Families that work together
say it's good for business.
JULIE EDGAR STAFF WRITER
PHOTOS BY DANIEL LIPPITT
Michael Katz knew he was going
to marry Tracy Stanton as soon
as he saw the striking blonde
lounging by the pool at Franklin
He couldn't have predicted she
would become his business part-
The Katzes love working side
by side — the give and take, the
familiarity with the other's style,
the absolute trust in each other
and the convenience.
Like other relatives united in
commerce, the Katzes say a com-
mitment to each other is a com-
mitment to their business.
Nobody's about to walk away
when the going gets tough.
Last fall, a few months after
the two wed, Tracy realized she
had developed a fascination for
Michael's work. Last November,
the former manicurist earned her
realtor's license after weeks of
high anxiety. over the exam.
Michael says he never doubted
Tracy would pass.
She claims she didn't get her
license in order to spend more
time with Michael. Still, Tracy
laughs, "If I were married to him
and didn't understand the busi-
Michael's employer, Coldwell
Banker Schweitzer in downtown
Birmingham, gladly took her on.
"They loved the idea of a cou-
ple working with them," Tracy
says, likening their partnership
to one common to immigrants at
the turn of the century.
Since then, they have spent
most of every day together. They
have not one, but two offices —
Michael's car and the tradition-
al kind at Coldwell Banker. They
recently decided to dismantle
their home office just to get a lit-
tle distance from their jobs.
But not too much.
"It consumes our life. I like it,"
says Tracy, who finds she can
easily accommodate her preg-
nancy into their frenetic sched-
On Memorial Day, after a
weekend of non-stop work, the
couple decided to relax at a
screening of the movie Twister.
But halfway through it, Michael's
pager went off, getting them out
of their seats and back to work.
One of their clients, a Russian
Jewish family, decided to put in
an offer and needed a bit of hand-
They don't bump into each oth-
er or knock heads because there's
too much work for the two of
them. They send clients to each
other when it gets overwhelming.
"Tracy knows exactly what
needs to be done," Michael says.
"We totally feed off each other's
energy. We're a two-man think
tank, bouncing ideas off each oth-
It's no surprise that his par-
ents, Gerald and Janice Katz,
have always worked together in
their business, Herald Wholesale
in Oak Park.
"I see the way they comple-
ment each other," Michael says.
Tracy's folks, Maury and Au-