Sumner realtor combines business with community service

Gary Gray

As a real estate agent for the last 15 years, Gary Gray has tried to fold his passion for art, poetry and community service into his career.

Now, as the head of his own company, Sozo Realty, Gray is looking forward to building a company culture around community as well as business.

“We practice real estate, but we wrap it around what we’re passionate about,” Gray said.

Sozo Realty has been operating out a Cherry Street building in Sumner for the last month and a half, but just had its grand opening last Thursday.

Gray’s goal is not just to operate a realty brokerage, but to get his agents and future clients involved in the Sumner community.

He calls the program “Sozo Moti” (moti being short for motivation).

Gray said the program is going to focus on realty training, not for his agents but for his clients, both in and out of a business setting.

Working with people in transitional housing is an example Gray gave.

“There’s broken families, abused families, maybe recovering alcoholics – we’ll have an opportunity to mentor or coach them… helping them transition back into society, whether that’s a business plan or a Dave Ramsey piece for financial planing,” Gray said. “We’re not counselors, so we don’t say we counsel, but we give guidance.”

Community meetings surrounding home ownership are also something Gray wants to get going.

One of his agents, he explained, wants to start a curriculum around home buying for first-time home buyers.

“There’s different phases – the preparation phase, the ‘let’s go’ phase, meaning your credit is good and you understand the buying process, and the ‘let’s do it again’ phase,” said Gray. “We’re stretching that so we can go out into the community with college students, or whoever, that needs financial guidance and structure.”

“Whether you do business with us or not, this is what you have to get in line,” he continued. “This is how the process works. This is how the buying process works.”

At the moment, Gray plans to be holding these seminars in community places around Sumner, like coffee shops, but eventually wants to move Sozo Realty into a building that can accommodate that class-like structure, possibly including its own baristas and coffee service.

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