Photo courtesy of Jason James
The Keller Williams Eatonville office is now open on Washington Avenue South and Center Street East. The employees pictured are [from left] Kay Tucker, Dawn Markakis, Jason James, Lee Dedinsky, Julie Smith and Cat Larrow. Adelynn is in the middle. She's Larrow's daughter and Dedinksy's granddaughter. Not pictured is the newest agent, David Kilts.
Photo courtesy of Jason James The Keller Williams Eatonville office is now open on Washington Avenue South and Center Street East. The employees pictured are [from left] Kay Tucker, Dawn Markakis, Jason James, Lee Dedinsky, Julie Smith and Cat Larrow. Adelynn is in the middle. She's Larrow's daughter and Dedinksy's granddaughter. Not pictured is the newest agent, David Kilts.

It’s been a long time coming for Jason James, but he’s finally back in his home town of Eatonville.

He’s the head broker of town’s new Keller Williams Realty, which opened recently at the corner of Washington Avenue South and Center Street East. That location has long been a real estate office, but was vacated when Melly Rodriguez decided to retire from her Countryside Real Estate.

James, who was selling real estate in Puyallup and commuting back to Eatonville every day, quickly brought the idea to his bosses at Keller Williams. The Puyallup office is one of the largest in the state and was eager to expand.

“I’ve always wanted to be self-employed,” James said. “Real estate was supposed to be a temporary thing, but responsibilities kept mounting. The key is not to lose passion or desire. I didn’t lose those things.”

James was born and raised in Eatonville, only moving to Eugene, Oregon as an adult. he and his wife have three children, and as his mother and his daughter both graduated from Eatonville High School, he’s proud of the family connection to town. But selling property was not the original plan.

“I used to manage a restaurant here in Eatonville,” he said. “So working with the public was always a strong point. I worked with a realtor in Eugene to buy a home and realized I might enjoy this.”

In 2004, James moved back to Eatonville and began managing Aaron’s Ark. He had the option to buy the restaurant, but ultimately decided he didn’t want to make that his career. He became licensed as a real estate broker in 2005. The path after that became rocky.

“I went through a couple different brokerages when the market crashed,” he said.

But the lean times are decidedly over. The newly-opened Eatonville branch has access to all the Puyallup resources and vice versa. There are seven brokers at the office and more are being hired there and in Puyallup on a weekly basis.

“It’s a fast market,” James said. “We are selling listings faster than we can get them. We’ve had 14 closed sales since January.”

After Rodriguez left her office, James and four other agents walked into a ready-to-go office building and began plans for the branch expansion immediately.

“It’s been a joy for me personally, the hometown aspect of it,” he said. “Working with people you grew up with or your parents grew up with. The people in my office have a passion for rural properties.”

The office has been some version of a real estate office since at least the 1970s, so James said he was happy to keep that “tradition” alive.

“I’m proud of my staff. These are strong, well-educated realtors,” he said. “As a satellite office of Puyallup, we have access to their training, educational materials and support.”

Keller Williams is also opening a branch in Bonney Lake. But James wants to be clear that this is more than just a job for him and his staff.

“Our office is involved in Relay for Life,” he said. “It’s not just Keller Williams coming in and slapping a sign on a building and leaving. We all care about Eatonville. We’re part of this community.”


The branch is located at 111 Center St. E. in Eatonville