You may know Minnie Rzeslawski (pronounced rez-law-ski) as PSAR’s key contact with California Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego). Hueso's 40th District covers southern San Diego County, parts of Riverside County and Imperial County. In fact, Minnie and Hueso grew up on Julian Avenue, five houses apart, in Barrio Logan.
But did you know that Minnie, between ages 16 and 22, sold jewelry on Sundays at the Spring Valley Swap Meet? “I purchased the merchandise in Los Angeles and then resold it in Spring Valley,” said Minnie. “The swap meet taught me early in life the importance of a strong work ethic. The experience helped me discover my own entrepreneurial spirit.”
The youngest of seven children (four girls, three boys), Minnie is a San Diego native. Both her father and mother worked for 25 years at a seafood cannery plant at the foot of Crosby Street in Downtown San Diego. Her mother was a “cleaner,” removing bones and skin and carving out the white meat, while her father worked the machinery that dropped salt and oil into the cans and moved the cans along a conveyor to the lidding machines. “It was hard, repetitive, assembly-line labor,” said Minnie. “My mother was on her feet for eight hours a day, but my father had a chair to sit in. We never went without food, clothing and all seven of us attended private school.”
Minnie attended Our Lady of Guadalupe until the eighth grade, then Roosevelt Middle School before San Diego High School. Starting in the tenth grade until graduating in 1981, Minnie attended classes in the morning and then boarded a bus to Downtown San Diego to work as a clerk for four hours at the Federal Building. “We got paid, plus got high school credits,” she said. “After high school, they offered me a job but I found a better position as an auditor at General Dynamics.”
She met her husband Luis in high school. Luis’ sister was one of Minnie’s friends. “I didn’t like him at first but he kept bugging me until I went out with him,” said Minnie. They were married on Aug. 17, 1985. They have two grown daughters, ages 27 and 24. “Luis is Polish-Mexican, so when I got married my family had to practice how to say my new last name.”
In 1987, Minnie left General Dynamics earned her real estate sales license in 1988. “When I took the test, I was pregnant with our first daughter,” she said. “At the time, I was ready to pop and wasn’t sure I would pass, especially because I was the first person in class to finish the test.”
Early in her real estate career, Minnie worked in lending. Later, Minnie and Luis bought and sold investment properties. “We flipped hundreds of properties throughout the 1990s,” said Minnie.
In 1998, she earned her broker’s license and opened 24K International Realty. In 2012, she purchased a RE/MAX franchise and opened RE/MAX 24k.
Between 2005 and 2008, Minnie operated an office in Chula Vista, as well as a 2,200-square-foot office in Barrio Logan. “The office in Barrio Logan was more of an art gallery than an office with cubicles,” she said. “I opened up the space for community meetings and social events. I invited prospective clients to the functions, and later they became clients.”
Today, Minnie operates an RE/MAX24K office in San Diego’s North Park area, 3381 30th St. Its style is patterned after what RE/MAX calls a “Real Estate Internet Café” featuring an open layout, large glassed, conference rooms and the latest ultra-modern, technological tools and advancements, including flat screen media and LED displays. “It’s more than an Internet Café,” said Minnie. “We also serve wine and beer because there are several micro-breweries in North Park.”
For several years, she paid the bus transportation expenses for San Diego High School students to visit college campuses throughout California. “Each trip, we took about 40 kids to tour different colleges and universities. For many of them, it was their first time to set foot on a college campus. Many of them were later accepted to attend the university.”
Minnie enjoys real estate “because of the relationships,” she said. “I have a passion for my job because I enjoy building relationships.”
Minnie also enjoys PSAR. “They know my name and the service from the staff is excellent,” she said. “They make me feel like I’m at home.