By Britney Nguyen, Special to The News Reporter After selling real estate in Whiteville for 13 years, Eric Hill decided to open his own company, Atlantic Blue Coast Realty, which held its ribbon cutting at 128 Jefferson St. on Thursday. Hill started the business in April 2019, working out of his car for the first year. He said he is the only person working now, but he has contacts and relationships built over time from his previous work. “When you start a business, you don’t want to start it to sit in one place,” Hill said. “I’m hoping to expand as time goes by.” Hill said opening the office took longer than anticipated, and he has done some of the work on his own.
Westyn Hill cuts the ribbon at Atlantic Blue Coast Realty Thursday as father Eric and mother Heather look on. Eric Hill opened the office earlier this year at 128 Jefferson St. Whiteville. Also pictured are County Commissioner Jerome McMillian, Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Jennifer Holcomb, Mayor Terry Mann, Whiteville Economic Development Director Sean Martin and chamber member Stephen Underwood.
“I had the opportunity to have my son come out and help with painting because he’s out of school so that’s been nice,” Hill said. Hill said he has made print ads and signage for his company, and he mostly tries to stay involved with the community. “It’s all about developing relationships,” Hill said. “In this line of business, it’s a lot of word of mouth. If you do a good job for someone, they recommend you to someone else.” Atlantic Blue Coast Realty is based out of Whiteville, but Hill works throughout Columbus County and in Fayetteville and Wilmington. He said he promotes the area from I-95 to the coast. Hill said Whiteville has the potential to capitalize on its proximity to the beach. “People from up north in New York and New Jersey get to retirement ages and want to get something close to the beach to retire to in a few years,” Hill said. “Columbus County is close enough to the ocean and shopping, but the cost of living is considerably cheaper than in a coastal county.” Hill said he doesn’t want people to be afraid of conducting real estate business during the coronavirus. Hill said he carries masks, gloves and sanitizer to his appointments so his clients can feel comfortable. He also does virtual tours where he answers questions and goes throughout a house to show clients each room if they do not feel comfortable touring in person. Hill said one of the things he wanted to focus on when he started his own business was for his clients to know him personally and not just as a phone number. “In real estate, we’re helping someone with an important stage of their life, selling a house they’ve been in for countless years or finding a house where they will grow their family,” Hill said.