Hometown Spirit: Melanie Northcutt Crocker & Her Passion for Longview
Published December 27, 2017
When she returned to her native Longview a few years after graduating from college, she became involved in Junior League of Longview and is serving as its president this year coinciding with the league’s 70th anniversary. A few years ago, recognizing an overlooked niche in the community, she established Young Professionals of Longview. That organization, which now has about 190 members, is aimed at bringing young business professionals together to help them connect, form relationships and – together – give back to the community.
In February 2017, she also opened her own real estate agency, Sugar Magnolia Properties, in downtown Longview. Downtown had become near and dear to her heart through her work with Young Professionals, Junior League, Keep Longview Beautiful and other civic organizations in which Melanie is involved.
“We are so excited to call downtown Longview home and can’t wait to aid in the process of the Main Street revitalization,” Melanie said. “It is an exciting time for me, our incredible agents and Sugar Magnolia Properties.”
Melanie is the daughter of Mike Northcutt, a teacher at Kilgore High School, and Glenda and Jim Hughes. Her mother, Glenda, is a long-time real estate agent in East Texas who joined Melanie as an agent at Sugar Magnolia Properties. Jim Hughes is a Longview attorney.
Melanie graduated in 2002 from Pine Tree High School and went on to attend Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. She graduated in 2006 from SFA and began working in sales and marketing. Melanie moved back to Longview in 2010 and, shortly after, decided to transition into real estate. She had watched her mother growing up and knew that real estate would allow flexibility in her schedule for family time; her income potential would be dependent upon her own work ethic; and, she would get to work with the public.
She earned her real estate license in 2013 and began working in the business, learning under other realtors but always with a dream of establishing her own company. She knew she wanted her real estate firm to office in downtown Longview as it is the hub of the community. She also wanted it to be a boutique-style real estate agency that, as she describes, not only takes care of its clients but also offers old-fashioned hospitality.
In partnership with her husband, Matt Crocker, she opened Sugar Magnolia Properties in February 2017, first operating it out of her home as she renovated a downtown building. Now, Sugar Magnolia is conveniently located downtown on Fredonia Street.
Fun fact about Sugar Magnolia: Its name derives from a Grateful Dead song.
“The name came about six months before the rest,” Melanie said. “I knew I didn’t want to use my name or a catchphrase; I wanted a name that was warm and inviting. My husband is a Deadhead. One day, we were listening to ‘Sugaree’ and then the next song that came on was ‘Sugar Magnolia.’ I knew that would be the name – it sounds southern, warm and approachable.”
Today, Sugar Magnolia offers all types of real estate services – from residential to commercial to farm and ranch. Melanie has seven agents at her firm now and she is hopeful for continued growth in the years to come.
“My outlook for Sugar Magnolia Properties is to become the finest, respected hometown real estate brokerage providing unrivaled service and down-home southern hospitality. We are so honored and blessed to have the trust and support of so many in our community,” she said.
“We hope to continue to grow our client base of home buyers and sellers through referrals from our friends, families and past clients. We hope to add agents who believe in striving to be a Peak Producer through the golden rule of taking care of our clients and they will in turn take care of us. We hope to continue serving our community through our volunteer efforts and leadership in various organizations represented throughout our brokerage.”
Her community involvement over the years has gone hand in hand with her business motto.
Melanie has been involved with Junior League of Longview since 2010, when she returned home.
“The league touches the community in so many ways,” she said.
Indeed, Junior League’s service has a multitude of ways in which it impacts the community. Its annual School Supply Train distributes backpacks filled with school supplies to children of families in need. Melanie said Junior League distributed 2,500 backpacks in 2017. But the School Supply Train is about much more than school supplies. It also offers health screenings for children and free haircuts.
Through the Skills for Success mentoring program, Melanie shared that Junior Leaguers mentor middle school-aged girls and help them with everything from etiquette to resume writing.
The league’s Poverty Conference, which celebrated its third anniversary in 2017, has become a convocation of sorts for East Texas school districts. The conference features speakers and a community panel discussion, and is aimed at providing education about poverty and related issues.
This year, Melanie said, Junior League is bringing back a charity ball that it last offered years ago. The Black Tie fundraiser will be Jan. 20 at the Summit Club. A formal event, the ball is open to the public. Cost is $100. For information about it, visit the league’s website at www.jllongview.org.
In addition to Junior League, Melanie also has been involved with Keep Longview Beautiful serving on its Board of Directors, the city’s Main Street Advisory Council, Longview 20/20, the LeTourneau University President’s Advisory Council, Longview Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Advisory Council and Leadership Longview.
It was, in a way, through Leadership Longview that Melanie came up with the idea for Young Professionals of Longview, an organization she founded in 2013.
“I had gone through Leadership Longview, and there were people I still talked to all the time. We wanted to stay connected,” she said.
Aside from connecting on their own, Melanie realized there wasn’t an organization outside of Leadership Longview – a year-long program – that offered a chance for young business professionals to meet up regularly to network.
“I was like a lot of people who moved off to Dallas or Austin and then move back. When we moved back, I didn’t know everyone and I had to meet people,” she said. “Young Professionals of Longview is an avenue for people who want to be plugged in and who want to get connected.”
She didn’t know how many people would attend the first meeting, and while it was just a handful, those people invited others to the next meeting. The organization steadily grew and now has about 190 members. Its monthly mixers allow young business professionals to network and build relationships.
“For me, personally, it has really helped with business. Business is often driven by referrals. This is a way to casually meet people and the more you meet up with them, you become friends and then your friends might become clients or they might refer people to you,” she said. “It’s all about building relationships.”
But Young Professionals of Longview, or YPL, is also about giving back to the community. The organization has a variety of service projects. Each holiday season, it collects toys for the Longview Fire Department’s toy drive. Through Keep Longview Beautiful’s Adopt-A-Street program, YPL volunteers maintain a portion of Cotton Street. And throughout the year, YPL maintains flower pots that adorn downtown Longview street corners, sprucing up the city.
“Most members of YPL have a passion for downtown,” Melanie shared.
While she isn’t certain what the future holds, Melanie said she hopes to see growth both in organizations in which she is involved and at Sugar Magnolia Properties.
“We can’t wait to see what the future holds, but we know it will be bright,” she said.