When someone calls the office for Harold or William, the Tuttle brothers are likely to let it ring. They know it is someone making a “cold” sales call, someone who knows nothing about their business or, they joke, the government looking for money.
The Tuttles seldom use the first names on their North Carolina birth certificates. In the real estate business, at home or in the community, they are Skip and Bryan.
They are so well know that they recently ended a 15-year affiliation with the national real estate firm Coldwell Banker. Ironically, the brothers became an affiliate company because they were concerned outsiders coming to the region wouldn’t know who the Tuttles were.
But over the past 30 years, the Tuttle Company, a commercial real estate firm, has developed a reputation based on fulfillment of promises, keen business acumen and a commitment to community. It is a reputation that extends beyond York County throughout the Charlotte region.
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The brothers have played a major role in shaping the commercial and residential development of York County – $800 million of commercial property added to the area’s tax base, 3,000 new home lots and $1 billion in sales transactions.
Their work has put York County among the top three locations in the Charlotte region for commercial real estate activity, Bryan said. And it has earned York County a seat at the table among the movers and shakers seeking to develop Charlotte.
The brothers admit it hasn’t always been easy. Bryan remembers the times when prospects came “kicking and screaming” to York County. The perception was that there wasn’t anything to see south of the North Carolina border.
Despite the risk of starting a business, it was something the Tuttles were committed to try.
Skip Tuttle tested the commercial real estate environment first. He came to Rock Hill as vice president of finance at Winthrop, recruited by then-president Charles Vail, who Tuttle had worked with at Georgia State. Tuttle had earned master’s and doctorate degrees in “land, economics and urban affairs, which is real estate,” from Georgia State.
“I had an itch to put my degree to work,” Skip said. In 1986 he opened one of the first commercial real estate firms in York County. Two years later Bryan, who was the director of corporate real estate development and acquisitions for the Marriott Corp. and had previously worked for Hardee’s, joined his brother.
The brothers make a good one-two combination, Bryan said. “My greatest weaknesses are his greatest strengths.”
Rock Hill businessman Gary Williams, who recently stepped down as president of the Williams & Fudge collection agency, said, “Skip is the master of projections, getting the numbers right, and Bryan is more the salesman, the relationship builder. They are the cornerstones of good development.”
Williams has frequently partnered with the Tuttle Company and is an investor in one of its latest ventures, turning the former Woolworth store site on Main Street in downtown Rock Hill into a retail/apartment complex.
The firm offers a variety of services. It is a broker. It is a developer. It is a project manager. It is a property manager. Some deals involve just a single aspect; others involve a combination of services.
“The different functions compliment each other,” Skip said.