A Legacy of Putting the Customer First One of the keys to Town & Country Realty's success is its stability. The reins have been passed only three times since our founding in 1951, and each broker has shared a common goal: putting the customer first.
Town & Country Realty opened its doors in Corvallis, Oregon at the corner of 6th and Monroe in April, 1951. Fred H. Hoyer, the founding broker, pledged "courteous and efficient service to both the seller and the prospective buyer." Hoyer, sales manager Don F. Kielblock, and secretary Daryl Lilly shared the small office with Don Stathos Insurance.
In 1954, the founding meeting for the Corvallis Multiple Listing Exchange, Inc. was held in Hoyer's living room. The listing service, supported by nine local brokers, was established to serve the community by providing the most comprehensive exposure possible for sellers' homes.
Hoyer sold the business to Jim McEldowney in April, 1958. Already an established real estate agent with Bates & Bates, McEldowney took the reins with "an abundance of confidence in the future growth of the Corvallis area." That was the first year Town & Country outsold any other local real estate brokerage.
Under McEldowney's enthusiastic leadership, the business soon outgrew its one-room office. Over the years, adjacent property was purchased to expand the operation, but even that wasn't enough to keep up with demands for space. In 1976, Town & Country constructed a 3,300 sq. ft. office building at 455 N.W. Tyler. Designed by Corvallis architect Cy Stadsvold, the building won a national award as the best designed real estate office that year.
By 1982, McEldowney had grown the business from three agents to 12, attracting solid salespeople with excellent reputations who were involved in their local community.
"The major reason for our success [is] new customers who have been referred by others who felt they were treated right," he said at his retirement in 1982. "We treat our customers like we want to be treated."¹
At his retirement, McEldowney sold his thriving business to Tom Ahlers. Ahlers was fully prepared for the additional responsibility involved in managing the business, as he had been an agent with Town & Country for about 10 years. He believed strongly in absolute honesty and integrity in all his business dealings and was honored by his peers in April 1986 as Realtor of the Year. At the time, he attributed his success to putting people and their needs above his own personal and financial needs.
"My basic philosophy has always been to take care of the needs of the customer and the income will take care of itself,"² he said. In February 1988, he was named Corvallis First Citizen by Benton Chamber Coalition for his generous contributions to the community through business and volunteer activities.
In October 1991, construction began on a new addition to the building that created five new offices, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and a large conference room. This larger, beautifully designed facility exists today, pleasantly accommodating 25 full-time agents. It provides an inviting place to do business, with offices for each agent, two private conference rooms, a comfortable waiting area with central fireplace, extensive off-street parking, and all the latest technology for doing business quickly and efficiently.
Ahlers retired from real estate and sold the brokerage to Pete Sekermestrovich in June 1999 and he remains Managing Principal Broker and Owner today. Sekermestrovich took the helm after working with the company for seven years as a REALTOR, and he shares his predecessors' commitment to customer service and community support.
Under Sekermestrovich's leadership, Town & Country Realty purchased a building that would soon become the Annex in 2004 to accommodate a growing team. As of 2015, five brokers work in this building just across the parking lot from the Main Office. In late 2014, another adjacent building was purchased to provide space for a rapidly growing property management department and four additional brokers.
Sekermestrovich believes strongly in the team approach to doing business, which allows all customers prompt access to the many services offered by the company.
"Town & Country will continue to provide the same level of service that has made us #1 in mid-Willamette Valley real estate," says Sekermestrovich. "As Town & Country Realty meets 21st century challenges and opportunities such as going paperless, we still remember that it's our personal, friendly service that has provided the foundation for our success. We know we need to earn our wings every day. As we move forward, we plan to continue to provide our customers with that same personal touch that has always been our hallmark, while providing services undreamed of at our birth in 1951."