In 1987 Roland Dowd began buying antique homes in town, renovating them with his wife Barbara and selling them.
Dowd, a product development engineer before being laid off, had initially dismissed an outplacement firm’s suggestion to fix up and sell old houses in answer to the question, “What would you do if you didn’t have to work?” Barbara, then a Suffield fourth-grade teacher, liked the idea and convinced her husband to try it.
The couple renovated and sold five antique homes, including the 5,000 square-foot, 1824 Charles Shepard mansion on South Main Street. It was featured in a more than half-page Hartford Courant article and chosen by then-retailer G. Fox & Co. for a catalog shoot.
With his renovation business launched, Roland took a job as a real estate agent for a local firm. Eventually, he opened his own brokerage business, Dowd Realty Group.
Daughter enters business
In 2001, his daughter Robin Zatony joined the firm and is now the managing broker. She left an executive position at CIGNA when she realized working in real estate offered a more flexible schedule that better suited her young family’s needs.
Dowd Realty Group today
Today, complementing Zatony’s corporate background are two licensed realtors with diverse skills. Melanie McGann specializes in database management, computers, research, and ad and floor plan creation. Cyndie DeMur, with an artistic eye, is a certified home stager who also manages social media, vendor relations and their large quantity of staging furniture and home accessories.
“We work as a team with common values but different interests to broaden perspectives and enhance service to our clients,” says Zatony. “Plus, we enjoy the flexibility of supporting our families, churches and community.”
Change in advertising
The firm was an original Suffield Observer advertiser in 1999 and every month since. “My dad’s first ads centered around inspirational messages such as ‘The quieter you become the more you hear’ and ‘It is more honorable to fail than to cheat,’” she says. Several years ago, they modified their messages to share what they’ve learned, offering helpful advice to home buyers and sellers.