All in the Family Spotlight
Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Brokerage
Spence / Johnstone family brokerage has built a solid reputation for helping its clients and its community.
BY SCOTT LESLIE
Margie Spence is the president at the Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Brokerage―an award-winning family firm serving the greater Niagara, Hamilton and Haldimand areas. In her three plus decades in the real estate business, the industry has undergone tremendous changes. But there`s one thing that`s never changed for Margie. “When people ask me, I tell them I`ve always had a passion for real estate,” she says. “I can`t imagine doing anything else.”
After attaining her real estate license in 1979, Margie started out as a salesperson for the D.C. Smith real estate firm in Barrie. Looking to expand her horizons, she would soon join Royal LePage`s local office and quickly rose up the ranks from agent to broker to manager. Six years later, however, her life changed dramatically. Margie was given the opportunity to manage Royal LePage`s office in St. Catharines, and soon took over additional branches in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Margie says moving to Niagara was a challenge she couldn`t turn down. “There was only one other female real estate manager in the area at the time,” she says. “It was a really male dominated field so this was a great opportunity for me to prove myself.” When Royal LePage began offering corporate franchises, Margie purchased her three offices and opened a central headquarters―the Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre―in St. Catharines in 1998. In the years to follow, the firm would acquire Royal LePage Producers Realty and Kruty Realty Better Homes & Gardens, and establish several new offices throughout Niagara. She would even open a sister real estate firm in Coldwater, Ontario―the Royal LePage Four Season Real Estate Centre.
Margie`s sons Brad and Ryan would join the firm in 1998 and 2007 respectively, and have now become integral parts of the family business. Brad is vice-president and broker of record while Ryan manages branches in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Smithville, Grimsby and Dunnville. Even their brother Adam acts as a general contractor for their various office properties.
“When we first became a franchise, I got to do everything from accounts payable to manning the front desk,” Brad explains, “so I know my way around the business. That`s the same for our team. We have a solid understanding of the industry and are involved with professional real estate organizations like OREA, CREA and RECO.”
These days, the Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre is the largest real estate brokerage in the Niagara Region. Its staff has also grown substantially―from 57 employees in 1998 to over 400 sales representatives and support staff today.
Over the years, the Spence / Johnstone family has developed a very supportive and non-competitive work environment. Consequently, they have minimal staff turnover and continue to add 30 to 40 new salespeople each year.
“Our people are number one with us,” Margie explains. “We show respect for our staff and enjoy working with them. It`s all been about working together as a team. And our managers don`t compete with our people for sales. We never have. It`s something I`m very proud of.”
“We`re very hands-on with our people,” Brad adds. “We treat everyone like family.”
Ryan feels one of their big strengths is their in-house training.
“We want to help our salespeople grow their business,” he says, “so we spend an average of $5,000 training each salesperson. We`ve developed our training over time and keep incorporating cutting edge technology into all our programs.”
From the very beginning, the Spence / Johnstone families have been active members of their community, giving back to countless charitable organizations like Gillian`s Place, South Niagara Women`s Shelters, Habitat for Humanity, food banks across the Niagara Region, and OneFoundation for Niagara Health System. It`s a company philosophy that has worked wonders for the Niagara community at large.
“Honesty and integrity go a long way in our business,” Ryan says, “but we feel it`s important to give back to the community as well. We`re always involved with some board or charity and that goes the same for our staff.”
Going that extra mile has helped the Spence / Johnstone team become the most successful and respected brokerage in the local real estate industry.
But Ryan says it`s their attitude that clients really pick up on.
“We have fun and enjoy what we`re doing,” he says, “and that shows in everything we do.” BL
The entire article can also be read at The Business Link.
Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Brokerage is located at 33 Maywood Avenue in St. Catharines. For more information, please call 1.800.771.4913, email email@example.com, or visit www.nrcrealty.ca.
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