Century 21, Lincoln Avenue Realty merge

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After several years of discussing a possible merger, the owners of Lincoln Avenue Realty and Century 21 Ski Town Associates have decided to join forces under the Century 21 name.

As they round out a record year for their companies, Century 21 owners Chuck Armbruster and Jayne Hamm, and Lincoln Avenue Realty owners Dennis O'Connor and Beverly Glenn, determined it was a good time to put their experience together to further goals of both companies.

"We were ready," O'Connor said. "Having been a boutique-style office, we found the opportunity to move into a nationwide franchise advantageous for us."

O'Connor and Glenn formed Lincoln Avenue Realty six years ago at 907 Lincoln Ave. The three associate brokers in the company -- Annick Chappot, Wann McNiff and Christy Woodland -- will join them in the merger.

Merging with Century 21 Ski Town Associates, a Century 21 franchise, was a natural choice for O'Connor and Glenn, who have felt pressure from other franchises asking them to merge, O'Connor said.

The four owners have known each other for at least 12 years, and O'Connor and Armbruster have served together on the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors. The owners also share performance and ethical standards and have a good mix of talent and personalities between their broker teams, O'Connor said.

The prime advantage of the merger for O'Connor and Glenn is the exposure their brokers and listings will receive under the nationally recognized Century 21 name, as well as referrals their new office receives from other Century 21 franchises.

O'Connor and Glenn, as well as their clients, also will benefit from Century 21's strong local reputation, which extends to their opening in the 1980s.

"With the name recognition and support staff, sellers will definitely benefit -- there is more exposure that goes with a large franchise, and the whole reputation Century 21 has in the local market is advantageous," Glenn said.

The company's resources and support network will help O'Connor and Glenn keep up with the technology necessary to market throughout the world, O'Connor said.

"By having the combination of resources between the two companies, we find we can put our listings and brokers in a far larger spectrum in the global market," he said.

Armbruster noted the Century 21 Web site is one of the most visited Web sites in the real estate business.

With a larger support system, Century 21 is able to keep its office in Ski Time Square open seven days a week -- something that is very difficult for a small boutique company.

Sitting against a backdrop of Mount Werner, the office benefits from the "synergy" of the ski area, Armbruster said.

"For us, to go from a downtown office with a parking problem to a ski-in, ski-out office has obvious benefits," O'Connor added.

O'Connor's legal background -- he was a real estate lawyer in Denver and California for six years before becoming a broker -- are among the benefits Century 21 will pick up in the merger.

"That's a big asset to our company," said Armbruster, who has sought legal advice from O'Connor for years.

With the Lincoln Avenue Realty team on board, Century 21 will have double the amount of expertise, which will benefit clients but also help in molding new brokers.

The owners share ethical standards of operation, based on taking an honest approach to business, as opposed to taking chances and finding out later that ethical lines have been crossed, O'Connor said.

In addition to increased exposure, buyers and sellers will benefit from quality client service at Century 21, enhanced by Lincoln Avenue Realty's hands-on personal service techniques, O'Connor said.

Clients of boutique offices tend to expect personalized service outside of the transaction itself. The service Lincoln Avenue Realty clients have received will not change with the merger, Glenn stressed.

"The customer-related entity will continue and be even stronger," she said. "You have to continue that small town level of service. That won't go away."

Overall, the type of personalities in both offices has proven to be a successful mix of positive energy and experience, Glenn said.

"The personalities go together. ... To do this, it never broke the stride of the whole team," Armbruster added. "They fit right in."

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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