Johnson opens business, follows in parents’ footsteps – Detroit Lakes Tribune

Johnson opens business, follows in parents' footsteps - Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – After 25 years in the real estate industry, Robb Johnson returned to his hometown to continue a family legacy of business ownership.

Johnson recently opened Home Smart Adventure Realty in downtown Detroit Lakes. The business specializes in residential real estate, but also offers top-notch knowledge and service for commercial and land transactions.

The Detroit Lakes resident opened the doors at 1012 Washington Avenue after purchasing the building in 2020 and renovating it in 2021, using many local businesses.

His parents, the late Mary and Waldo Johnson owned Castaway Motel in the 1960s (where the Lodge on Detroit Lakes is currently located). His father also owned the Ford Dealership in town from 1960-1980.

Home Smart Adventure Realty office, 1012 Washington Avenue, is owned by broker Robb Johnson. The office has four private offices and a group meeting room where presentations can be made and agents can review market analysis data with clients.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Watching his parents operate a business sparked his entrepreneurial mindset. After graduating from Detroit Lakes High School in 1990 he attended North Dakota State University and earned a business administration degree. In 1997 he entered real estate and by 2003 had his broker license. Johnson moved back to Detroit Lakes and looked forward to joining the thriving business community.


The interior of the recently opened Home Start Real Estate business in downtown Detroit Lakes provides a welcoming, modern feel with tall ceilings and plenty of space for clients to chat with agents about what they are looking for in a property or a property sale.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“I’ve felt very welcome,” he said, noting he and his staff aim to bring that same attitude and support to his clients.

Currently, Johnson is joined by real estate agents Jamie Swenson and Carrie Wirth.

“I met Jamie (Swenson) while working in the Fargo-Moorhead market, and Carrie (Wirth) joined the team in January,” Johnson said.

When looking at companies to go with for his business, Johnson did plenty of research and contemplated his past work experience. He learned about the Home Smart Adventure Realty company, which was started by Matt Widdows in 2000. He said the company was his top pick because it provided all the necessities of a real estate franchise, from technological resources to motivational speakers and convention access. Plus, he liked a family-owned business philosophy offering higher commissions for agents.


Home Smart Adventure Realty recently opened in Detroit Lakes. The office space provides a welcoming atmosphere and a three person staff.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“The franchise is nationwide in almost every state,” Johnson said. “I believe North Dakota was the last one, and I’m opening a business there, in West Fargo in late October.”

Johnson, who also has an office in Sioux Falls, SD, noted his agents and clients are able to download an app and access all data regarding their real estate sale or purchase whether they are in an office or on the pontoon.

“We strive to provide the highest quality of service,” he said. “To us, the little things matter; the details make a big difference.”

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