Meet the Cranwells: Mother and son and business partners


Jackie: “I’ve been in real estate for about 35 years. I grew up in Yonkers, N.Y., and worked in New York City, in advertising, right out of school. I then moved to Washington, D.C., and did marketing work for a local television station. I moved to Rhode Island in the mid-1970s because I had family here. Ron was young, and it was very difficult to be a single mother back then, much more so than it is now. Even getting a credit card was a challenge. I finally found an apartment in Newport, and a job with Carey, Richmond & Viking. I love real estate, my advertising and marketing background made the transition seamless, and the flexible hours let me spend plenty of time with Ron. He grew up in this business.”

Ron: “I was in the third grade when I got my first commission — a referral fee for telling a friend about Holly House, a property off Bellevue that his parents ultimately bought. I remember thinking, “so, this is how this works …”

Jackie: “We put it all in his Old Stone Bank savings account, I remember. Ron became very good at answering the phone, taking messages. He’s actually the third generation in the real estate business. My mother was a realtor back before agents were licensed. It was a very male-dominated industry.”

Ron: “I really got started when I went to Colorado State, where I got a degree in natural resources management. The market there was such that it made more sense to buy than rent. So I bought one to live in and a couple as investments and was able to turn them over for a profit by the time I came back to Rhode Island in the mid-1990s.”

Jackie: “Ron became my business partner at that point. He helped me launch Stone and Cranwell, then we spent a couple of years with Lila Delman before deciding it was time to take a short break.”

Ron: “I went to Indonesia for a friend’s wedding, and met my wife, Myta, there. We, and our 6-year-old daughter Nichole, live here most of the year, but get back to Indonesia for an extended trip in the winter. We own and operate Summerwood, an Indonesian import store in Warren, and we spend much of our time in Indonesia buying inventory.”

Jackie: “I stay a little closer to home most of the time. We’re with Raveis real estate now. It’s the largest family-owned real estate company in the northeast, and the support, the big web presence, is great. You need that in today’s market.”

Ron: “Raveis really competes in the high-end real estate market with their Exceptional Properties Division. We lay out a 12-month marketing plan with several print ads in national press like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fine Homes, in addition to complete website coverage. We are giving customers something that they aren’t getting anywhere else.”

Jackie: “Whether you are buying a starter home or a large one, it’s one of the biggest investments you will ever make. You want good advice and service along the way. And with us, you get two for the price of one.”

Ron: “So much of this business is about personalities. It comes down to whom you like, who you trust and want to work with.”

Jackie: “I love meeting so many interesting people. They put themselves in your care and trust your integrity, and that trust is so often repaid. Just today I listed a property that I sold to that same couple several years ago. It’s gratifying to see clients return again and again.”

Ron: “As for the market, we can finally say that it’s turning. Just a bit, but the trend is clear. If you have been waiting to buy, now is the time. There is really no downside risk right now.”




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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.