following some time there, Barkhurst had a period of two months in which his license was inactive.

"Carolyn Terry approached me when she purchased Century 21 and asked me if I'd be interested in doing their Ag and Land Division," Barkhurst said.

Barkhurst was interested and began working with Century 21. Ever since obtaining his license in 2013, Barkhurst had wanted an office and that desire followed him through his time at ERA and Century 21. When the opportunity arose to strike out on his own, he took it.

"A year and a half ago, I tried to get the office open with a franchise company that is outdoor enthusiast related. In about March, we formed our LLC and had nearly finalized the process on that franchise agreement and something happened at corporate and they kind of pulled the rug out from under us. I had to go in and rebrand, rename, re-everything before we'd even launched," said Barkhurst.

Not allowing himself to be dismayed by the turn of events, Barkhurst made the decision to obtain his broker's license, which he successfully did on May 28, just days before entering the race for the two-year unexpired term on the BOCCC. Barkhurst chose the name White Stone Realty, LCC for his company, a name that has two different meanings for him.

"The first meaning is really personal to me and it's actually scriptural. The second meaning is Medicine Bow Peak. It towers above Lake Marie and it's white and it's stone and it just kind of came together," Barkhurst said.

Having as many irons in the fire as he does, which now includes being a member of Carbon County's governing body, Barkhurst realized he couldn't do it all himself - especially while having an office in downtown Saratoga. So, he reached out to Rachel Biernacki.

"I was really intrigued, because I had never really done real estate, so to speak. I've done the administrative assistant and stuff like that, but I've never really done real estate. Then, when I thought about it some more, I was excited," said Biernacki.

According to the newest member of the White Stone team, she was hired in November, her previous experience in administrative assistance comes from working as the assistant to the CEO of a lumber broker. Going from lumber to real estate is a bit of a learning curve, but according to Biernacki, Barkhurst has been more than helpful in getting her up to speed.

"It's been awesome. I've already learned a ton about it. Byron's been really helpful about setting me up with the tools to learn," Biernacki said.

With White Stone Realty joining the ranks of eight other such companies in Carbon County, there must be something that sets it apart from the other realty companies in the area. As far as Barkhurst is concerned, he believes his honesty and integrity add that competitive edge.

"I think that, for me, the idea was to start a company that's based on integrity and honesty. That when you walk in the door that you know you're going to be treated fairly. That we're here to serve the people," said Barkhurst. "I think what does differentiate us is the honesty and integrity, the service - taking care of people, working for them - we're technically just here to assist."

Barkhurst also believes he brings something new to the table not just for potential customers, but for potential team members as well.

"I wanted to build a brokerage where the team that was involved were all successful, especially financially. A lot of brokerages are setup where the splits with their agents is 50/50. Our split is much different and it is agent driven. The agents have the better split starting, they have opportunity at some point throughout the year, based on their volume, to actually have 100 percent compensation," Barkhurst said.

Currently, White Stone operates 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. With Biernacki adding a new team member herself, Barkhurst will be keeping the office hours while she is on maternity leave. Those interested in White Stone Realty can look at their Facebook page or visit their website at www.whitestonerealtycompany.com.

 

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