by Michele Newbern Gillis
Although her mother would never admit it, Gypsy Alexander suspects she was named after the famous stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee.
“My mother and grandmother were both named Margaret and the oldest daughter [me] was supposed to be Margaret as well,” said Alexander, an agent with Ponte Vedra Beach Club Realty for four years. “But, my mother hated her own name so badly that she wanted to name me something different — and she certainly did. It was very hard growing up as a WASP in a little southern town with that name.”
Though her dream was to become a journalist, Alexander found her way into the real estate community and has been there for 26 years.
“It gets in your blood,” she said. “I’m a real people person. I love working with people and the different personalities that you run into.”
On the downside, she likened real estate to being on a roller coaster.
“You are up one day and down the next” she said. “You never know what you will be doing the next day. It’s impossible to schedule anything. You can start out as a fairly organized person and I think at one point I was, and now I’m not. I need someone to organize me now. My husband tries, but he doesn’t do very well.”
She is a residential real estate agent who covers the whole spectrum from first-time home buyers to high-end buyers.
“I’m working a lot now with children of former customers,” she said. “Some of them are on a higher income than others and some are buying starter homes, which is fun.”
Alexander moved from her hometown in High Point, N.C. to Atlantic Beach in 1970 where she stayed at home and raised her family.
In 1976, she started in Atlantic Beach with Dunson Realty.
“It was the typical housewife’s dream,” said Alexander. “You could work part-time and make a little money. I loved it. I love working with people. Anything I’ve ever done has always dealt with a lot of public contact.”
After four years, she decided to try her hand with Stockton Realty Group.
In 1989, she decided to do something different, so she went to work as a sales manager for the Ponte Vedra Recorder.
“I was selling ads primarily to the real estate community,” she said.
She was then offered a job with Jacksonville Today magazine, which is now Jacksonville magazine, to sell advertising to the real estate community.
“I did that for a couple of years, but I really missed the beach terribly,” said Alexander. “Once you get sand in your shoes, you don’t need to be driving into San Marco to go to work.”
George Spohrer and Guy Jennings had purchased a Coldwell Banker franchise at the beach and they asked Alexander to come sell for them.
“I told them I was still burnt out on selling, but I wanted to come back to the beach,” she said. “So they asked me to start up their property management division.”
She stayed with Coldwell Banker Jennings Spohrer for a few years before returning to Stockton Realty Group.
She went full circle before she started with Ponte Vedra Beach Club Realty.
She grew up with aspirations to be a writer.
“I’ve always been a frustrated writer,” said Alexander.
Frustrated writer or not, she did become a reporter and a women’s editor at the local paper in High Point for about five years.
“I liked it, but I moved on,” she said. “I also did medical research for a while.”
When she moved to Jacksonville, she took a personnel test at Florida Community College of Jacksonville to figure out a career path for her. The test revealed she would be good in research, reporting and real estate.
“I thought that was so funny, so I tried them all,” she said. “So everything I was supposed to try, I’ve given a fair chance.”
Alexander has five children: Tom, Chan, Jay, Jenny and Danny.
“Because of my name, I insisted that my children had very traditional names,” said Alexander.
She went through a divorce in the mid 1980s which, she said, luckily for her, was a wonderful time in real estate.
“Back then, you had much more inventory than you had real estate agents and today it’s the opposite,” said Alexander.
Since she has spend most of her career at the beach, she said she is very proud of Jacksonville Beach’s redevelopment. She remembered the city talking about it and planning for it 30 years ago and finally it is now coming to fruition.
She married Tommy Hulihan 13 years ago. They spend their time fishing and taking trips on their boat.