This is a new semi-regular feature in Beachcomber, first-person accounts from local folks that have done well in their chosen professions.
The first installment is from Cerenna Solecki, who is celebrating 25 years in real estate in 2019 and is the driving force behind Cerenity by the Sea Realty, Inc. located in Miramar Beach’s Fountain Plaza. She divides her time between her two real estate markets in the Panhandle and Jacksonville (“They call me bi-coastal,” she says). Ms. Solecki recently opened Cerenity Cleaning Services—being run by her son Christopher—in both locations.
If you know someone whose story would make sense here, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos, whys and whatnots.
I always was an entrepreneur, always had side jobs growing up. I went to college for interior design and drafting, which got me into the housing market. I had a very strong mother who raised seven kids all by herself by selling insurance in the ‘60s. All of her kids are entrepreneurs with our own companies. I actually ended up number seven of 10 kids. This will automatically give you entrepreneurial traits!
My first maid service, Sunshine Maid and Cleaning Service, I started in Parma, Ohio, in 1989. I did that for about four years, then moved to Medina, Ohio, and started one Medina Maids. It was an easy business to start and grow one customer at a time—it grew to where I had five employees and 60 accounts. I was definitely being my own boss making my own schedule. I loved it!
This led me to a networking group called Women Business Owners where I met two realtors that asked me to work for them. So I sold my cleaning business and started in real estate. I worked for these realtors and saw them making big money and thought I could do really well, too. One year later, in 1994, I got my real estate license. That started my real estate career in Ohio, and I’ve been doing it for the last 25 years. I’ve been in the Panhandle for 20 years.
I’m a real people person, so selling real estate came easily to me. I sold my first home in my first week.
My struggles were being a single income provider all those years, working on straight commission, which is pretty scary. But I did it! I’ve sold everything from a $17,000 home in Ohio to a $6.2 million dollar home in Jacksonville and everything in between.
My other big struggle was when the market crashed and when the oil spill came to Destin. Ugh! I moved to Jacksonville, where real estate moves all the time. But my heart was in Destin, so as soon as I could, I moved back. I just had to jump right back in. I had to make all my contacts again. One thing is for sure, Destin is in my heart and soul. It is our home!
I keep my relationships up in Jacksonville, and I have approximately 23 family members there, so I do enjoy going back and forth and selling on both coasts. I have residences in both areas.
My son Christopher has entrepreneurial tendencies, so that’s why we started Cerenity Cleaning Services in January 2019. This is a way to get him into his own business. Christopher is 24, and he regularly gets five stars on Facebook for his cleanings. I am also teaching him the business aspect. Recently, he went to his first business meeting, BNI-Synergy, and then we went to my CPA, where he learned tax advice and issues we needed to be concerned with.
My oldest son David works as a manager at an upscale furniture consignment shop in Santa Rosa Beach. He always has had the best work ethic, and his employers tell me he is one of their best workers. During David’s time off, he is often found at our local springs and dive areas.
Life is good for us!