The Pineapple Way: Closing the Deal

The Pineapple Way: Closing the Deal

The pineapple, a key motif used in Tomlin St Cyr’s branding, is a symbol of hospitality, friendship and generosity. In this same spirit, we seek to evoke the same feeling of welcome to the real estate industry in Tampa Bay. Welcome to our first installment of The Pineapple Way, our franchise series illustrating how the TSC team goes above and beyond the status quo of real estate service.

Missy Hurley, Co-Founder and Principal of B2 Communications, serendipitously came across TSC while she was struggling to get her St. Petersburg home sold. While under contract with another agent, Missy had a chance encounter at a community event with TSC Principal, Holly Tomlin, about the challenges she was facing with getting her home sold after nearly a year. Holly explained to Missy that because she was under contract with another agent, she couldn’t give any input and violate Missy’s contract with her current Realtor.

“I was really down and I appreciated Holly’s ethical feedback,” Missy said. “ She told me, ‘When you’re ready to make a switch, we’re here for you. But we can’t violate the contract.’ We have very high ethical standards at B2 Communications and I really admire Holly and the way she runs her business.”

“We want to take a fresh and new approach”

Enter veteran Realtors Shawn Killebrew and Janice Katz, who specializes in homes that have been hard to sell. Shawn came in with ideas on how to fix up the home and market it. She was decisive and gave Missy estimates on how much each project would be. And like magic, the home SOLD!

“It was important to first and foremost meet with Missy and listen and hear what her frustrations and hopes were regarding this listing,” Shawn said. “We want to take a fresh and new approach whenever we take over a stale listing and bring it to the market in a new light. I always provide professional staging on my listings.”

They started there and walked room to room, looking at the listing through a buyer’s lens. Shawn and Janice launched a “Coming Soon” campaign immediately and that was the beginning of them adding some “pop” to this listing so that it would be noticed again. Turns out the only “pop” this house needed was TSC’s branded sign in the yard! Once they had a showing, their number one priority was excellent communication with the buyer’s agent to lay out the efforts Missy had taken to make this an extra special new home for the buyers.

“They really have been a dream team for me!”

“I don’t know that I would’ve gotten the price that I did if it had not been for Shawn,” Missy said. “We pulled the listing off the market and then increased the price when we relisted. We got an offer and I was confident she was going to negotiate for me to get the best price without losing the sale.”

Shawn and Janice had run the comps, visiting nearby listings in person, and made the decision to increase the price by 2 percent. Originally listed in January 2018, the home was on market until August, then back on in October. Shawn and Janice came aboard on April 1, received an offer April 5 and closed on April 23 in a cash deal.

“Shawn and Janice have been incredible in getting me to closing day and throughout the process,” Missy said. “They really have been a dream team for me! I was losing hope that it was possible to sell the house, and Shawn reassured me that it would be done. And she got it done! She was able to negotiate a higher contract amount than I expected, and has skillfully navigated the process with a tough seller’s agent. Shawn and Janice regularly communicated with me, and they shared status updates, next steps, possible challenges and potential solutions. They’ve been thoughtful and so very helpful. I wish I would have reached out to you sooner! A million thanks!”


“Janice and Shawn are a ray of sunshine to work with,” Missy said. “They are confident and competent. It was important for them to guide me – to say, ‘Here’s what we need to do,’ which I don’t think I got from other Realtors. It was a bonus to work with Pineapple Title with such a whirlwind. I had an issue with my home equity loan that was recorded with the wrong name, and we needed to hit the deadline.”


“Showing hospitality and that you care,” said Missy. “Every step of the way, everyone was personally invested in making things happen. Whether it was a painter for the fireplace or when I had the worst morning and was a mess, and Janice gave me the biggest hug and picked me up donuts, bagels, and coffee to make me have a better day and treated me like her own child. They cared about me personally, not just about getting my house sold. Amy [with Pineapple Title] checked in regularly and was so communicative. Everyone in the office was so happy for me and knew my story, and I felt like there was a personal touch and not just a formulaic service but personal care and touchpoints. Janice and John [Tomlin] would text me and send photos from Easter. It didn’t feel transactional. I didn’t feel like just another client, house to be sold or commission to be made. It felt like family, in a good sense, with a group of people rooting for you because they understand how life-changing it is.”


Shawn has been with TSC since January 2017 and had a sales volume of $3.6M in sales in 2018. She works a strictly referral-based business that focuses on concierge service to family and friends and their important referrals. Shawn graduated cum laude from USF with a BA in elementary education. She retired from a career with the School District of Hillsborough County as a teacher for mostly science, including robotics for middle school students and finally as a teacher on special assignments to support administrations for schools in Plant City, FL. Her family owns Baird Produce, Inc on the Tampa Wholesale Produce Market, a business in Tampa that began in the 1920s. She is married to James Killebrew with four children. 

“I’m so glad to have Janice as my team member and friend,” Shawn said. “Thank you, Janice, for all your hard work, kindness and support. It was so nice meeting Missy and being able to assist her by turning around a difficult selling experience for her. This is why we do what we do!”


Janice started at TSC in January of 2017 and has been in real estate since 2002. Her degree is in education/psychology and she was a classroom educator in the suburbs of Chicago. She later became a retail store buyer prior to entering the real estate field. Her passion is assisting others, listening to their needs and wants and helping others seek their dreams. Janice was Tomlin St Cyr’s inaugural winner of the Go Giver Award in 2017, a peer award recognizing her service above self and fostering the laws of stratospheric success as a contribution to the culture at TSC and in the relationships with her customers.

“TSC has a very positive environment and everyone is willing to go out of their way to assist,” Janice said. “It’s a compassionate team and gives everyone strength, ideas and suggestions to progress. TSC is the best!

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