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New Huntington realty firm builds on family tradition

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By JAMES E. CASTO
For The State Journal

A newly opened Huntington real estate firm, Bunch Real Estate Associates, has a name that should have a familiar ring to many local residents. After all, the members of the Bunch family have been selling real estate in the area for more than 75 years. 

Broker W.G. Bunch and his wife, Tracy Bunch, one of the Huntington area's top producing agents, have opened their new business at 2631 5th Street Road. In opening his new firm, W.G. Bunch is following in the footsteps of both his grandfather, Leland Bunch, and his father, William Bunch.

It was 1938 when Leland Bunch earned the family's first real estate license. It was the midst of the Great Depression and young Bunch badly needed work. Prohibition had just ended and he had his eye on a job at one of the new state liquor stores. So he asked fellow church member Paul Pancake Sr. of Pancake Realty if he would write Bunch a letter of recommendation for the job. 

"Why in the world would you want to work at a liquor store?" Pancake asked. 

Bunch said he really didn't want to do so but was desperate for a job. 

"If you studied and got your real estate license, you could come to work for me," Pancake said. 

Bunch took him up on his offer and became a highly successful Realtor.

In 1955, Bunch and veteran local Realtor Paul Chapman formed a partnership, the Chapman-Bunch Co. Four years later, they dissolved the partnership so that Bunch could form his own company, The Bunch Co. Realtors, where eventually his three sons — Fred, David and William — joined him.

Fred later left for a job in Washington, D.C., David branched out and formed his own company. Bunch Management Co., which continues in operation. In 1990, William opened Prudential Bunch Co. Realtors. His son, W.G. Bunch, joined him there in 2001.

 Now W.G. Bunch and his wife have struck out on their own. 

"Dad is still operating Prudential Bunch downtown, although he's taking things a lot easier than in the past," Bunch said.

Three experienced sales agents — Mike Ballard, Necia Freeman and Richard Singer — have joined the husband and wife team in their new venture. W.G. Bunch says the firm soon will be recruiting additional agents. 

"My goal is to bring three more agents aboard by the end of the year," he said.

The new firm's office offers a home search kiosk, a hospitality kitchen, two private consultation rooms, three large flat screens to showcase listings, a beverage station, wall prints of local interest photos taken by Tracy Bunch, and collaborative work space for sales professionals and staff.

 "The focus of the Bunch Real Estate Associates business plan is on the customer," W.G. Bunch said. "We go to great lengths to understand what buyers and sellers need and want, so we can meet those expectations. We are excited for 2014. 

"Our team has been involved in the Huntington area real estate market for a number of years, and our commitment is to help homebuyers find the right house without overpaying and work with home sellers wanting the best possible price for their home within their time frame."

Bunch Real Estate Associates can be reached at HuntingtonHomeBunch.com or 304-691-4402.