A native of Oxford, Mississippi, where generational roots run deep, Julia understands the importance of hard work, home, and family. Her grandmother, Dorothy Lee Tatum, was a proud mother of six who believed in the importance of education, community and her beloved Ole Miss. She enjoyed hosting guests at her celebrated National Historic Landmark antebellum estate, Ammadelle, designed by Calvert Vaux, who would later design New York City’s Central Park. Julia’s grandfather, John Franklin Tatum, was an entrepreneur who donated land to the city and then designed and built the city’s country club and golf course, which was later turned into the city park. He started the town’s first golf cart sales company, an insurance agency, and Mid-Town, Oxford’s first shopping center, which is still family owned and operated to this day and houses some of the best restaurants in town. Growing up with a deep appreciation for family, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a strong sense of home, Julia knows how to help her clients find the perfect places to start their own traditions.
Staying close to home, Julia attended the University of Mississippi, graduating with her Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in graphic design in 2014. After college Julia took a job with a local design firm in Oxford, where she worked until a unique opportunity arose in 2016 - her cousin decided to sell Delta Grind, a stone-ground grits and cornmeal operation located in nearby Water Valley, Mississippi. Julia saw this as the perfect opportunity to get her hands dirty doing something that fueled her creative spirit. Years later, Julia has successfully grown the company, reshaped the business model, expanded with the construction of a new commercial facility, and now ships Delta Grind cornmeal, grits, polenta, and masa across the country. You can find Delta Grind products in restaurants from coast to coast and now up here on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. She and her grits have even been featured in magazines such as Garden & Gun and Southern Living. From March 17-19, Julia and Delta Grind are pairing up with Chef Jason at Old Edwards Half-Mile Farm to host a Shrimp & Grits weekend.
After marrying her husband Mac, the couple planted their new roots in Lake Toxaway and embarked on their next next adventure – Banner & Associates LLC, a construction and design firm specializing in residential and commercial projects, as well as project management, here in Western North Carolina. “For me, real estate was a natural next step,” Julia said, “with my knowledge and understanding of the construction and development process and my passion for working with people, combining the two felt right. I enjoy the connections you make working in real estate, and I always look forward to visiting the properties and learning the stories behind them.”
When choosing where to grow her real estate business, Julia says she had her sights set high on Silver Creek Real Estate Group. “I’ve always admired Silver Creek and wanted to work with a local firm that fosters the growth of its people,” Julia said. “Having a background in design, I was also drawn to Silver Creek’s marketing, not only for listed properties but for the brokers as well. I look up to Jochen [Lucke; Silver Creek Founder & President] as a leader and enjoy being part of a team that works so well together.” Since moving to the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau,
Julia and her husband have found that the friendly atmosphere, breathtaking mountain views, and unique communities make it easy to find a taste of home and help others find or create their perfect place on the Plateau too. Julia’s knowledge of buying and selling real estate and her unique understanding of the intricacies involved in home construction has proven invaluable for her clients. “Working with Mac on his projects, helping choose the perfect fixtures and finishes, and coming up with interior design solutions has opened up the way that I approach my clients’ buying and selling process,” Julia says. She has an excellent eye for what makes a house a home, and she can see past design and layout to troubleshoot simple changes that, with a bit of elbow grease, can make an immense difference in how a space feels. Better yet, she knows just the right people to carry those projects forward.
When Julia is not out finding homes for her clients and their families, you can find her reading, gardening, entertaining with friends, and exploring the local lakes and hiking trails of the Plateau with Mac, their two Great Danes, Grace and George, blue heeler, Gus, and their newest addition, an English cream golden retriever puppy named Hank.
Q & A with Julia:
What goals are you working toward in 2023?
This year I’m looking forward to growing my business with Silver Creek, forging relationships with new clients and continuing to foster the relationships with my previous clients. I am also focusing heavily on health this year — in all forms: business and personal. With Banner & Associates, we have already taken on multiple new construction homes starting this spring, and we are also ramping up to complete our own personal renovations.
What qualities differentiate you from other agents in our market?
