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"Kushner sells office, will retireThe businesswill be owned by islander Jim Laws."
"Ed Kushner's real estate office will stay in the family - the Windermere family.Kushner, who started the business with two partners in 1978, this week announced sale of the Bainbridge office, a Windermere Real Estate affiliate, to corporate colleague Jim Laws.We wanted ownership of the office to be a person who was good for the people in our office and for the office, who was good for the community of of Bainbridge Island, who was good for Windermere in the big sense, and who was good for us, Kushner said, identifying goals he shared with his wife Karen. We concluded that if we could meet those first four criteria, the last one would take care of itself.The Kushners decided it did so in the person of Jim Laws, owner of Windermere Property Management in Seattle.The deal began through mutual associates within the Windermere company, and was forged over the course of six months.Laws, 51, has been with Windermere for 16 years, the last six as owner of the company's property management wing.He has lived on Bainbridge Island since 1974, and he and his wife have three school-age boys. He is a member of the Port Madison Yacht Club. Laws said he welcomes the chance to work in the community in which he has lived for so long.When you get on the ferry, you disengage from your community to a large extent, Laws said, and you don't re-engage until you get back.Laws said his goals for the business are to continue what Ed has started, which he described as a community-based, community service-oriented outfit, with the best agents there are.Minority partners in the business will be Seattle resident and Bainbridge High School graduate Geoff Wood, president of Windermere Services, the company's administrative and marketing wing; and Bainbridge native Jill Jacobi-Wood, who runs five Windermere offices in Seattle.Laws will assume control of the office July 1.Kushner started the business with two associates in 1978, under the name Kushner, Stringer and Hall. In 1984, the office became an affiliate of Seattle-based Windermere, taking that company's name.During his tenure, the office has established itself as the leading player in the Bainbridge real estate market.Windermere's roster of 19 active agents makes it the largest on the island, ahead of three other offices that have between 15 and 18 agents.According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reports, Windermere agents have listed 332 single-family homes on Bainbridge during the past year, well ahead of the 197 listings of the next most-active office. And Kushner's agents have represented the buyers in 162 island transactions during the past year, while the next most-active selling office accounted for 88 transactions.According to some observers, Windermere's success has been a matter of focus. Other agencies are more active on the Kitsap Peninsula than is Windermere. And the Bainbridge office hires only experienced, full-time agents.Kushner said he has been asked whether he and his wife plan to leave the island, and the emphatic answer is no.There's nowhere we want to go, he said, except on vacation. "