Photo by Tom Ross
Dean Laird, from left, Beth Walsh and Lee Findell will work as the primary agents in Colorado Group Realty’s office at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, along with Eliese Pivarnik, who is not pictured.
Steamboat Springs When the Sheraton Steamboat Resort decided last year to reclaim the office space occupied by Colorado Group Realty, the brokers in the real estate agency headquartered in downtown Steamboat were more than a little disappointed.
“We were so bummed when we lost it,” Managing Broker Jill Limberg said. “It is such a great location because of all of the walk-ins from the Sheraton and Torian (Plum Plaza).”
Things have a funny way of working out. The Sheraton completed a handsome remodel of the space, including fat log columns, arced display walls and rock accents. The intent was to house Sheraton’s own sales team. When the decision was reversed and the Sheraton sales effort was instead based in another city, Colorado Group jumped at the chance to reoccupy its former digs.
“The company decided to do it even though it might be a little bit of a stretch for us right now,” Limberg said. “We decided the results were worth the investment.”
The Colorado Group office fronts the semicircular entry drive at the hotel and also has large windows overlooking the ski slopes.
As a result of taking on the Sheraton space, Colorado Group is seeking a tenant to sub-lease its Central Park Plaza office, which it intends to give up.
All of the brokers at Colorado Group get a crack at floor duty in the Sheraton office, but the primary agents there will be Beth Walsh, Lee Findell, Dean Laird and Eliese Pivarnik.
Findell said that in addition to capturing walk-in traffic, the mountain office allows Colorado Group to boost exposure for clients listing through the agency.
“We’ve always wanted to have the best retail exposure for our clients,” he said. “It’s a big point for sellers.”
Findell and Walsh agreed that the process of turning resort walk-in clients into real estate purchasers could be a lengthy one — often taking two years before vacationers who become intrigued with Realtors make the decision to purchase.
“I’ve had people walk in and get back in touch with me five years later,” Walsh said.
Most often, she has kept in touch by e-mail.
“I don’t remember their faces, but when they say their names, I know who they are,” she said.
One of the by-products of the recession and retreating real estate prices, Walsh said, is that clients who thought two years ago that the Steamboat market had passed them by and was no longer affordable are back in the game again.
Laird, who joined Colorado Group in May 2008, received the firm’s annual Rising Star Award in 2009.
“It feels good to know Colorado Group recognized that I’m out there working hard every day,” Laird said. “I had a pretty good year. I did 15 deals last year.”
Limberg said a mountain office like Colorado Group’s space at the Sheraton also provides an ideal training ground for relatively new agents, allowing them to polish their people skills with strangers coming in off the street.
The good news, she said, is that you know they came in the door for a reason.