Griffith, Grant & Lackie Realtors has stood the test of time. Celebrating its 115th year as an independent family owned and operated business in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, the company believes their longevity results from their steadfast commitment to the values upon which the company was originally established.
John Griffith, the company’s founder, came to the United States from Northern Wales in 1893. He began his career working for the Louis F. Swift family. In 1903, he opened his real estate business on Deerpath Road, on the site that is currently occupied by Northern Trust Bank. He worked closely with Howard Van Doren Shaw to develop Market Square and consulted with and represented many iconic Chicago business leaders as they searched for summer residences in Lake Forest and other north suburban communities. Clients included A. Watson Armour, Howard Shaw, Philip Wrigley, and Colonel Robert R. McCormick.
Melville Lackie, John’s nephew, worked with him for 25 years before taking over as president after John’s death in 1948. Melville’s son, Gordon Lackie, joined the company in 1951. In 1955, the company opened a second location in Lake Bluff. Gordon’s son, Scott, joined the firm in 1979. In 1984, John Griffith Inc. merged with a Century 21 brokerage firm owned by Thomas Grant, hence creating the company’s current name—Griffith, Grant & Lackie Realtors. Scott recruited his first cousin Brad Andersen to join the company in 1994 and today Scott and Brad manage the company as fourth-generation owners—the only locally owned and managed real estate company in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.
“Our business depends on us providing a high level of personalized service and we understand the benefit of doing so,” says Brad. “Being born in Lake Forest and having lived in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff my entire life, I feel very strongly about our communities and the legacy and reputation of our company. Being a part of a company that has been in business for 115 years is a privilege.”
His cousin Scott agrees.
“Because we are a family owned business, we manage the company ourselves,” explains Scott. “We are able to make decisions that affect our clients and our brokers free of the constraints that larger companies may have in the operations of their brokerages. We understand all the complexities of running a business from the ground level. Most importantly, we have a committed and highly skilled sales and support staff that share our values of providing quality representation whether working with buyer or seller clients. We are extremely proud of our sales staff, many of which are top producing agents in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lake County.”
This is not to say that young brokers aren’t attracted to the tried-and-true business model that Griffith, Grant & Lackie espouses. Three years ago, Brad’s son Brady joined the firm and Scott’s daughter Elizabeth will come on board later this month—representing the fifth generation of the family business.
“I spoke with my father about entering the real estate business and both he and Scott encouraged my involvement,” says Brady. “I feel very fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented and experienced brokers in the area. As I was growing up, I would stop by the office to visit my father. I was always intrigued by the business and the work ethic of the agents. It’s now so much fun to be a part of it. My father and Scott are both open to new ideas—embracing all that is changing on the technology side of the industry. Plus, it’s been exciting to work with clients from all walks of life and from so many different professions.”
With more than a century in the books, the future is bright for this family-owned venture. In 2000, Griffith, Grant & Lackie became the first affiliate of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff—the largest network of independently owned real estate brokerages in the world.
“We have an incredible group of people in our office,” Brad says. “Like us, most live in Lake Forest or Lake Bluff and have for many years. They know from their personal experiences what makes our communities so special and they can’t wait to share this with their clients.”
Griffith, Grant & Lackie is located at 280 E. Deerpath Road in Lake Forest, 847-234-0485, and 8 E. Scranton Avenue in Lake Bluff, 847-234-0816, gglrealty.com.