The small town of Nichols, South Carolina is located between the banks of the Lumber and Little Pee Dee Rivers, just about an hour’s drive from Garden City Beach. And it was those two towns where Gairy Nichols spent most of his childhood. While school, hunting and fishing took up most of the off season, summertime always found the Nichols family at their home at the beach, where Gairy spent his days swimming in the ocean, crabbing and water skiing in Murrells Inlet and fishing from the pier.
Garden City Beach in those days was a very different place. Most families stayed in their cottages for months rather than weeks. Air conditioning was an unheard of luxury and a used U.S. Army Jeep was a necessity to navigate the still unpaved roads of Murrells Inlet and Garden City Beach. It was paradise to Gairy’s family and in 1969 his father, Billy, purchased a small real estate firm that would become Dunes Realty.
Gairy’s summers quickly changed from non-stop fun in the sun to cleaning vacation cottages and repairing screens on ocean front porches. This left him well prepared for the business world when he graduated from Wofford College in 1975. Since that time, Dunes Realty has grown to become one of the most recognized names in resort sales and the vacation rental industry.
Giving back, both to his community and the real estate industry, has long been second nature to Gairy. A member of the National, State and Local Realtor Associations, he holds the GRI, CRS and CRB designations and has served on numerous board committees. He is the longest serving member of the Garden City Beach Community Association’s Board of Directors, trustee of the Garden City Chapel and a long-standing member of Belin United Methodist Church of Murrells Inlet. He has served as a director of the former Anchor Bank and the Surfside Rotary Club and was a past chairman of the Georgetown County Accommodations Tax Committee.
Gairy currently makes his home in Murrells Inlet. He and his wife, Marcia, have three children; Jeni, Billy and Katie and three grandchildren.