Janet Jones: Sells Little Rock in More Ways Than One

It really wasn't much of a stretch when Janet Jones was selected in 1998 to be the first woman to lead the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.

"I love selling Little Rock," she said. "Do you want my Chamber of Commerce speech or my residential real estate speech? Often, they're one and the same."

Jones has sold Little Rock for years and literally has helped sell and sometimes resell pieces of the city for more than 35 years. Her namesake firm accounted for $100 million worth of home sales annually and ranks among the 10 largest residential real estate agencies in Arkansas.

The Janet Jones Co. is a perennial market leader in Little Rock's affluent northern neighborhoods, a range that extends from the Heights/Hillcrest area in the east to Chenal Valley in the west. The company will celebrate its 30th anniversary on April 1.

Selling Little Rock to out-of-town homebuyers translated well to selling executives considering locations for business expansions or relocations, too. Her enjoyment working one-on-one with people and comfort shifting from leader to team member also aided her efforts at the chamber.

"I had been very active in the chamber some time before that," Jones said. "I was very pleased to be selected and appreciative of the opportunity."

Encouragement from a friend who thought she would be good at selling houses led to a second career opportunity that afforded flexible hours that fit well with raising young children.

The move to residential real estate in 1974 followed earlier classroom work as a math and English teacher backed with a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. The decision to step out on her own in 1980 accompanied changes at Bueter-Gibson Realty.

"The two brokers I was working with were starting their own companies, and I decided if I was going to join a new company it might as well be my own," Jones said.

Known for her seemingly perpetual sunny disposition, she credits her parents with influencing her upbeat outlook on life. "They taught me to choose happiness and optimism," Jones said.

The same unabashed enthusiasm and effervescent personality she brought to the chamber also was carried to other civic and philanthropic endeavors. Her volunteerism and community boosterism have drawn awards and accolades over the years.

Most recently, a dinner honoring her good works served as a fundraiser for The Gaines House, a nonprofit transitional living residence for homeless women, 18 or older, treated for mental, physical or emotional disability.

Jones currently serves on the board of visitors for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the board of directors for the YMCA of Metropolitan Little Rock.

Her resume of past board work includes the Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Board, State Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas, Youth Home and Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute.