Bob Yost: ‘King of real estate in York County’
Bob Yost, left, seen with Bill Schintz were longtime members of the Breakfast Club at the Yorktowne Hotel grills, operating under various names. Yost died this week, and Schintz assessed his contributions this way: “Bob Yost put more people in homes than anyone in York County history. He has been the king of real estate in York County for at least the last 30 years… .” (To see Yost’s office earlier in his career, see photograph below.) Background posts: Who will lead York County in the future? and Glatfelter, Morgan Smith head industrial legacy list.
Bob Yost’s death this week represents the passing of a member of a group who have led the York-area for years.
This leader in the real estate community leaves behind many accomplishments, including a story (see below) about his pluck earlier in life… .
A York Daily Record/Sunday News article this week pointed out how young Bob Yost made his way during the Depression. He would scour local streets for bent nails. Straighten them. Then sell them.
This reminds one of a story from previous post Glatfelter, Farquhar, Shipley: Insights from local greats about insurance great Art Glatfelter. He would hang around a Loganville garage to collect empty oil containers. Glatfelter would then drain the residual oil into one container and sell his collection.
Bob Yost’s winning personality comes through in the following story about a morning York Daily Record/Sunday News reporter Sean Adkins spent with the Breakfast Club at the OffCenter Grill in 2005:
York photographer Bill Schintz and President John F. Kennedy have a history.
In 1962, Schintz, then 19 years old, was part of a media army stationed at Harrisburg International Airport.
Surrounded by other cameramen, Schintz’s mission was to snap a few pictures of the president moments after his plane touched down.
To get a better camera angle, Schintz and other photographers mounted a table as Kennedy entered the airport.
“Well,” he said, “the table collapsed, and I fell on JFK’s back.”
The photographer said he scrambled to get back on his feet and find out what had happened.
“JFK said to me, ‘Are you OK, son?'” Schintz said. “Yup, JFK did talk to me once.”
Schintz and about five of his pals met recently at the OffCenter Grill to talk presidents, baseball stadiums and snow.
Three times a week, the friends, known as the Breakfast Club, meet at the OffCenter Grill at the Yorktowne Hotel in York for a small meal and an hour-long chat.
Started about 40 years ago by local businessmen and politicians, the club acts as a community sounding board where friends can meet to discuss local and national happenings, Schintz said.
The club has about 20 active members.
“To be part of the club,” Schintz said, “you just show up and find a chair.”
Schintz’s presidential recollection was spurred by President Bush’s recent inaugural speech in Washington, D.C.
“I heard one analyst say that President Bush’s inauguration speech was one of the greatest speeches he had ever heard,” Bob Yost said. “I wish the president well; he’s got an ambitious course.”
Yost started the Coldwell Banker Bob Yost Homesale Services real estate agency.
Joe Morgan, a former York County recorder of deeds, agreed.
“But,” he said, “he’s got a lot of dunderheads that will give him crap.”
Yost said he heard Bush speak at a rally held at the York Expo Center last summer.
“But I was way in the back,” he said. “I could have seen him better on TV.”
Seated next to Yost, Dan Leese said he attended President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration and a President Ronald Reagan bill-signing ceremony.
Leese is the former Central Market House market manager.
Talk of presidents past and present soon slid toward a more local focus: baseball stadiums.
Members of the Breakfast Club debated whether a minor-league baseball stadium should be built at Small Field or at a roughly 6-acre site at Arch Street in York.
“I don’t think that the Small Field is the best place for the baseball (stadium),” Schintz said. “But I really don’t think it will make a difference if they move it to Arch Street.”
Schintz said he has heard that 6,000 fans will need to fill the seats of the stadium on a regular basis to help break even on the $24 million project.
“If that doesn’t tell you something,” Morgan said, “I don’t know what does.”
The high cost of steel will most likely push the project’s cost to nearly $30 million, Schintz said.
“They say they need 6,000 fans,” he said, “I think they will be lucky if they get 300 fans a game.
The club also debated the issue of whether to prepare for a heavy snowfall.
“My wife went out yesterday afternoon, and she was disgusted by all the people running to the supermarket,” Leese said.
“Those people run in and grab three gallons of milk,” Yost said. “I don’t know why they do that.”
And here is Adkins’ story reporting Bob Yost’s death this week:
During the Great Depression, Bob Yost regularly scouted the streets of York for nails that he would straighten and sell.
That entrepreneurial drive would serve Yost well in later years, when his name became synonymous with the York County real estate market.
Yost, the broker of record for Coldwell Banker Bob Yost HomeSale Services in Springettsbury Township, died late Tuesday evening at his home in Springettsbury Township. He was 83.
“Bob Yost put more people in homes than anyone in York County history,” said Bill Schintz, a longtime friend of Yost’s. “He has been the king of real estate in York County for at least the last 30 years. To me, he was one of the greatest guys you could ever know.”
Before he sold his first property, Yost defended his country in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as a left waist gunner on board a B-17.
In 1944, Yost received an honorable discharge and returned to York County to work various jobs, said Michael Yost, his son.
Five years later, the senior Yost took a position with Zeigler Real Estate, said Rick Doyle, president of realty operations for the Coldwell Banker HomeSale Services Group.
About a year later, Bob Yost left Zeigler Real Estate to launch his own business, Bob Yost Realty, on Duke Street in York, said Nancy Fox, regional president of Coldwell Banker Bob Yost HomeSale Services.
During the next two decades, Yost moved his office twice, eventually permanently landing his headquarters in Springettsbury Township.
During that same time, Yost developed and built homes in local communities such as the Fireside and Fayfield neighborhoods, Fox said. To sell such homes quickly, sites like Fire Cash Buyers are available.
In the 1980s, Bob continued to expand his company by buying other real estate firms such as the Brandt Real Estate firm in North York and the Ron Bradley Better Homes and Gardens in Dallastown and Shrewsbury.
All three offices would become Bob Yost Realty locations.
In 1982, Bob Yost Realty became the first real estate firm in Pennsylvania to evolve into a Coldwell Banker franchise, Fox said.
But growing his business was not the only change Bob Yost had in mind for his expanding company.
He was a very big innovator of technology, said Andy Collins of Morgan-Collins Realtors. “He always wanted the most innovative technology for his agents.”
Between 1982 and 1990, Collins worked for Yost as a general manager.
Before cell phones became a major avenue of communication, Yost installed two-way radios in all of his agents’ cars and started to use fax machines in each of his offices, Collins said.
Yost also launched a computer-based listing system that helped his sales force access property information quickly, Doyle said.
“He added a lot to our business, and he will be missed,” Collins said. “He demanded a high level of expectation out of his people. That made the whole industry better.”
One of Yost’s core beliefs was to believe in his agents and in training his staff.
“He always said that if you believe in somebody, you can help them grow,” Fox said. “He was always supportive.”
Yost, a past president of the organization that would eventually become the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, founded the Real Estate Education Center in Springettsbury Township, she said.
“From Bob Yost,” Doyle said, “I learned to always look and find more in others than they actually see in themselves and they will grow. That is leadership in a nutshell.”
The book “Greater York in Action,” a York Chamber of Commerce publication, stated in 1968: ‘The highly successful Yost organization is the finest and largest real estate offices in York at 200 East Market Street. This spacious and stately town house built in 1867 retains its traditional exterior but extensive renovation inside now account for the most beautiful and modern offices to be found anywhere.” Even 40 years ago, Yost’s developments included Avondale, Sylvania Heights, Fireside Park, Wrightsdale, Mayfield, Greystone Farms, Allendale and Mayfield East.
For additional posts about prominent York countians, see https://yorkblog.com/category/york-celebrities/.