Along the lakeshore, rocks and sand are continually washed in and out of the water. Tami Bianco walks back and forth as the rising sun breaks across the Lake Michigan horizon. However, her eyes are not watching the sunrise, they are glued to ground, looking for something special.
Bianco is what is referred to as a beach hunter, one who searches for lost treasures along the shores of water.
She is an avid beach glass and crinoid collector, spending her mornings in search of those colored gems.
“I just hope Heaven is full of crinoids and beach glass,” she said. “And water.”
Looking for beach glass has been a passion of Bianco’s for many years, and is her daily exercise and alone time.
Most of her summer mornings are spent walking three to five miles a day and searching the ground for pieces. She walks out, and on her way back to her starting place she picks up trash.
Then, she sits down with a book, breakfast, and looks over the day’s finds.
“My treasures pieces are my red pieces,” she said. “I did find a glass pawn of a glass chess set once.”
Around the Bianco house, located in Chesterton, are jars and jars filled with her little treasures.
“I have decorated my living room in crinoids and there’s beach glass in the home office and bathrooms…there’s just jars everywhere,” she said. “They are my treasures, like shopping, but more fun than shopping. One day when I retire, I will start making things with those.”
Bianco is known for this hobby, and is a professional beach glass hunter to whom many seek for advice when searching for pieces. People ask her when and where she goes or ask her to take them with her next time, however, Bianco is careful with her passion.
“I have my secrets,” she said, but there is more than her just wanting the glass for her personal collection. “I go for the solitude. I am an extrovert. I love people and I feed off the energy of people, but I’m a human I need alone time, and that’s my alone time.”
Bianco’s extroverted personality is perfect for her position as a real estate agent with McCOLLY Real Estate, the largest independent Northwest Indiana firm.
Bianco has been in the field for 25 years and last year was named the top agent of the whole company, of all 18 offices, for the month of November.
“That was the first time ever,” she said. Bianco closed 2016 with $10.8 million in real estate, which was her best year ever. “Part of that is from getting my name out there and people referring me who were happy with my service.”
Being in real estate is Bianco’s dream job, she said. Though her 60 hours a week may have her working late at night or on the weekends, she is able to make her own schedule and is able to help clients during a significant moment in their lives.
“I love people and I get paid to help people not only to find a home, but to use my experience to guide them through that process and that’s rewarding to me,” she said. “And helping them sell their home. I get to help them and help ease them through the next chapter f their life.”
Bianco works with a client selling or buying from the start to the finish.
“When I have a seller I make an investment in listing a home, which is a lot of hours and a lot of time,” she said.
Bianco does the market analysis, price numbers, and optimizes the presentation of the house, staging, as she calls it.
“Then I write a story about that home. You don’t want to write three bedroom, two bathroom… I try to write a story about that home,” she said.
Bianco spends the rest of her time helping the owners of the Schoolhouse Shop located at 278 E. CR-1500 N, in Chesterton. She was working every Wednesday selling women’s clothes in the Dunes Clothier section of the shop, but with the boom of work, she had to reduce her help to managing the shop’s Facebook page.
Bianco also loves to travel with her family. This Spring Break, she and her youngest daughter, who attends Purdue University, are heading to Hawaii.
She has three grown children, two girls and a boy, and two grandchildren.
Bianco has spread her love of the beach to her children and the passion to hunt for treasures, though no one comes quite close to her skill level.
Bianco is a professional and has jars and jars to show for it, yet she still has her eyes set on more.
“I have yet to find a marble. That is my goal,” she said. According to Bianco, the shores along Wisconsin have marbles wash up. “There used to be a marble factory and they were dumped. One day, I’ll go there.”
To learn more about Bianco’s real estate services go to www.tamibianco.gniar.com.