There are locals, and then there’s Alexander Koonce.
Sponsored by Alexander Koonce, of Intracoastal Realty, Corp.
Alexander Koonce, known as Zander, is the seventh generation in his family to be born and raised in Wilmington, and, he’s the fourth generation lucky enough to have spent summer after summer at Wrightsville Beach. His great-grandparents bought the family beach house that he grew up in at 315 S. Lumina in the early 1900’s and it remains in the family today.
Koonce had the best of both worlds growing up. And, he says, he still does.
His mother currently lives in the house he was raised in in South Oleander. And, he and his daughter, Bellamy, live in the house his father bought on E. Charlotte St. on Wrightsville Beach in 1947.
And, now, he gets to give his daughter the same gifts he grew up with.
Once Upon a Time
As a child, Koonce and his family would pack up their house in town every year for the summer, and head to the cottage on E. Charlotte St.
“Dad paid $7,500 for our beach cottage,” Koonce said. “Pretty nice return on investment!”
Koonce spent his days surfing, fishing with his father, digging in the sand with cousins on the beach, and biking around the island with friends for hours on end.
“Everyone’s parents looked out for everyone else. It was just like that then,” said Koonce. “And, it sort of still is.”
So much has changed, he says. Their beach cottage on Charlotte Ave. has been through three major renovations; hurricanes have come, and gone; and store names have changed. But, the important things have remained the same.
Koonce stepped in over twenty years ago to continue the family development business.
Despite three major renovations, the beach house he spent his summers in, and now lives in, still maintains the classic Wrightsville Beach cottage look and feel.
He and Bellamy and their friends still take their boats to Rich’s Inlet in the summertime, raft their boats together, and have a large time, just as he did with his parents when he was a kid.
Bellamy has grown up digging in the sand with cousins, and riding bikes with friends all over the island. And, people still look out for each other.
Happily Ever After
“I wanted my daughter to have this kind of life,” Koonce said. “I really never imagined being anywhere else. All my memories are here.”
From bird-hunting in Brunswick County, weekends on the water with family, and meals at his favorite WB restaurant, Tower 7, Koonce says he’s not sure life could get any better.
“There’s just so much to love about this place.”
For 23 years, Koonce has spent his days helping people get to the place he never wants to leave. And, he says, he’ll do it until he can’t do it anymore.