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Business & Real Estate

Campi continues to thrive at 25


Diego Abeloos/Town Crier
Gary and Karen Campi started Campi Properties, Inc. after a partnership split in 1989. The couple has lived in Los Altos since the mid-1970s.

A real estate company that established its roots in Los Altos before the emergence of the iPhone – or the boom and bust times of the Bay Area dot-com scene, for that matter – has turned 25.

Campi Properties Inc. founders Gary and Karen Campi recently celebrated their company’s two-and-a-half-decade stay in Los Altos. It started with a partnership split (formerly Eckert & Campi) and was up and running within one week with more than a dozen agents operating in a small office rented from a local title company.

The couple, Los Altos residents since the mid-1970s, distinctly recalled the experience as “kind of an overnight thing.”

“Literally, within a week we got everything – new stationery, signs, this and that – up and running,” said Gary, who spent five years as a Redwood City firefighter before changing gears and embarking on a real estate career.

“I remember that (the title company) let us come in and use their phones,” added Karen. “We didn’t have furniture. We didn’t have anything. We had 17 agents, us and this tiny space. We were just trying to get going.”

More than two decades later, the Campis noted that while the Bay Area real estate market has changed dramatically throughout the decades, the basic principles that made them successful remain true. Each home, buyer or seller, Gary said, is a unique situation that requires a personalized approach.

“It’s still about getting in there, being hands-on and searching for the right buyer or seller,” said Gary, who became interested in real estate when he began buying fixer-uppers on the Peninsula in his early 20s. “It’s about finding the right fit.”

“It’s hard work – being steady,” Karen said. “It’s not about just getting in and getting out.”

In recent years, the Campis have added some familiar company to their offices at 195 S. San Antonio Road. The couple’s two daughters – Lauren Campi-Legge and Jaclyn Campi-Owen – currently serve as agents for their parents’ company. Their son-in-law, Jordan Legge, joined them during the past year.

“They’ve understood (the business) well and have been in it since day one,” Gary said of his daughters. “Literally from the start, they were around in the office – early mornings, nights, even weekends.”

While he’s witnessed the peaks and valleys of the local real estate market for nearly three decades, Gary said the one consistent aspect of the job he continues to enjoy is the challenge of pursuing new opportunities in real estate on a daily basis.

“Every day is different,” he said. “You wake up every day and the job’s not there – you have to go out and get it.”

For more information, visit campi.com.

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