Chris Groce may be one of the few people around not glued to the NCAA action taking place this month.
Despite being an avid basketball player throughout middle and high school, Groce says that he has no desire to watch the sport anymore.
“That’s the odd thing about me, I played ball and really enjoyed it, but when I was in my mid-20s I just quit watching it and everything. I can’t even tell you who’s playing,” Groce said. “I haven’t seen a tournament game in probably 15 or 20 years. I’ve just kind of turned a page on that.”
Groce said that he discontinued the sport after high school because he wasn’t tall enough to be on the college team. He enjoyed playing with children from his church on the church’s single goal court but was forced to quit a few years ago due to complications with his knees.
Groce owns Groce Auction and Realty and Gateway Realty and Development Corporation. He has been in the real estate business for 33 years and has become a well-known staple around Yadkinville.
A lifelong resident of Yadkin County, Groce was raised on a tobacco farm in Hamptonville. Farming proved to be an important part of Groce’s life and taught him lessons that would serve him in his real estate career.
“I learned to work and stay with it growing up on a farm,” Groce said. “I learned you don’t change things every time you turn around; you get something and stay with it. I learned how to deal with people a little bit.”
He graduated from Starmount High School where he was named The Tribune’s Player of the Year. After graduating from high school he went on to North Carolina State, where he studied for a year before deciding to return to Yadkin County and start a business.
“I got my real estate, insurance and auction license, and in December 1979 opened a small office here in town,” Groce said. “I debated on going to Elkin but I decided to come here because I was from Yadkin County and it was the county seat.”
Groce has been married to Donna Joiner for 33 years, and the two have three daughters. He is also a proud grandfather to a baby girl, and his oldest daughter is due to have a daughter in two months. Groce said he was always outnumbered living in a house with four women.
“When the girls were all at home I was always outnumbered four to one. It was always interesting times,” Groce said. “I’m kind of old school; when they were growing up I always liked to let them know that I was the father and the head of the household, and they needed to go along with what I wanted to do. But at the same time I would try to spend time with them and do some things that they wanted to do.”
Groce also loves to sing. He was a member of a southern gospel quartet for many years and now serves as choir director at Fall Creek Baptist Church.
He has also been an active participant in local government and development in the past acting as a county commissioner for four years, a member of the chamber of commerce for four years and a member of the Downtown Business Association.
Groce says that he has no plans to retire in the near future but he might like to open a sporting goods and trading shop one day. He says he would consider expanding his business if a family member wanted to join him but that doesn’t look like something he’ll be doing anytime soon.
“I plan to stay in business right here and do auction sales and real estate work in and around the county here and I don’t plan on doing anything different,” Groce said. “It doesn’t seem like it until I do the math that I’ve been in business as long as I have, the time has gone by so fast. I know a lot of evenings I go home now and it just doesn’t seem like I’ve been driving back and forth to Yadkinville for 33 years.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.