Back in the old days -- the 1960s -- this Anne Arundel community a few miles north of Annapolis was a small village where everyone knew everyone and real estae contacts were made at the local drug store.
Dramatic changes in the county over the past decade, however, brought new residents lacking in local ties. Suddenly, there were limitless opportunities triggered by growth. And along came Chris Coile.
"I love to sell," Coile said. "I used to sell door-to-door -- Christmas cards, seeds, you name it. In high school and college, I sold shoes. But I wanted to sell something a little larger."
What else but houses? In October 1967, he "stumbled" into the real estate office of Charles Steffey, the largest in town. "I related well to young people," said Coile, who sold $1.5 million in real estate his first year.
In a year, Coile had opened his own office, and in 1970, he was a fullylicensed broker at 25 and Chris Coile & Associates was in business. Now the largest real estate company in Anne Arundel, the Coild firm has 17 offices from Crofton to Chestertown in Maryland and as far away as Littleston, Pa.
Last year, Coile's 240 full-time agents sold $176 million in real estate -- 21 percent of the market in Anne Arundel. Most of the transactions handled by the agents involved resale houses. This year's goal of $240 million in sales is "on target," Coile said. Seven new offices have just opened, ringing the Baltimore Beltway. The Washington suburbs of Prince George's and Montgomery counties are already targeted for 1981, and an application for a District corporate license is in the mail.
What makes Chris Coile grow?
"He's amazing to be around," gushes his secretary, Dixie MacMurray. "He really motivates. He's always up. He never loses his temper, he's always happy. He even sings in the office."
Such tributes aside, the theme of a $150,000 Chris Coild media campaign, about to get underway, suggests another answer: "You've got to keep moving forward if you want to stay on top."
Coile sprang from modest roots. He grew up in Glen Burnie, a high school pole-vaunting champ whose mother sold real estate. (She now works for her sonn, in the Annapolis office, and among the top 30 agents in terms of property sales.)
Coile worked his way through Penn State playing the guitar and piano. After he finished college, he landed a job in Florida mannaging a music company and married Susan Schuyler, a high school art teacher whose job later brought them back to Anne Arundel and him to real estate.
Coile is still a part-time musician and has a bank, all of whose members are in real estate. Echoing the Coile corporate motto, the group is called "Chris Coile and the Personal Touch." The band will be playing Friday at a $20-a-person fund-raiser for Chris Coile's favorite charity: the Chris Coile Scholarship Fund.
"We were looking for a way to do something for the county, since we do a lot of business here," Coile said. "We're very education-oriented. It probably goes back to when I couldn't get a scholarship and didn't have any damn money. If kid wants to go to school, we'll get him there one way or another."
Last year, Chris Coile & Associates gave 28 scholarships of $285 each to Anne Arundel Community College. The goal this year is "40 or so," and Coile hopes to reach an even 100 in a year or two.
Chris Coyle, president last year of the Anne Arundel Board of Realtors, just turned 34.
While Coille makes plans to to move into the Washington market in two years, the Washington market is moving to him as more and more of its residents look to Anne Arundel for affordable housing, waterfront lots and rural land on which to build.
"The hottest area right now is around Davidsonville," Coile said.
Chris and Susan Coile, now a painter and weaver live in a stone house they built on several acres jutting into the Severn at Arnolld, Md. It has wooden beams and antique furnishings. It is a product of the Chris Coile Construction Corp., part of the Coile conglomerate.
The construction firm has built two small shopping "strips" -- really several stores built next to each other -- and 30 scattered single-family homes.
There is also Chris Coile Property Management, which handles 120 Coileowned units, a Chris Coile Training Center, a Chris Coile Relocation Division, Chris Coile New Homes, Chris Coile Advertising. They are all located here in the Chris Coile Building, the three-story brick structure that is corporate headquarters.
But not for long. "We've outgrown the administration building," Coile said. So a four-story office is being built a few blocks away, says the man who found a new frontier in his old backyard.