Barclay Avenue in Pine River got a new real estate agent in the form of Kari Crimmins and North Pointe Realty Advantage.

Crimmins started the business in 2017 and remains the sole broker and owner. The company was formerly located in Pequot Lakes.

Crimmins has had a realty license for many years, though she didn't always use it to sell property. She originally got her license while working at American National Bank.

"I kind of thought it would help advance my job," Crimmins said. "That's how I got into real estate to begin with, though I actually managed a real estate office in Hackensack a few years before that, though I never wanted to sell at all."

After American National Bank she moved on to working for some larger real estate companies in approximately 2012, starting at Century 21 and then going to Exit Realty. Eventually she felt a calling to be her own boss.

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"I decided I needed to make my own business for myself," Crimmins said. "I decided to get my broker's license."

The change came during a tumultuous time in her life, but it offered her an outlet and something she could control.

"My business is more than just a business to me. It's really like my life and like my baby."

— Kari Crimmins.

"My business is more than just a business to me," Crimmins said. "It's really like my life and like my baby."

She had to build up her confidence in the beginning. As with many businesses, it wasn't immediately profitable. Her relocation to Pine River is sort of a celebration of how far she has come.

"Years ago I was literally a single mom with two kids and no income," Crimmins said. "I was working at a restaurant so I could pay my bills while building this business up. Three years later, here I am."

She's treating the move as a rebranding.

"It's all new logos, a new website and new systems for lead generations and followups and things like that. It's almost like a grand reopening."

— Kari Crimmins.

"It's all new logos, a new website and new systems for lead generations and followups and things like that," Crimmins said. "It's almost like a grand reopening."

Relocating to Pine River means returning to her roots where she grew up and where her kids go to school. She also sees a lot of potential for growth in Pine River. Whereas the Highway 371 bypass went east of Pequot Lakes, she and others in real estate are seeing a lot of growth possibilities in Pine River and other rural communities due to the increase in remote working and some efforts to get away from the metro area after an unpredictable year.

"I feel like it's a fresh start. I'm really excited about it," Crimmins said.

Though Crimmins said she only got her first realty license to advance her job at the bank, she's since found a niche in the industry. She said it fits her personality and her need to keep active and flexible. She even tried to return to banking for a few months between her time with Century 21 and her time with Exit Realty and found she no longer liked it.

Crimmins said real estate helped her to guide others to the places that they could call home. That was a particularly important feeling to her. When she was 9, her parents divorced and she never felt at home after that. She wants to help others avoid that feeling.

"I have this internal feeling I need to bring people home and find people homes."

— Kari Crimmins.

"I have this internal feeling I need to bring people home and find people homes," Crimmins said.

She officially bought her building in Pine River on Dec. 30. There is a second real estate agent licensed under her brokerage - Emily Schrupp, an independent contractor with the company.

Crimmins never plans to leave and is working hard to bring people to those homes. She looks forward to the future.

"Do I want to grow? Yes, but I don't necessarily want to have a traditional real estate brokerage model," she said.

Crimmins thinks her ability to use technology in her business sets her aside from others in the business. Her business is set up for more and more virtual deals. She can do virtual tours, virtual meetings, virtual showings and e-signatures for sales. In some cases it isn't necessary that the buyer ever meet her or set foot on the property.

I feel you really need to know how to roll with the punches and change with the times," Crimmins said.

Crimmins offers a direct buy program for select properties if the owners need to sell immediately. She said not all Realtors offer that option.

Crimmins is one of two new members of the Pine River Chamber board of directors.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at