Meet the Flavins
Family realty business now in its third generation
By Gena Latrell
Flavin Realty, founded over 40 years ago in Lake Charles, recently entered its third generation of family ownership.
Continuing a practice that began with founder Bill Flavin, Beau Flavin — son of second-generation co-owner Dan Flavin — purchased the business.
Dan, who bought the company from the founder, his father, until recently shared equal ownership of the business with his brother, Tim. Beau and Tommy Eastman now have 80 percent and 20 percent stakes in the company.
“Nothing is ever given to you in this world,” said Beau.
“The second something’s given to you, you take it for granted. With the risk and sacrifice — both financially and just the sweat equity — you certainly appreciate it more, and you work a lot harder for the organization.”
In the beginning
Flavin Realty was founded in April 1976 by William “Bill” Flavin, a native of Lockport, Ill. In 1952, he married Marilyn Condon.
He then began his engineering career in the Army and served in the Korean War. After that, he worked at Blockson Chemical Co. in Joliet, Ill.
In 1972, Bill was promoted and transferred to Lake Charles. Four years later, he was offered a promotion that would have moved him and his family to Buffalo, N.Y.; he turned it down, leaving the company he’d worked at for 22 years.
At dinner one night, Bill and friend Ed Blankenship, a former homebuilder, decided to enter the real estate business and — as equal partners — formed Blankenship Realty. They used Ed’s name because it was then more widely known.
“After two years — and this was the plan going in — my father bought him out,” said Tim.
“Dad and Mr. Blankenship were great friends, and Ed wanted to help get the business started. Then, Dad bought the business from him after that two-year period.”
The business then became Flavin Realty.
In the company’s 42 years, the Flavins said, they’ve never seriously considered leaving the business or moving the company’s headquarters.
“There’s never been any thought about moving away from Lake Charles, especially after marrying my beautiful wife of 33 years,” said Tim, laughing.
“I couldn’t move her down the street to Sulphur, let alone anywhere else. Sulphur’s fine, but there’s been no desire. We’ve always loved the area.”
“Same,” said Dan. “I’ve been married 38 years. I got lucky and married the right one — never had a thought of moving anywhere else.”
Eastman, Beau’s business partner, isn’t new to the area or the Flavin family. He became familiar with the Flavins when Bill asked Eastman’s mother-in-law to be a real estate agent at Flavin Realty. He started in the industry by partnering with her and about 10 years ago became sales manager.
“I have been with Flavin for 20 years,” Eastman said.
“They have been a part of the family, my extended family from the beginning. The week after I got married, I stayed with, not Beau, but all of his siblings, baby-sitting at Dan’s house. So that’s how close the families have been.”
Beau said his father and uncle will remain involved in the business but that “they just don’t make the decisions,” prompting laughter from Eastman and the other Flavins, who all sat for an interview with the American Press at the same time.
“No, I’m just kidding. They’re certainly going to be a sounding board for a lot of things that come through — they built this business really,” Beau said.
“They’ve done a fantastic job, and we certainly don’t want them going too far.”
Dan said that even at the age of 86 his father went to work each day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. “He loved the business,” Dan said. “He’d walk in my office or walk in Tim’s office anytime.”
“He was a great man,” Beau said. “The year that I worked here is awesome to look back on — the times I’d go sit in there and we would just talk. I’d walk in —,” he said, tearing up. “It was pretty cool.”
Tim said that the day after his father died — which was just two days after Bill had closed on a real estate deal — he and Dan gave their mother a check for the company.
“She teared up and said that he was still producing after,” said Tim, prompting more laughter.
In the future
Beau and Eastman said they have plans for the future of Flavin Realty.
“I think the foundation has been set with professionalism, integrity. When people think of Flavin, they think of those things,” Beau said.
“Those things, those core values, will never waver. In addition to that, we want to liven it up. We want to bring in a new website, more technology for the listing agents and new agents.”
Beau said he and Eastman want to hire agents who are professional in representing clients and are also “ready to have some fun.”
“It’s so important to us to continue what they have built,” Eastman said.
“But just like Beau was saying, we want to bring in new agents, younger agents, to take the company to the next level with technology.”
Asked if they thought Bill expected the company he founded to be this successful, his sons replied yes.
“I think he expected this,” said Dan.
“I think he expected it. He was a man of great faith, and because of that faith, he wanted to build something to be able to pass down in that way,” Tim said.
“That’s why it was so important for us to pass it to the third generation.”
Beau added: “It’s neat how it all worked out. This wasn’t my plan. It was God’s path. It’s just pretty cool, too.”