Talking Shop with Jummie Ready, property manager of Landmark Properties and the Venue

Monday, January 11, 2010

After more than 14 years as a flight attendant, Jummie Ready has embarked upon a new journey she hopes will lead to revitalization of midtown Cape Girardeau. As property manager of Landmark Properties and the Venue wedding and event center, Ready said that since she assumed the role in November 2008 it's been quite a ride. Southeast Missourian business reporter Brian Blackwell recently visited with Ready to learn more about her journey, the ins and outs of the property management business and the future of business in the city.

Q: You are the mother of two children, Brittany, 20, and Harper, 4. How do you balance work and being a single mother?

A: The nice thing about what I do is it's by weekends and appointment only. I can stay home late or bring Harper home with me. So it's worked really good. Sometimes it's hard when I have big events and am here 15 hours a day. Luckily I have a supportive family and friends who help me out. But my daughter has a pink Escalade here. She loves the Venue.

Q: You obviously are a busy woman. What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

A: I like to work out. Unfortunately I haven't been in a gym in a while. I used to run six miles a day. I'd like one day to do a triathlon. And I'm getting more involved with community. I'm involved with Leadership Cape and hope to join some more civic organizations.

Q: You were a flight attendant with Delta and TWA for quite a while. What was the job like for you?

A: It was a wonderful job for a 20-year-old in college. I lived in about 10 different cities and flew internationally. I took advantage of the fact we could be based in either coast. We had bases all over. I lived in New York City for a couple of years, which I loved. And I was fortunate enough to fly international. I enjoyed not having a set schedule each day. The great thing about flying is you don't work the typical five-day workweek. Some days you work just two days. The good thing is you'd have some time during layovers to stay a few days. I love what I'm doing now, but I miss going to the cities.

What were some of your more interesting experiences as a flight attendant?

We were taking out of Honolulu on my birthday and blew eight tires on a 747. We were full and had over 400 people. We weren't going so fast, so it wasn't an abrupt stop. But I was on duty that day for 26 hours. So it wasn't the best birthday. The engines failing a few times didn't scare me as much as terrorist threats. I've been in London when there were bomb threats. I was flying for TWA when one of the planes blew up and lost several friends while I was at work that night that it happened. I was on trauma response team for TWA and we'd go wherever there were incidents, including that one. But it was a great job. It doesn't work if you have a family, so I quit right before 9-11.

Q: Who has influenced you the most in your life?

A: My mom, Shirley, who passed away eight years ago. She was a very strong Southern woman who always had her own business. She ran her own beauty shop and got into running own gas stations in South Carolina. She was one of those people who was not afraid of anyone or challenges. I have most of those traits and I don't know if that's good or bad. Losing my mom was hard. That happened right around 9-11. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through.

Q: What's it been like as a woman in business?

A: In this area it doesn't seem like I've run into a lot of issues. I haven't run into the good old boys so far. I want to address the need for revitalization in the midtown area and get it back to par. I like that Cape Girardeau is focusing on downtown but I wish they'd be more receptive of the midtown area. We want the city to work with us to attract new business. I'm hoping being a part of that Leadership 2010 class will help with that.

Q: How did you get into the property management field?

A: I was back in Charleston, S.C., where I'm from originally, and decided I was going to nursing school. There was a three-year wait to get into nursing school in Charleston, so I moved back to St. Louis where I have family and got into a nursing program there. I started out as a personal assistant to the owner of a real estate company to help pay bills and he taught me everything he knew about it. Then I became his maintenance supervisor until I became director of his commercial property. I did that for about four years up there until I moved here to do the same thing on a smaller scale. It gave me an opportunity to do things that weren't so much 24/7. With residential units you're on call all the time.

Q: What do you see as the future of Independence Center?

A: We have Muy Bueno coming in. Dr. Jessup, who owns the property, has talked about reopening Cosmo's. He will revamp it a bit. In fact, I've turned away some others who have wanted to open there. We think it's a good location with a drive through. I've had several vacancies that I'm trying to get florists and formal wear shops to complement the Venue. I'd like to make it a more family-oriented shopping center.

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