Doug Garrison has spent his entire life playing in the dirt. From growing up on the family farm to working as a University of Georgia extension employee, Garrison’s love for the land has carried him from childhood through career and into a new role as a successful land agent.
“From the time I was young, I loved living on the farm and knew I wanted to be in agriculture,” Garrison says. “Now I am just channeling that passion in a new way by selling land rather than working it.”
Garrison was the first in his family to graduate college, but he did not stop there; he also completed his master’s degree in agriculture at the University of Georgia while newly married. He and his bride were initially assigned to Elbert County, where Garrison worked as a county agent for the UGA Cooperative Extension, then he transferred to Barrow County where he retired following 29 years of progressive service.
“I was too young to do nothing, and I wanted to stay close to the agriculture field,” he says. “I explored my options and realized I knew farmers, and I knew the local land, so why not try my hand at commercial real estate in land sales?”
After several successful years, Garrison put his real estate career on hold in 2004 to serve as the Barrow County Commission Chairman. “I left real estate in its prime,” Garrison says. “I sold a lot of land—people trusted me and respected my knowledge of the area. But money has never been a driving force for me; instead, I felt the need to give back to my community.”
When he was ready to reenter the real estate world, Garrison remembered a two-day conference Frank Norton, Jr. had hosted in Barrow County. He decided Frank seemed like a great leader, so in 2009, he started The Norton Agency’s Winder office and has been there ever since.
“I was drawn to Norton because of family,” Garrison says. “I am proud to be associated with a company that has grown through the years by basing their business on family and strong Christian beliefs.”
The bulk of Garrison’s business is focused in Barrow County, a comfortable territory due to his wide breadth of contacts in the community. “I have never wanted a huge volume of listings,” he says. “I prefer to keep my book small and focus on service, spending my time really getting to know my clients face-to-face.”
Garrison also enjoys the flexibility real estate gives him when it comes to his family, specifically spending time with his six grandchildren. When he’s not being “Papa,” Garrison says one of his favorite relaxing activities is cutting his own grass. He also enjoys visiting his “little place at the beach,” but his dream remains to own a home in the middle of a 100-acre farm.
“I really would have loved to have been a farmer—I love the land, I love to farm, and I have such fond memories of my childhood growing up on a farm,” he says.
Garrison’s involvement in community also has led him to serving as an active member of the First Baptist Church of Winder and he supports Relay for Life; however, it’s his quaint “country gentlemen” personality, old-fashioned work ethic, and dedication to the things he values that makes Garrison stand out.
“I am a generalist—I enjoy life, and my personal goal is to work well into my 70s. I only hope I have the good sense to quit if I need to,” he says with a laugh. “But as long as I am healthy, I want to be active, to interact with people, and to be a dedicated professional, and working at The Norton Agency gives me that opportunity.”