Business

New owners of Windermere San Juan Island: Gary Franklin and Scott family of Skagit Valley

Gary Franklin, broker of Windermere San Juan Island, is joining forces with the Scott family of Anacortes and Mount Vernon to buy Windermere San Juan Island in Friday Harbor.

John Dunning, who owns the Windermere office on Orcas Island, is the seller. He will retain ownership of Windermere San Juan Island's vacation rental business. He also owns commercial real estate in La Conner.

The sale takes effect Monday. Dunning would not disclose the terms.

Franklin will continue as managing broker of Windermere San Juan Island, the position he’s held since 2007. He and the Scotts have negotiated a new lease for Windermere's office at First and Spring streets.

The Scotts own and operate Windermere offices in Anacortes and Mount Vernon.

“The stars aligned just perfectly,” Franklin said in a press release. “John Dunning was ready to focus on his new vacation rentals business and the Orcas Windermere office, the Scotts were looking for new opportunities, and I have wanted an ownership role for several years.“

Jim and Mary Scott opened a real estate office in Mount Vernon in 1977 and have been Windermere owners since 1989. Sons Josh and Nate manage the Mount Vernon office and the Anacortes office respectively, and daughter Megan O’Bryan is benefits manager and an active sales agent.

“We are delighted to join Gary in the Friday Harbor office,” Jim Scott said.

“Over the years, Gary and John have worked hard to build a very successful office. The agents are experts in the island’s real estate market, and are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the complex issues that affect buying and selling island real estate. Additionally, they’re all wonderful people who are committed to the island community, which is an important part of the Windermere, and our family’s, philosophy."

The Scotts will visit the local Windermere office Friday afternoon.

Dunning said the sale of Windermere San Juan Island will free him up to devote more time to his mother, who is 91 and lives in Seattle, as well as his other business interests.

"I've been working awfully hard," he said today in an interview with The Journal. "I just came to the conclusion that I am spread too thin. I was sharing that with Jim Scott and he said, 'Gosh, we'd be interested." Dunning said the Scotts were interested in the Friday Harbor Windermere, not Orcas.

"It's a real positive thing for Gary," Dunning said. "He's been the designated broker for a year and a half. He's now a full-fledged owner of the business. The Scotts are legendary in the Skagit Valley area. They're great people and (the sale) gives the agency a new burst of energy."

Dunning bought Windermere San Juan Island on Jan. 1, 1997. He built the uptown location now occupied by Compass Health, then in 2003 merged the uptown and downtown offices in the new Friday Harbor Center at Spring and First streets.

While the terms of sale were not disclosed, Dunning said the purchase of his business — and any associated debt it creates — during a slow market aren't causes for concern.

"I don't think it will be a challenge for them. (The Scotts) are quite dominant in their market. They've been in business for 32 years. Jim Scott is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. They are capable of doing anything they need to do."

Franklin has an anthropology degree from the University of Houston and worked as an underwater archeologist for the State of Texas and the National Park Service in San Francisco. He and his wife, Toni, moved to San Juan Island in 2001.

Franklin was director of the San Juan Historical Society before joining Windermere. Toni, a photographer, works for Home Port Flooring & Design.

Community Events, April 2014

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