Local Notary Public Karen Erny is Busier than a Bee

(Tristan Shaughnessy, Photographer)
Since receiving her notary commission, Karen Erny, founder of Busy Bee Notary, has made a name for herself as a professional, yet personable notary public. 

    In the trunk of Karen Erny’s car, there is a table. Underneath is a boxy printer, a battery and reams upon reams of paper. “Welcome to Karen’s office,” reads a sign hanging from the middle seat’s headrest.
    Erny is a notary public and founder of Busy Bee Notary. Because it’s her job to authenticate signatures in person and explain hundreds of pages of loan documents to all sorts of clients, mobile printing is a must.
    “You’re trying to accommodate the signer. You should always be making their schedule your priority,” she said. “I fill up at the gas pump every other day.”
    By December, 2020, Erny received both her notary and loan signing credentials, and since January, according to her, she has participated in more than 300 document signings.
    As a notary public, Erny helps authorize home sales, loan modifications and reverse mortgages, among other things. But one of the highlights of her job has been helping new homeowners finally buy their houses.
    “I’ve had people cry at their signings because it’s the last step before they get their keys,” she said. “They’ve gone through every hoop. This is their last step, to sit down with me and put ink to paper.”
    However, Erny’s path to becoming a notary was anything but straightforward.
    After studying childhood education in college, she started working at a preschool. But as a teacher, Erny felt she needed more freedom in how she taught her students. So, she started a daycare in Pleasant Hill called the Rug Rat Ranch, directing the facility for more than 20 years.
    “It was like the career I really wanted,” she said. “It was the dream that I wanted to fulfill, taking care of small children – helping them form their characters.”
    But after 24 years, Erny started feeling burned out. Leaving daycare, she began working for an adoption attorney, a job she said helped reacquaint her with the “office atmosphere” after many years of “wiping noses” and “changing diapers.” During the pandemic, she made the switch to notary work, creating Busy Bee Notary.
    When deciding what to call her company, Erny chose “Busy Bee” because while getting certified, her instructor would always say a good notary is one who’s always busy.
    Preparing goody bags for clients in one room and arranging signing sessions in another, she said people are sometimes, understandably, not the most excited to have their papers notarized. So, she tries to keep things “light” and “fun” – while also professional – when at a signing.
    “I’m someone who shows up to an office with bagels and cream cheese and a big ‘Thank You’ sticker on the box.”
    As a notary, she noted that home buyers, sellers and realtors can directly request her service when looking for someone to authenticate their documents. Erny can be reached at karen@busybeeLSA.com or 925-519-8537.
    Erny, reflecting on how she became a notary said, “I didn’t know a year ago that I would be able to even have this conversation.” But now, “I like it – not only like it, I love it.”

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