For Melvin, the change is not as great as one might think. He has been "dabbling" in real estate as an investment for more than 20 years and the knowledge and expertise he has gained in the field over those years has allowed him to bring more to the table than would the average "rookie."
Melvin, who sold his Melvin's restaurant business in July of last year, said he quickly grew tired of retirement and began looking for something more to occupy his time than playing golf.
"A man's got to have something to do-to feel useful," said Melvin. "Since I've been involved in the real estate business from the investment side for many years, I thought I might be interested in working in the business."
Melvin said he got encouragement and support from his lifelong friend, Charlie Hilton.
"One Sunday at church, Charlie and I were talking and I asked him how I could go about getting a real estate license," Melvin said. "He told me to go to the Tom Daniels Real Estate School in Fayetteville. He said the school has an excellent reputation in training real estate professionals."
Shortly thereafter-in October 2004-he enrolled in the school, graduating in December. He took the state examination to become certified as a licensed real estate agent in January and joined his friend at Hilton Auction and Realty in early February.
Hilton said he is elated to have Melvin join the business.
"We're tickled to get him," said Hilton. "He's always been a hard worker as was evident from his family business.
"I don't think we could find anyone with a more well known name and face around our area than Pat," said Hilton. "Moreover, as he has demonstrated over the years in his business, he knows how to work with the public. Both of these are tremendous assets.
"But the fact that he has so much experience in real estate as well-particularly commercial real estate for investment purposes-makes him an immeasurable asset to this firm," he said.
"I believe another asset he will bring to us is the stabilizing effect he will have on our staff, most of whom are young and quite aggressive," he said. "Pat's influence can't help but positively affect our business."
Melvin, whose roots in Bladen go back many generations, returned home to take over management of the family business after completing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at East Carolina University in 1971.
In the following years, the business-which had been in his family for nearly 30 years-was transformed from a poolroom and hamburger stand to a thriving fast food restaurant that drew customers from throughout the state and nation to Elizabethtown.
After resisting offers from individuals interested in purchasing the business for many years, Melvin decided the timing was right to sell last year. Now he's off to "another adventure."
"This is something I can sink my teeth into," said Melvin. "The real estate business is a win-win situation. You're helping people who want to sell real estate, and in turn helping those who need or want to buy property. I like working with people in a way that I can help them. I can do that in this profession."
Hilton Auction and Realty is located at 505 West Broad Street in Elizabethtown and is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekdays and by appointment on evenings and weekends.
To contact Melvin, call 862-4549.