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New real estate agency offering boutique alternative

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Cathy Dobson

In a community with either very large or very small real estate agencies, Donna Mathewson says she’s bringing something new to the market.

StreetCity Realty is holding its grand opening on Friday, June 9 and offers what Mathewson calls a boutique style.

She intends to bring 10 agents onboard in the first year of business and keep the agency significantly smaller than the 60-plus agents at some of the city’s real estate offices.

“I think this is a good time to offer an alternative to agents and clients in Sarnia,” she said.  “It’s nice to have choice.”

Sarnia’s StreetCity office has an agents’ lounge and shared space that generate a friendly, relaxed environment, Mathewson said.  There are also four private offices and a private boardroom in the newly renovated building at 545 Murphy Rd.

After 24 years in the real estate business – the last 18 at Royal LePage – Mathewson said she was happy working for others.

But opportunity knocked and she jumped at it.

StreetCity is owned by Costa Poulopoulos and Mary Johnson who started their new, independent brand in London last July.  Within a year, it has rapidly grown and there are now eight branches throughout Ontario.

Sarnia’s was the sixth to open in April.

“We are a good fit,” said Mathewson who is managing salesperson at the Sarnia branch.

“Their philosophy in how to deal with clients and agents has a familial feel to it.”

In an industry that can often be cutthroat, Mathewson said StreetCity generates a sense that everyone in the office supports one another.

“I’m looking to have a small office of like-minded agents,” she said.

StreetCity opens at a time when the Sarnia market is challenged by the lowest number of listings in at least 40 years.

“For the past 18 months, the market has generally been a seller’s market,” said Mathewson who is a three-time president of the Sarnia Lambton Real Estate Board and its current vice-president.

“High demand and low supply can drive prices up unrealistically but the market is always cyclical. It will be balanced again.

“It is just a matter of time.”

Whether it’s a seller’s market or a buyer’s market, Mathewson said she loves being in real estate, particularly to help first-time homebuyers.

“It’s very rewarding when you help someone make a decision about what is likely the biggest purchase of their lives,” she said.

StreetCity Realty at 545 Murphy Rd. can be reached by calling 519-491-6900.

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