BUSINESS: Realtors open new downtown office

Three local realtors say their commitment to keeping their staff long-term will create a successful new Century 21 franchise in Sarnia.

Cris LaPointe, 36, Sean Ryan, 30, and Jeff McLaughlin, 29, spent the week unpacking chairs and setting up new offices at 201 Front St. North.

They are equal partners in Century 21 Bluewater Realty and chose to locate downtown where they occupy 4,700-square-feet of the First Sarnia Place waterfront tower.

“We want to be part of downtown’s rejuvenation,” said LaPointe.

The new Century 21 Bluewater Realty office is on the ground floor and fully accessible, added Ryan.

“We’re looking forward to getting involved in a few charitable groups and reinvesting in our community.”

The three partners have between them 30 years experience in the local real estate market.

Like most agents, LaPointe, Ryan and McLaughlin moved a few times from agency to agency, but have something different in mind for their own company.

“We’re going to provide a lot of free training for our agents,” said Ryan. “We’re also offering benefits and RRSP contributions. That’s rare in this business. We want our agents to come here and stay.”

They will be joined by their first agent this week and expect to have 10 by year-end.  The goal is 20 agents by the end of 2015.

As their new Century 21 franchise opens, the market is pulling out of the winter doldrums, they say.

“It’s really picking up right now,” said McLaughlin. “Prices are going up probably by five per cent or so because there’s not a lot of inventory.

“It’s a huge sellers’ market,” agreed Ryan.  “All three of us were working on multiple offers last night.”

BUSINESSES TEAM-UP FOR GOOD CAUSE

Fifteen local businesses will exhibit their product lines at the first Handbags for Homecare fundraiser Wednesday, April 9.

The event at the Holiday Inn is an opportunity for local business to get exposure and for the Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) to make money from the live auction and silent auction of dozens of donated purses.

Local business group Women in Networking (WIN) is co-sponsoring the event, which features a cash bar and live entertainment starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the VON office or online at www.sarniaevents.voneriestclair.ca or www.winsarnia.com.

GENTLY USED FOR CHILDREN

Lambton resident Cassie Huyben opened Wee Ones Reruns at 29 King St. in Forest six months ago and is holding an “eggstravaganza” on Easter weekend.

Huyben says she is the only seller of used children’s clothing, toys and accessories in the region. She purchased inventory from the now-defunct Children’s Garden in Sarnia when it closed.

“I’ve got two floors full,” she said.

On April 19, she is collaborating with Jennifer Kettle from “red kettle studios” in Sarnia to offer $5 Easter face painting and free Easter treats.  Kettle, a graphic designer, has recently started another business called Your Painted Face.

Wee Ones Reruns New & Used is open Tuesday to Friday 9-5; Saturdays 10-3.

SARNIA HOME SHOW

The 2014 edition of the Sarnia Home Show kicks off Friday April 4 from 2-9 p.m. at Clearwater Arena on Wellington Street.

About 130 exhibitors are expected to attend over three days.

Admission is $5 with children under 12 free. The Home Show continues Saturday 10-6 p.m. and Sunday 10 – 5 p.m.

Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.