Longtime Friends of Leland
Residents for nearly 50 years, James and Brenda Bozeman genuinely care about the Leland community.
Genuine people are rare. If you can’t find any, be one.
This quote crossed my path recently, and I thought about how true it is. To feel that you’ve met a genuine person can be like a breath of fresh air. The day I met James and Brenda Bozeman of Leland, I knew that I found two genuine people.
I met the Bozemans many years ago. In my first conversation with James, I sensed the realness about him in his voice and demeanor. He’s quiet at first, but after a few more encounters in which I observed his kindness and appreciated his presence, I realized what a great person he is. Then there’s Brenda. With her positive attitude and outlook on life, she is the definition of an advocate for the community.
James, a Brunswick County native, grew up in Shallotte until he was a young teenager. His family moved from Shallotte to Wilmington in the early ’60s and he went off and served in the United States Air Force from 1965 to 1969. When he came home to Wilmington from service one Christmas break, he met Brenda. His family had moved right next door to hers in a neighborhood in Wilmington. The two dated for a year and a half and were married on March 30, 1970, in Wilmington. Since their marriage they have resided in Leland.
“James was used to country living,” Brenda says. “And we stayed because this is home. I love the people here.”
They have two children, James Jr., who now lives in Charleston, and Micki, who lives in Leland, and four grandchildren (one of whom is in heaven now).
After his service in the Air Force, James worked at Cape Fear Industries (although it changed names many times during his tenure) until his retirement there in 1996. Brenda, who grew up in Wilmington, has been a real estate agent for almost 35 years. She is the current and first female mayor of the Town of Leland, an elected position she’s held since 2011, and she is active in many community activities. “I was always taught to be there for others,” Brenda says.
I met them both back in 2005 at their RE/MAX office on Village Road in Leland. I was attempting to start this magazine and I walked in cold to try to get them to advertise. At this point in time, James helped Brenda with all things real estate. From client follow ups, yard signs, mailers and photos of properties, he was always helping her out while she was busy working with buyers and sellers. I observed the respect they had for one another as well the way they worked as a team. It was truly heartwarming to witness.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had walking out of their office that day. I not only received positive encouragement and support from the both of them for starting a magazine for Leland, but also I got my very first advertising sale. It had been more than two months that I was out trying to get supporters. So, not only did their encouragement of what I was doing help motivate me, it also gave me the support I needed to continue to move forward with launching this product you are holding in your hands. I often wonder if I would have been the one to create the lifestyle magazine for Leland if it wasn’t for James and Brenda Bozeman. That’s the key role they have played in my life.
I got to know both of them better over the next several years through the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, which Brenda helped found in 2003. Whether it’s chamber Business After Hours events, ribbon cuttings or luncheons, the Bozemans are always there, normally together with huge smiles on their faces, and always supporting our community.
In addition to serving as Mayor of Leland, Brenda is an active real estate agent with Coastal Properties. James is the sales manager at Graceland Portable Buildings in Leland, a position he’s held for almost a decade. James was hired by Bob McWaters, who also hired Brenda at RE/MAX and now Coastal Properties.
“James holds it all together,” McWaters says. “He does an excellent job of managing our property between selling our sheds, propane refills and renting our Penske trucks.”
James’s smile, knowledge and warm presence are obviously making lasting impressions with lots of other people too. Without any prior sales experience, he has sold more than $1 million each year over the past seven years, and in 2018 he was number 2 out of 630 sales lots in the Graceland Portable Buildings system. “In the last 12 months, James and our team have sold 419 buildings for Graceland,” McWaters says. “That puts him at number 1 in the company.”
McWaters says he considers Brenda and James like family. “They have been extremely loyal to me,” he says. “I have managed hundreds of people throughout my life and have never come across two as genuine and loyal as they are.”
When she’s not fulfilling her mayoral duties, Brenda keeps busy with the area’s constantly growing real estate market in her Leland office, which is in the same location as the storage buildings. “One of the many great things I can say about Brenda is that she’s just as devoted to her clients as she is her citizens,” McWaters says. “She doesn’t mix her politics with her business, I have never seen her do that in the 15 years she’s worked for me.”
Personally, I concur with everything McWaters says. My experiences with the Bozemans have all been positive, uplifting and inspiring, and they inspire me to be as genuine and caring as they are. As they near their 50th year of living in Leland, they are as committed to the community as ever, serving in politics, working hard and contributing whenever they can.
“We are here to support and help,” Brenda says. “I get so much happiness and pleasure in showing our town to our new residents and sharing the history and letting them know that they have made their new home in a very special place.”
I know I’m not the only one who considers the Bozemans a huge asset to the Leland community. If you get the chance to meet them, I’m sure you’ll agree.