Ribbon cutting

Town and county officials joined Vickie McDaniel for a ribbon cutting Thursday to celebrate the relocation of Gates Management and Realty, as well as Interiors by Vickie McDaniel. The intertwined businesses were also celebrating 25 and 30 years, respectively.

It turns out that real estate and interior designing go hand in hand.

That’s why Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens, Orange County Commissioners Chairwoman Renee Price and Town Commissioner Matt Hughes were among those on hand on Thursday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate 25th anniversary of Gates Management and Realty, along with the 30th anniversary of Interiors by Vickie McDaniel.

As visitors arrived to the new location on Thursday, they were greeted by a jazz band fronted by Dan Marcantonio.  

The ceremony was held inside of the new office location for both businesses at Orange Grove Street, where the companies moved to in December. Previously, Gates Management had been located on 120 South Churton Street.

“It took a lot of planning and preparation,” said realtor Gordon Baker. “We couldn’t lose a week of work with maintenance calls. So all the phones had to be moved and working. So did the computers.”

Gates Management and Realty was established in the early 1990s when McDaniel’s friend, Betsy Gates, decided they should go to real estate school. Gates was wheelchair bound.

“I told her she wanted a driver,” McDaniel said. “But she tried to convince me that real estate and interior design could work together. Since she knew everybody in Hillsborough because she grew up here and I had a good pair of legs, we’d make a great pair in real estate. So we went to school. She talked and I photographed and measured homes as we began our career under Paul Kemp, who was our broker-in-charge.”

After several successful years, Gates went on to purchase a small property management business from Jordan Properties out of Saxapahaw. Just as her new venture was getting off the ground, Gates was killed in a tragic accident at the corner of Churton and Tryon Streets while she was in her electric wheelchair.

McDaniel purchased the small business from Gates’ brother, Tom, which started the future of Gates Management and Realty. Since then, the company has quintupled in size.

“The moral of the story is that one never knows what lies in store for the future,” McDaniel said. “Friendships can change your mind about a subject and deaths can change your life direction. So from an English major to design to real estate, I evolved and so did Gates. We are your lifetime realtor.”

The new offices on Orange Grove Street means six new offices for the realtors. There’s also a showroom and a new lounge for the employees. In the previous location, there was one large office divided by cubicles and a conference room.

“Our file cabinets were mostly in a room without heat,” McDaniel said. “So this is much better.”

In fact, there’s more room for everyone, namely the customers.

“The number one thing is parking,” Baker said. “We have a lot of elderly folks who come in here. So it makes it better for them to come in right through the front door as opposed to having them find a place to park. That’s the biggest thing. It’s much more efficient and the employees have more privacy.”