Take a minute and think of a few community leaders, people you do business with or perhaps engage with in the city. You’re familiar with them, you see them often, but how much do you really know?
From time to time, Evansville Business will have lunch with someone well known in the community to ask about the story behind their story. For this issue, Janice Miller, owner of ERA First Advantage Realty, Inc., met with Evansville Business at Nellie’s Restaurant in Newburgh, Indiana, on July 27 for a lengthy discussion.
Evansville Business: What was it like growing up in the big metropolitan area of Boonville, Indiana, as a kid?
Janice Miller: I think growing up in Boonville is what shaped me into the person I am today. I always tell people Boonville was and is a great place to live as a child.
EB: As a kid, did you go around the square and know everybody there?
JM: Yes. I grew up at City Lake. My mother worked; my dad worked all summer painting houses. We were told, “Go to City Lake,” and we spent the day there. If we did anything wrong, my parents received a phone call that night, so we didn’t get out of line.
EB: Did your parents get lots of phone calls?
JM: Not about me. My brother ran the concession stand, so occasionally I would work for him at the concession stand.
EB: Did you ever envision Warrick County being what it’s become today?
JM: No. In fact, there are times I feel guilty because I look out the window of my office, especially on Friday afternoons, and I see the traffic. I think I’m part of the reason this has boomed the way it has, because I was like, “Oh, you should look at Warrick County. You should look at Newburgh. Let me show you the schools. Let me show you Boonville.” I do feel a little guilty when I look at how many thousands of people I have moved here. And then I think I shouldn’t feel guilty. I should be proud.
EB: What job do you consider your first salaried job?
JM: At one point, I wanted to work the phone, so I sold Tupperware. I became No. 3 in the nation. I had the Tupperware station wagon, and I was selling Tupperware. But I was gone every night; I was gone every day. It was a job. One day, I just took that Tupperware station wagon back to Evansville. I just left it with the keys in it and said, “I’m done.” It totally just took over my life. I had someone tell me one time, “You either get all in, or you don’t get in at all.” That’s typically my life.
EB: When you and your husband are together, do you often find yourselves still talking about business?
JM: My husband and I never talk about the business. We never have. He quit his job at one point to come in and help me, and I now am glad he did. But in the beginning, I wanted him as a husband, not as a partner.
EB: You have multiple family members in the business working in different capacities — when you get together outside the office, do you all shut off?
JM: No, we never do. I have the most talented family, and I’m talking about grandchildren — they, of course, only are four, seven, and nine. But the nine-year-old recently came up with the latest contest we have at the office. She thought of having this banana split contest, and I took it and ran with it.
My daughter-in-law Liz is so talented when it comes to anything with Google and Facebook. She can run circles around us. My son Buck now is over at the Franklin office, and Ryan is in line to become our general manager. It takes time, and I want them to learn it from the ground up.
And I tell them I’m never retiring, and I don’t intend to. This is my life; it’s what I love to do.
For more information about ERA First Advantage Realty, Inc., visit janicemiller.com