Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 3, 2018

Ring finds the right fit with Armstrong

Golf often plays a role in business, and such is the case for Choo Choo Realty.

Last April, near the first tee of the Black Creek Club course during a charity event, two members of the community partner committee for Habitat for Humanity took time to chat near the first tee.

Ken Armstrong, CCIM, approached Robyn Ring, owner and principal broker of Choo Choo Realty, for the first time to discuss the possibility of joining the company to bring in commercial business.

Armstrong got the job.

“It was really a no-brainer to bring Ken into the company,” Ring says. “It gives Choo Choo Realty a nice, tidy package. He has been a great acquisition, a perfect piece to the puzzle. We are fully automated now for anyone’s real estate needs, both residential and commercial.”

Ring adds Armstrong will handle all of Choo Choo Realty’s commercial real estate clients. Ring, who sold her River City Property Management Company two years ago, will remain focused on residential real estate clients.

Some of Armstrong’s primary responsibilities include acquisition and development of land, investment in resort properties, commercial property site selection and the purchase, selling and leasing of commercial properties. He also will provide investment analysis (“What is a property worth and how can I sell it?”).

Armstrong’s commercial projects will likely include office space, retail areas, apartment complexes and industrial buildings.

Both Ring and Armstrong say Choo Choo Realty, which Ring opened in 2000, will not provide property management services. Ring has opened a property management company with her husband.

“Robyn started Choo Choo Realty to focus on traditional brokerage services and her background is residential investments,” says Armstrong, who served on a U.S. Navy submarine before starting his commercial real estate career in east Tennessee 15 years ago. “We have teamed up now to put residential and commercial skills under her shingle, including land acquisition. We can represent sellers, buyers, landlords or tenants and leverage on each other’s experience to make it work.”

Ring and Armstrong are the only two employees of Choo Choo Realty, and Armstrong says the two-person office will provide a high level of efficiency.

“Other real estate companies have far more people as far as the business model is concerned,” he explains. “But Robyn and I have a mutual agreement to give dedicated attention to all clients, commercial and residential.

“Some would say that we can make decisions quicker (than companies with more employees).”

Ring did receive some early-in-life exposure to commercial properties as her father built and sold warehouses for many years.

“Right now, Chattanooga is light on inventory for both residential and commercial properties,” Ring adds. “So this (hiring Armstrong) comes at the right time as well.”

Ring, who is on the board of directors of both the Greater Chattanooga Realtors and the Tennessee Association of Realtors, points out the addition of Armstrong has allowed her to “broaden my scope” for regional services.

She says Choo Choo Realty is now a member of the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors for both residential and commercial projects. The company also has clients in north Georgia.

“Choo Choo Realty really flew under the radar being under the umbrella of River City Property Management,” Ring says.

“This new deal gives Choo Choo Realty a chance to be its own entity. And the Chattanooga Choo Choo is synonymous with the city.

“It’s kinda crazy that the name was available. And who doesn’t love a train?”