40 Years Strong: The Noel Jones Brand

Noel Jones and David Gillham

The hair was long, the pant legs wide, there was a Holden in every second driveway and the average median house price in Melbourne was $ 37,0001*. The year was 1977. It was around this time, Noel Jones decided to leave his job at Williams & Co Real Estate in Glen Iris and branch out on his own.

Throughout his twenties, Noel Jones held jobs in banking, finance and sales. A growing family and a desire for something better drove him to look for his own business opportunity. Friend David Blain, who owned a real estate agency in Mount Waverley, invited Noel to come down from Bendigo, where he was currently living, to join him. Within the first week, Noel was ‘sold’ on the real estate industry and never looked back.

With plenty of business smarts behind him, Noel knew from the outset he would eventually run his own agency. While working at Williams & Co in Glen Iris in 1976 he saw an opportunity to purchase the building he was currently working out of – 1509 Malvern Road, Glen Iris. This was to become home to the first Noel Jones office. Within weeks Noel had hired sales agents and was on his way to taking on the well-established, elite agencies that reigned over the south-eastern suburbs.

Within a year Noel had enticed rival agent Mike Wilkins to come on board under the agreement he could own his own business while trading under the Noel Jones Real Estate licence. This later progressed to a partnership between the two and the company went from strength to strength, franchising a total of 13 offices across suburbs such as Armadale, Caulfield, Hawthorn, Elsternwick, South Yarra, Carnegie, Balwyn, Bentleigh, Clifton Hill and Doncaster.

In 1984 Noel decided he would step back and semi-retired to sunny Queensland. It was during this time that David Gillham (currently the Director of the Camberwell office) joined the company – first working out of the Glen Iris office then later Camberwell. Never one to while away the time doing nothing, Noel returned after a year and reorganised the company. A new formal franchise system was introduced and the Noel Jones company embarked upon a period of substantial growth.

“I loved the business and was proud to see it grow into such a strong brand.” said Noel. “We were told by the older, established brands that we’d never get a foothold in the established south-eastern suburbs. We managed to buck the trend which I attribute to building the franchise around people and giving them ownership over their own offices which resulted in them being invested in the brand.”

Noel eventually sold the business in 1996 and continued to do consulting work for various companies. These days you’ll find Noel on the golf course or helping boost the profile of the South Melbourne District Sports Club.

While the people and the locations of the offices may have changed, the Noel Jones legacy continues to live on with nine offices now concentrated in a slightly different part of the eastern suburbs – one that’s experiencing exciting change and growth.

Image: Noel Jones (left) and Noel Jones Camberwell Director David Gillham.
Article by Suzanne Trew

* http://www.econ.mq.edu.au/Econ_docs/research_papers2/2004_research_papers/Abelson_9_04.pdf

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