Jeff Lyon and Chris Johnson have been friends since the fourth grade. They shared many of the same interests, played many of the same sports and, following the eighth grade, they began working construction jobs every summer. So perhaps it’s not surprising that both ended up at Xavier, chose the same major—entrepreneurial studies—and decided to start their own real estate development firm before they even graduated. Last spring the duo launched Footstool Properties, and before the semester was over, they were rehabbing their first property.
Spending all of their free time at the site put a strain on schoolwork, but they managed. By June, the work was complete, the property sold and they graduated on time. In July, they closed on their next projects—a pair of houses in a redevelopment area in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district.
Eventually, Johnson says, the company plans to move into new-home development and would like to give back to other young people in the industry. “We don’t want to just make money and leave town,” he says.