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Miles Realty celebrates 50 years

Those who have read Raymond Miles’ book “Thank You Bainbridge,” will recall how he first came to Bainbridge as a district representative for Cotton States Insurance Company.

After a couple of years, he decided to purchase Pope’s Insurance Agency and settle down in Bainbridge.

That was 50 years ago.

The agency was located upstairs across from the courthouse on West Water Street. After that, it was just one short step for Miles to get into the real estate business.

His Ellaville, Ga., hometown friend, Melville Johnson, suggested they go into the real estate business as partners, and the company began as Miles Insurance and Realty Company. Years later Miles sold the insurance portion of the business so he could concentrate on the rapidly expanding real estate, development and construction business.

Miles unabashedly credits Melville Johnson for helping him “go from zero to several million dollars,” saying he would not be where he is today if it were not for Johnson’s help.

To say that Miles has been a successful Realtor would be an understatement.

It is unusual to see a business that continues to thrive for 50 years, let alone see it continue to be owned and operated by the same founder. But, then Raymond Miles is an unusual person.

He is one who sees opportunities when others see obstacles.

One of the events that helped boost his career in real estate was the closing of Southern Airways Base in the early 1960s. This was a major setback to the business community.

But when HUD sent out a letter stating they had 100 houses in Bainbridge that had been foreclosed due to the base closing, and were willing to pay $50 per house each month for someone to manage the properties, Miles jumped on it. He was the successful winner of the contract and that helped him get established in the business and become the No. 1 Realtor in Bainbridge at that time.

Raymond Miles has not only built a strong business, but he has helped build the city of Bainbridge through his many community involvements, such as the YMCA and Bainbridge College, to name just two.

Today Miles Realty is truly a family business involving Raymond’s wife, “Sam” and son, Larry.

The Miles family will host a special 50th Anniversary Celebration of Miles Realty on the back deck of the Chamber of Commerce at a Business After Hours, beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 22. The chamber requests those planning to attend please RSVP by calling 246-4774.