about us

Big Lake Real Estate

Big Lake Real Estate is a new Upper Peninsula of Michigan company with some familiar faces. Jan Carol Ogden and Nicole Darrow have a combined 27 years of real estate experience in Michigan's beautiful upper peninsula. Both lovingly call Grand Marais "home"

Nicole Darrow

Nicole Darrow (Nikki) is the Broker/Owner at Big Lake Real Estate, located downtown in the beautiful village of Grand Marais. With a background in customer service, prior to moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Nikki worked at two small bakeries in the lower peninsula; the first was a small mom and pop shop where she learned the basics of small business management, and the importance of knowing and appreciating your customers. The second was for Cherry Republic based in Glen Arbor, MI, where she helped develop a system for large scale bakery production and product development, with a focus on quality and uniqueness of products to supply to online sales and specialty shops. While baking was the job at CR, the overall atmosphere was geared toward finding a passion for what one does for a living and creating an environment of teamwork where everyone can grow and prosper. It's a philosophy and lifestyle that has stuck with Nikki, and she's incorporated it into her own businesses.

Moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 2007 Nikki envisioned building up a bakery business of her own. Instead, she saw a need for a vacation rental management company and founded Lake Superior Vacation Rentals. LSVR provided guests who wanted to explore the region with a variety of rental opportunities and homeowners with incentive to invest in their property and community. Short term rentals also provided seasonal jobs for local workers at a living wage.

In 2013 Nikki and her business partner Jan Carol (JC) Ogden started Big Lake Real Estate. As the managing broker for BLRE, JC's philosophy for the business was "everybody happy". Those two words are the base Big Lake Real Estate has been built upon. Clients come first, always. For a seller it means providing comparative market analysis and sales reports so sellers can make informed decisions when listing and selling their property. For a buyer, it means tracking down all types of helpful information on potential properties and their surrounding area, so buyers can make an informed purchase. For all parties it means close attention to detail and continuing to learn and adapt as agents, giving clients the best representation possible.

In the fall of 2018 Nikki sold LSVR and made real estate her sole vocation. With Jan Carol's retirement from the business in 2021, Nikki is now the managing broker and owner at Big Lake Real Estate. The philosophy instilled by JC hasn't changed and today "Everybody Happy" means our neighbors and community too. It's why Big Lake Real Estate tries to give back to the community and to show gratitude for being blessed to live and work in such a special place as the U.P. of Michigan and Grand Marais.