One of Spartanburg County’s top entrepreneurs has joined a leading Upstate-based commercial real estate brokerage firm.
NAI Earle Furman announced Friday, Sept. 1, John Bauknight has joined its Spartanburg office located at 314 S. Pine St. across from the city’s Converse Heights neighborhood.
“There is a wonderful team approach in place at NAI Earle Furman and excellent growth opportunities,” Bauknight said. “When I’m considering new opportunities, I always look at several characteristics – the most important being the individuals involved. I believe it’s the people that make NAI Earle Furman different from the rest of the commercial real estate firms in our area.”
Bauknight, originally of Spartanburg, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wofford College in 1989.
In 1997, he and his business partner Nick Wildrick founded Shred First LLC, a document destruction company that eventually landed on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America in 2003 and 2005.
Bauknight is president and co-founder of the Spartanburg-based investment firm Longleaf Holdings USA, which owns RJ Rockers Brewing Co. in Spartanburg. He was instrumental in leading the brewery to relocate to downtown Spartanburg in 2009.
Longleaf Holdings owns and manages a variety of other commercial and residential real estate assets, and has taken a minority position in several start-up ventures such as the Greenville-based apparel company Southern Tide.
Bauknight is heavily involved in Spartanburg’s entrepreneurial community. In 2015 helped launch Spartanburg Angels, a network of investors formed to provide funding for small business ventures in the community.
The business leader said it takes “persistence” to be a successful entrepreneur.
NAI Earle Furman’s Spartanburg brokerage team includes Andrew Babb, Stuart Smith, Cole Morris, Chris Harrison, Daniel Dunn, Parish Smith, Lianna Saad, and Kevin Pogue.
Bauknight has formed a partnership within the office with Babb. The two men have been friends since high school.
“It’s exiting to work side by side with John again,” Babb said in a statement. “We had our first business venture while in college.”
Bauknight said he has more than 20 years of experience in the real estate business.
“It’s evident that downtown Spartanburg is really hitting its stride right now,” Bauknight said. “We have people from Greenville, Charleston, and Asheville, N.C., looking at doing projects here. That is when you know you’re really starting to clip.”
“Joining NAI Earle Furman will keep me fully engaged in this community,” Bauknight added.