Having a background in construction and working closely with Mac and our subcontractors allows me to look at properties and buildings differently. When I go to view a home, I can identify specific changes that could be made to give my clients what they want and need. Also, being a people person, I pay close attention to detail and find that having an easygoing nature helps on both sides of the buying and selling process, which can often be very stressful for clients. I always consider my clients my friends by the end of the process - I love keeping in touch with them and being an ally when they need anything in our area.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
I’m a pretty open book, but there are a couple of things people may not know about me. I love to sew; anything from curtains and stockings to ornaments and fixing up upholstery. While I do not teach at this time, I went through yoga teacher training in 2020 and fell in love with hot yoga. I know all the lyrics to hit songs from the 90s, and I also really enjoy zoning in to do jigsaw puzzles, but only if they have 2,000 or more pieces.
When you're not selling real estate, how do you enjoy spending your time?
Anything that gets me outside, whether that’s hanging out by the water at the beach or lake or getting out and gardening in my yard. Landscaping design is something that I really enjoy, and it allows me to channel my creativity. I often scour the local nurseries for new plants for my yard, as well as those of my clients and I love helping them spruce up their landscaping. Whistlin’ Dixie, New Leaf, and Henderson’s are my favorites, to name a few. I also try to hike weekly with girlfriends and our dogs in the forest (usually on Friday mornings). Additionally, with my husband Mac working in construction, I often get to be a second set of eyes on his projects, and I enjoy helping him pick out final touches like finishes and fixtures, which has also given me quite a bit of interior design knowledge.
If someone is spending only a day on the Plateau, what is the #1 thing they should do?
Start by grabbing a coffee at Bucks and get outside, whether that’s strolling through the Cashiers Farmers Market or taking a hike on one of our many local trails. Spend some time exploring the stores in Cashiers and Highlands and grab a bite for lunch to eat at Slabtown or Ugly Dog. Float the river or fly fish with Headwaters Outdoors in Rosman — Jessica is a phenomenal guide. Stop in to see Lane at Vivace. Grab a drink and appetizers at the Highlander Mountain House. There are so many options when it comes to things to do up here; just take advantage of the opportunities!
Is there a non-profit in the area you are passionate about?
I’m an animal lover, so the Humane Society.
What are your favorite restaurants on the Plateau?
Four65 Woodfire Bistro & Bar in Highlands because I love the ambiance, and their tapas are always delicious. Cornucopia in Cashiers is also great. Their open dining room is the perfect place to grab drinks or a bite to eat during the summer. Greystone Inn in Lake Toxaway is another one of my favorite restaurants. In the spring and summer, Mac and I eat lunch there almost every day to take a break from the nearby job sites in Lake Toxaway Estates. It’s fun because of the history surrounding the Inn, and it sits right on the water, so the view is amazing.
What is your favorite season on the Plateau?
I love early fall because of the crisp mornings. I’m a morning person, so one of my favorite things to do is to sit on the porch with my cup of coffee and watch the sunshine peek through the fall leaves.
What adivce would you give to someone starting their search for a home on the Plateau?
Come visit! So many communities offer different atmospheres and amenities, and the areas on the Plateau are diverse in their landscape and surrounding nature. To really get a feel for where you are purchasing your home, it’s important to get your feet on the ground and explore what the Plateau has to offer.
Outside of the Plateau, where is your favorite place to travel?
Outside of the country, I love Europe. I’ve traveled all over Italy, which was one of the best experiences. I really enjoyed England and would love to explore more there; it’s where my father-in-law is from and where Mac was born. Stateside, the 30A scenic highway down in the Florida panhandle is one of my favorites. I’ve been going there since I was a kid, and I know it like the back of my hand now. On my bucket list of places to visit are Australia and Thailand.
What is the most valuable thing you've learned while working as a broker?
Being open-minded with clear communication helps things move smoother, and that’s what I am here for, to make the entire process as smooth and seamless as possible. Buying and selling land and/or homes is a very personal transaction.
What advice would you give to a new real estate agent?
The market is always going to ebb and flow, but it’s essential to stick with it and keep going even if real estate is something you are passionate about. Be friendly and open. Good relationships and clients will come. Be present, stay current, and stay positive!
To get in contact with Julia and view her listed properties, visit her website here.