“Dwell Realty was in my basement for a year. We opened it up right in the middle of the recession because we felt real estate had probably hit a bottom. And where else can you go from the bottom?”
— Chris Guinn
A co-founder of NE Portland’s Dwell Realty, Chris Guinn III, is known for his work in the real estate field. However, his journey to entrepreneurship reaches back beyond real estate. As a young man fresh out of high school in the mid-80s, Guinn was uninterested in the traditional 9-5. Taking the nontraditional path, he entered beauty school for hair design, cutting, and styling. After studying with other salon owners, he opened his own salon in NE Portland. He credits this time with teaching him founding entrepreneurial skills, knowledge he took with him when he decided to switch careers in 1997.
Guinn worked as a real estate agent at other agencies before starting Dwell Realty in 2009 – at a very tough time. “Dwell Realty was in my basement for a year. We opened it up right in the middle of the recession because we felt real estate had probably hit bottom. And where else can you go from the bottom?”
The experience of operating his salons – both the business acumen gained and the clientele he could then serve in a whole new capacity – made the road slightly easier in challenging times. Currently in its seventh year, Dwell has a thriving location on NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Along with residential property sales, Dwell houses a property management company and handles commercial real estate sales and leasing. Today Dwell Realty has the distinction of being the largest black-owned realty company in Oregon’s history.