By Maralisa Marra
At Blackwell Realty Group, LLC, Duane Blackwell said he has the pleasure of assisting clients with finding land for them to build on as their realtor, drawing blueprints for their new homes as their custom designer, and then he can even step back up as their realtor to sell their previous home.
“I always had a dream of having an office that did all three things–design, build, and sell, so you could come to me, I could design your home, I could sell a home for you, or I could build it,” Blackwell said.
Blackwell Realty Group, LLC, includes a full-service real estate office, custom design and blueprint drawing, and residential contracting.
As founder and owner of October’s Business of the Month, Duane Blackwell has Shinnston’s best interest at heart and is eager to grow his business and community involvement for the betterment of the town and future generations to come.
Blackwell said, “I would like to thank the community and other business owners for welcoming me with open arms to this area, and I look forward to being a staple in the community for years to come. I have an open-door policy at the office. If you see my truck parked outside feel free to stop in and say hello anytime.”
Blackwell grew up in southern Harrison County. After attending Fairmont State University and meeting his wife Lisa, who is originally from Fairmont, they decided to settle down in the Shinnston area about 12 years ago with their daughters Kayla and Hope.
Blackwell said his wife worked at the local Huntington Bank before it closed down which allowed them to get acquainted with the community and make connections with local citizens.
“We attended a wedding at Jewel City Church,” Blackwell said. “And just really felt at home with the community and the church, so that pulled us here and we thought that’s [Shinnston] halfway between Fairmont, halfway between where I grew up, it’s the perfect place to set our roots, and I love the small-town atmosphere.”
After years of working from his home office and under a few brokers before attaining his own brokers license, Blackwell took the chance to finally open his own storefront in the Barrick Center in Shinnston at 401 S. Pike St. this past spring.
“My oldest daughter graduated from Lincoln, my youngest daughter is currently at Lincoln, so we just thought this is where we’re planting our roots. This is where we are raising our family and making a home for ourselves,” Blackwell said. “I want to have my office as close as I can and support Shinnston and be part of the community, so that was a big, big draw for me [to open the business in Shinnston].”
Blackwell holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from Fairmont State and a Master of Business Administration from West Virginia University which led to the formation of D-Blackwell LLC, a construction blueprint design company that Blackwell has been operating for the last 20 years.
He said, “While growing the custom blueprint design business, I decided to start a second career as a Licensed Realtor about 13 years ago. I really enjoy working with buyers and sellers.”
He also said, “I thought, if I’m designing someone’s home, they should trust in me that I know how it goes together and should be built.”
Blackwell Realty not only features work from Blackwell himself, but he has one agent signed on already, and he said he is looking to grow his team with either new agents looking to begin their career or seasoned agents searching for a new office.
Not only is Blackwell interested in serving his community through his design and realty expertise, but he is also a member of the Shinnston Development Authority where he hopes to help the community sell properties that can be rehabbed and work to bring developers and contractors to the city to help bring some businesses in, as well as to funnel clients and customers into town to make the city as best as it can be.
He also teams up with local business owner and dentist Andrew Minigh for the community Easter egg hunt. Blackwell said he and Minigh cosponsor the event.
“In the last five years we’ve done that together and have really taken it from 50 kids to three or 400 kids the last few years at the Shinnston Park, so that’s something we really have a heart for,” Blackwell added.
He is also excited about volunteering and helping out with the haunted house that the SDA is hosting at the city park this Halloween season.
“Here at Blackwell Realty Group, we treat every buyer and seller like family and turn every house into a home,” Blackwell said. “With over 30 combined years of experience in designing, selling, and constructing homes, (the company) has the expertise you need.”