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For 42 years, Marv Needles and Flagship Realty have been a mainstay on Marco Island.

Recently, he made the decision to give up his ERA franchise when his children showed no interest in assuming the management role for the company.

In looking back on his career, Needles in an interview talked about coming to Southwest Florida as a “young man” to make a future for himself, and a journey that began 47 years ago when he arrived on Marco Island.

In 1968, he began working for the Deltona Corp.

“I was a gofer and did all types of jobs for Deltona as they were starting to build the island,” said Needles.

Then in 1973, he started his own company, Flagship Realty, in a small 430-square-foot office in Old Marco.

His firm eventually expanded into rentals and opened additional locations on the island.

Flagship Home Builders

In 1990, he started Flagship Home Builders, seeing a need to provide more affordable homes for families at middle-income levels, which are often referred to as “bridge housing.”

“Marco had that need to provide homes for the working-class families and we tried to fill that void,” said Needles. “We would also build some of the other larger, more expensive homes as those opportunities arose.”

In the decade that Flagship Homes was active in the building business, they would construct 175 residences on the island.

Most of the agents that worked for Flagship ended up joining the John R. Wood Properties group, which now has a branch on Marco.

“Phil Wood and I have been friends for a long time and I encouraged our folks, including family members to make that transition after I decided I was going to close the Flagship office. I think that will be a great fit for those professionals,” said Needles.

Involved

His involvement within the community has been wide-ranging, from helping to start the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce, to the Marco Youth Center (which would eventually evolve into the Greater Marco Island YMCA) and many other boards and committees.

Needles’ 15 years as a member of the Marco Island Planning Board has been one of his favorite subjects. His wealth of knowledge about the island and its transition into a modern community is something he enjoys sharing, having personally watched it evolve since 1968.

“I always just wanted to be a positive force for doing what was right for the island,” said Needles.

Marv and Jayne Needles share four children and a number of grandchildren. His son, Scott, and his daughter, Stacy Needles Witthoff, were a sales team at Flagship and have since moved over to the John R. Wood office on Marco Island.

As far as the future goes, Needles won’t be resting on his laurels long.

He announced this week that he will be assuming a broker’s position at the John R. Wood office in the Vanderbilt Beach area of Naples as he continues in his profession of 42 years.

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