Family owned business bounces back after Katrina

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - One of the oldest businesses in Hancock County is celebrating a post-Katrina come back. John McDonald Realty has rebuilt and reopened on Highway 90, not far from the Bay St. Louis Bridge. It's a family owned company with deep roots in Hancock County.

John McDonald Realty has been a fixture in Bay St. Louis since 1935. The late John McDonald started the business more than 77 years ago. His grandson is now trying to resurrect the company after devastating loses during Hurricane Katrina.

"Came back here and the only thing we had was a slab," said Regan Kane, Principal Broker for McDonald Realty.

The new building re-opened on Highway 90 a few weeks ago.

"New residents, visitors to the area, they don't much care for temporary any more. That was fine maybe a year or two after the storm. Where we were was in a location that didn't suit our needs, nor our customers' or potential clients' needs. It was very important for, I say, come back home."

Originally, the business was located in the W. A. McDonald Hardware store. That business, founded by John McDonald's brother, is 107-years-old.

"People in this community a lot older than me, 25, 30 years older than myself, always stop me and say, 'We bought our first house from John McDonald.' Or, 'John McDonald rented our first house.' Or, 'We bought our first lot from John McDonald,'" explained Kane.

He hopes to continue a family tradition and to gear up to serve the next generation of property buyers.

"My family's roots are entrenched through this community and have provided services to folks in Hancock County for an awful long time and we want to continue that."

John McDonald Realty received one of the first licenses ever to be issued by the Mississippi Real Estate Commission more than 77 years ago.

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