15 Minutes: Flip in careers for longtime grocery man
Flip Walker, 46, is a familiar face to many because he’s worked at the Al Tahoe Albertsons for 15 years. He has started spending more time as a real estate agent with Century 21 at Tahoe Paradise. Walker skis, kayaks, hike and rafts white water.
Q: What brought you to Tahoe in the first place?
A: I grew up in San Rafael and my parents owned a house up here. We used to come up here every summer. Just being around the Tahoe environment all my life, I really wanted to be a part of this community. The reason I stayed in Tahoe and made it work for myself is because I love being in this environment.
Q: What’s it like working at the grocery store in a small town?
A: Working at Albertsons has introduced me to many faces in the community. In the industries I’m in, grocery and real estate, you meet a wide range of people. Everyone needs to eat, whether you are homeless or really rich, and everyone needs a home. I get out on the street and so many people say, “I know you,” and I always ask, “Where do you buy your groceries?”
Q: How did you get the name Flip?
A: Back in the ’50s there was a show called “Stagecoach,” and my dad kind of pinned the name on me. Ronald is the name on my birth certificate.
Q: How long have you been in real estate?
A: Six years. I made a move to this office last January after working from home for about five years.
In real estate, you can make your own hours, you are independent and it can be very rewarding if you are motivated. I thought it would make a good lifestyle transition; I know I may retire from Albertsons soon and I knew I had to look ahead to my future options.
Q: How’s the real estate market right now?
A: It’s a buyers market right now. Negotiations are a little more give and take. Prices have flattened. So it’s a good time for locals to get in, get their ducks in a row.
I’m fortunate enough to work with Dana and Michelle Benedict; they are well established agents and have been doing it for a long time with Don and Theresa Souers. Having direction from highly experienced people is a gift. Once you get a group of people together who support each other as a team, it works a lot better. Especially in Tahoe, where we have so many rules to deal with, that experience is key.
I feel it’s a gift that I was invited to join the team here. Especially in the last 1 1/2 years, my knowledge has sky-rocketed.
Q: Is there anything people know you for?
A: I’ve spent a lot of time at Heavenly, and people know me from skiing there. I also do a lot of kayaking, hiking and river rafting. I’m one of those people that people see around a lot.
Q: What’s the best river to ride at this time of year?
A: Chili Bar, the launching point at South Fork of the American. It runs from Chili Bar to Folsom Lake. It’s easily accessible and shuttles are easy to set up, it’s very convenient. Right now, the East Fork of the Carson is also really good.
You have to be aware of the inherent dangers of whitewater. If you fall off, you can really be hurt.
Q: Were you ever on ski patrol?
A: I always wanted to be on ski patrol, but never pursued it. I’ve always liked helping people. At the store, I was feeding people. Here, I’m helping people get a house.
The whole office applauds when a local buys a house for the first time here instead of moving off the hill.
Q: What’s the first step?
A: The first step is to meet with a mortgage broker, see what you actually need to do to get a loan. A lot of people don’t know they can get a loan.
Q: What’s the scariest part for people buying a house?
A: The unknown, all the questions like: “How will I do it?” “How will I pay the bills?” “Will I get a loan?” If it’s something they really want to do, they can make it work.
Q: Got anything to say to people out there?
A: I really want people to know what happened to Flip. I want to keep my connections with the people I’ve met in the last 15 years in this town. It’s taken me 15 years to build up to this community. I like being a part of it and I don’t want to lose it.
The small town is really a beautiful thing like that.
Q: Do you have a philosophy?
A: Simplicity is a gift. If you can keep your life simple, you will have it made. Once you start filling your life with needs and wants, it becomes cluttered. It’s a gift to be simple.
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