Enthusiastic, approachable, and professional are some of the words that best describe Atlanta native Shonnie Alridge. With a background in Sociology, Shonnie has a proven record as a top-notch Sales Professional in the Atlanta area for the past 18 years.
Shonnie grew up in College Park, Georgia, and maintains a strong connection with the community through Real Estate sales and community outreach. As the owner of Trinity First Realty Services Inc. (TFRS), she has also opened a Georgia approved real estate school, Trinity First Realty School. The school is approved for a 3 hour continuing education (CE) course.
In addition, Shonnie shares her market expertise by periodically instructing homebuyer courses for NID companies. Prior to joining TFRS, Shonnie was a student at the State University of West Georgia. There she studied and developed an interest in human social behavior especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society.
Her Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology has afforded her the skills to learn the needs of each of her clients and the ability to be a highly efficient listener. This has proven to be the sole reason that creates such a perfect match for her client’s specific goals.
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:18] Lee Kantor here another episode of GWBC Open for Business. And this is going to be a good one. Today, I have with me Shonnie Alridge. And she is with Trinity First Realty. Welcome.
Shonnie Alridge: [00:00:31] Thank you. I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:34] Well, before we get too far into things, tell us about Trinity First Realty. How are you serving folks?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:00:41] Yes. Well, we are a real estate brokerage firm here in Atlanta, Georgia. And so, we supply our clients with expertise in real estate. So, whether our client is wanting to sell real estate, purchase real estate, or perhaps find some office space, some retail space for their business, we are their go-to for that.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:04] So, you do both residential and commercial?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:01:07] Yes.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:09] And do you have a specialty? Do you work with like new homebuyers or people who relocate? Like what is your profile of a typical client for you?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:01:19] Well, actually, our typical client is an array of consumers. We don’t have a specific area. We have clients who have an interest in purchasing new construction or purchasing real estate as a piece of investment property. And so, we are just able to service them all. Just a different array of people, we’re able to service them.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:46] Now, how do you get into the real estate business?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:01:50] Well, funny story. My mother actually was a real estate agent in the ’80s and ’90s. And so, I was actually her assistant and didn’t really realize it at all. And when I was in college, she encouraged me to become a licensee. I did that. And I’ve been practicing real estate ever since I was a licensee back in 2002.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:16] And then, as part of your business, you also help other people get into the real estate business, right?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:02:23] Yeah, absolutely. So, we actually have an office. We have agents in our office, and they’re here working hard. And so, we make sure that we are able to provide them with training. And if they have any questions about moving through their contract, their transaction, we’re here to help them. So, yeah, it’s been a great one for us, and we’ve done well. We’ve done very well with assisting people to reach their goals, their real estate goals.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:57] Now, how has this pandemic impacted your business?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:03:02] This pandemic, it’s really unfortunate. It truly is. And it impacted us right away. However, there are some standards of business that we’ve been practicing anyhow as far as just making sure our clients are able to view homes. Usually, our out-of-state clients, we are doing virtual tours. So, what we’re doing now is is doing virtual tours for everybody. And if a client is concerned about listing their how right now in this pandemic climate, we just make sure that people who are entering the home have on a mask, have worn gloves, shoe covers, and that everyone understand what we’re doing. We’re trying to protect the health of everyone else. And we’re also trying to reach their goal of selling their home or purchasing now.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:50] So, you’ve been kind of practicing some of these safety measures just in the past in a different way. You just had to make some small adjustments to do it for this. That’s funny.
Shonnie Alridge: [00:04:02] Yeah, exactly. So, I remember hearing on the news when the pandemic has finally. It was on the news and everyone was like, “Oh, we can’t find an N9 mask,” and I thought to myself, “Oh, my gosh. I already had them.” So, certain things, I already had. I already has two covers. I already had gloves. And so, we just make sure we just pass along to our clients and our agents, and make sure that they use it when they’re out in the field.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:27] Now, do you have any advice for the listeners out there running a business that in order to be safe, things that you’ve learned that make your clients feel more comfortable and safe?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:04:38] Yes. I would say, first of all, let them know that you care. Let them know you care and you understand that they have a concern. And then express to them what you’re doing to help them to feel more comfortable. Express to them that you are steadfast on supplying gloves if they don’t have it. They don’t have a mask, you have one for them. Let them know that you’re there for them. And I think a lot of times, people will feel more comfortable just hearing it. They still want to reach their goals. We just don’t want to be hurt in the process. So, I just say show that you care, express that you care, and that’s the beginning part of it right there.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:20] So, now, can you talk about the GWBC? How has that organization helped you through this crisis?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:05:28] It’s a great organization. I’m so happy to be a part of it. And as soon as the pandemic hit, we began receiving e-mail and notifications of, “Hey, how are you doing? What can we do to help?” And I mean, it’s just like one big family. I would encourage anybody who’s listening to gather some more information about the organization and see where you can become a part of it. But it’s great to be able to know that you’re not the only one feeling the way you’re feeling. At some point, you may feel a little sad and down, and you’re wondering, “Am I the only business owner that has been impacted by this and feeling this type of way?” And with GWBC, you’re receiving e-mails, you’re receiving a phone call, people reaching out, asking, “Are you okay? What do you need?” And that means so much just right now.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:24] Now, in your business, you’re a woman-owned business, and you decide to get involved with GWBC. What would you tell other female-owned business owners about the importance of getting involved in an organization like that?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:06:40] Well, I think for female business owners that you have to understand, if you want to expand your book of business, it’s important to be involved with an organization. And it’s also equally important to have a specific socioeconomic set aside that you identify with. So, whether it’s women-owned, or Veteran-owned, or what have you, it’s important to have those things, to be considered to be a serious business out here, serious about handling their business. And so, I would encourage any women, any women on business to seriously consider becoming certified. Do it now. Especially right now, while we had time on our hands, a little bit more time on our hands, go ahead and do it now, become involved, and you’ll see that when you are checking off boxes on applications for more business, you’ll see where they’re going to ask you about your socioeconomic status, and you can check off certified women-owned business.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:40] Now, has there been any silver linings of going through this? Are there anything that you’ve kind of stumbled upon now during this crisis that you might be able to take with you when the crisis is over?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:07:52] Yeah. I would say yes, actually. I love when I’m faced with the challenge, actually, and I can get through a challenge because it showed me what I’m made of. And so, I would say even going through this, I had a moment where I was just a little bit stuck, but I decided to push through anyhow every day, and I decided to make decisions based on my business and not feel like I was stagnated. So, I just really learned, once again, what I’m made of, that I’m strong, I’m resilient, and the people around me are the same.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:30] Now, how did you keep your team motivated and keep their morale high during this challenging times?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:08:37] Well, it was pretty tough, but we had to get on top of it. So, what we did was our agents, we have office fees in our office, so what we did was we waived the fees for three months to just soften the blow for them. And so, that really helped as well. And so, we just make sure that I encourage everyone to read, do some research, listen to a webinar, and then share with me what they learned, so we can bounce off each other with positive information, informative news on how we can continue to do business, how we can continue to educate our clients and just keep them busy. It is good to be busy. For me, I’m happier when I’m productive. Most of our agents are the same way. So, we just try to stay productive and report to each other on a daily basis.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:32] Well, congratulations on your success and great job hanging in there.
Shonnie Alridge: [00:09:37] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:37] And it is challenging times, but I find that business owners are pretty resourceful folks, and they always find a way.
Shonnie Alridge: [00:09:46] That’s right.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:48] Now-
Shonnie Alridge: [00:09:48] That is exactly right.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:49] If there’s somebody who wants to learn more about your organization or wants to talk to you about purchasing or selling property, is there a website?
Shonnie Alridge: [00:10:00] Oh, yes, absolutely. If there’s anyone who’s out there who wants to learn more about Trinity First Realty Services, you can visit our website at trinityfirstrealtyinc. And the First is spelled out. So, trinityfirstrealtyinc.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:16] Good stuff. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story today.
Shonnie Alridge: [00:10:21] Thank you so much for allowing me to. I really enjoyed it.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:24] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on GWBC Open for Business.
About Your Host
Roz Lewis is President & CEO – Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®), a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and a member of the WBENC Board of Directors.
Previous career roles at Delta Air Lines included Flight Attendant, In-Flight Supervisor and Program Manager, Corporate Supplier Diversity.
During her career she has received numerous awards and accolades. Most notable: Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2018 Diversity & Inclusion award; 2017 inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame by the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce and 2010 – Women Out Front Award from Georgia Tech University.
She has written and been featured in articles on GWBC® and supplier diversity for Forbes Magazine SE, Minority Business Enterprise, The Atlanta Tribune, WE- USA, Minorities and Women in Business magazines. Her quotes are published in The Girls Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business book by Susan Wilson Solovic and Guide Coaching by Ellen M. Dotts, Monique A. Honaman and Stacy L. Sollenberger. Recently, she appeared on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s BIZ on 11Alive, WXIA to talk about the importance of mentoring for women.
In 2010, Lewis was invited to the White House for Council on Women and Girls Entrepreneur Conference for the announcement of the Small Business Administration (SBA) new Women Owned Small Business Rule approved by Congress. In 2014, she was invited to the White House to participate in sessions on small business priorities and the Affordable Care Act.
Roz Lewis received her BS degree from Florida International University, Miami, FL and has the following training/certifications: Certified Purchasing Managers (CPM); Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), Institute for Supply Management (ISM)of Supplier Diversity and Procurement: Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta (DLAA), Negotiations, Supply Management Strategies and Analytical Purchasing.
Connect with Roz on LinkedIn.
The Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®) is at the forefront of redefining women business enterprises (WBEs). An increasing focus on supplier diversity means major corporations are viewing our WBEs as innovative, flexible and competitive solutions. The number of women-owned businesses is rising to reflect an increasingly diverse consumer base of women making a majority of buying decision for herself, her family and her business.
GWBC® has partnered with dozens of major companies who are committed to providing a sustainable foundation through our guiding principles to bring education, training and the standardization of national certification to women businesses in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina