Story By Amy Geiszler-Jones - Photography By Kacy Meinecke
Realtor Cindy Carnahan is a master at selling Wichita. With 44 years of experience, she’s one of the city’s top Realtors, known for selling high-end homes to VIPs, executives and community leaders, several of whom are transplants. She’s also one of Wichita’s top cheerleaders.
Carnahan is a third-generation Wichita entrepreneur and wants others to revel in the city’s history, the lifestyle, the amenities, its charities and more that the city has to offer, just like she does.
Her love of Wichita, its arts and its history probably comes from her genes. Her grandfather owned Bennett Music, the first full-service music store in Wichita. Her father and mentor, Ed Clarke, was a longtime Realtor, instrumental in developing The Village, Rockwood and Woodlawn Village. Her mother, Corinne, had a history degree from the University of Wichita.
Carnahan also graduated from Wichita State University, earning a degree in elementary education. After 18 months as a fourth-grade teacher, she said, she realized teaching was a calling and she hadn’t been called.
So she started learning to sell Wichita, spending 14 years in her father’s company. She’s well-known for her strong work ethic and long hours, working when others don’t.
“When people are off work, that’s when they want to look at houses and make decisions,” said Carnahan, who went to work for her biggest competitor, J.P. Weigand & Sons, after her dad retired. Within J.P. Weigand, she owns The Carnahan Group. Son Clarke works with her. Her husband, John, a retired dentist, is on the faculty at WSU’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry program.
A former Junior League “Witness Wichita” tour guide, Carnahan has taught the tour to her staff of 12 licensed agents, half of whom are selling agents.
The tour showcases Wichita’s history and amenities – a drive down historic Douglas Avenue past the state’s first shopping center (Lincoln Heights Village) and first high rise (Hillcrest Apartments), a jaunt around Century II, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and the Museums on the River district and then up to northeast Wichita to see the WSU campus and maybe an outing to Bradley Fair. It rarely fails to wow clients, she said.
There are plenty of indicators of Carnahan’s love of Wichita in her company’s offices in The Waterfront. The reception area features two works by local artist and entertainer Christine Tasheff – one depicts the familiar map outline of Wichita and the other what Carnahan calls “Kansas castles,” its grain elevators. Elsewhere are paintings of Wichita’s former amusement park Joyland, of kids in College Hill Park and of joggers running through Lakepoint. There’s also a commemorative snow globe of popular, iconic Wichita landmarks that Carnahan helped commission for the Wichita Art Museum’s 75th anniversary. In Carnahan’s personal office, there’s a signed Shocker men’s basketball, a testament to her self-claimed fanaticism for Shocker sports.
A prolific community volunteer, Carnahan’s pretty excited about a new role that combines her love of gardening – “some might call it an illness” she said – and showcasing Wichita. She’s working with the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. to beautify Douglas Avenue with 113 huge planters between Main and Washington streets this spring.