TRURO, N.S. – Prior to the 1980s, businesses led by women were rare.
Those women who did venture into the job market were often discriminated against and rarely treated as equals.
Things began to change when they started to explore other employment options, including entrepreneurship.
It’s fitting that in line with International Women’s Day, a local female-led company is currently celebrating 30 year since opening in Truro.
“We actually started our business just a few doors down from where we are now,” said Sharon Corcoran, owner of RE/MAX Fairlane Realty.
Corcoran and her business partner, Barbie Schofield, opened Fairlane Realty on Prince Street in March 1988. Although women-led companies were emerging, getting started in what was still considered a “man’s world” wasn’t easy.
“We weren’t thinking it was a problem back then, but when we started to look for money to start up our business, we weren’t sure how it would go,” said Corcoran.
“We were very fortunate, as it was a time where we didn’t have as many female entrepreneurs as we do now. The one thing about the real-estate field, though, is it has always had a strong female presence in the sales force.”
Starting out as a small independent business with just two agents, the company quickly developed, with many of their signature blue signs popping up around town.
“I think when you open any business, there are always hurdles to get over,” said Corcoran on the early days of running her business.
“The biggest thing you have to overcome is your own fear. One of those fears can be financial fear, as you make a commitment to take on all these new expenses and bills. There is definitely more responsibility when starting a company, but it was still quite exciting for us.”
After Schofield retired from the company in 2002, Corcoran felt it was time for a change and the business came under the RE/MAX banner, changing to RE/MAX Fairlane Realty in 2005.
As a female entrepreneur looking back on her own journey, Corcoran said there is no better time for other women to expand on their business ideas and enter the entrepreneurial field.
“You know, our young women today are tough, strong minded, very well educated and they’ve got a lot of spunk,” she said.
“I would say if you’ve got a good idea and have the interest, excitement and desire, then just do it. Don’t be afraid to ask other entrepreneurs for assistance and guidance either. I’ve watched many female entrepreneurs come into their own, and I think we are always willing to help each other.”
As a way to reminisce about the Fairlane of the past, Corcoran and her company are celebrating the last 30 years of business with cake and stories of the old days at their office at 791 Prince St. from 1-5 p.m. today (Thursday).
“We at Fairlane have lived through some periods of high interest rates, economic downturns and record-breaking weather events,” said Corcoran.
“It’s important to remember things happen to you in business that aren’t in your control all the time, but it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”