Coldwell Banker Wachholz and Co., one of Northwest Montana’s leading real estate companies, is shutting down its five offices on Nov. 5.
Ryon Brewer, chief operating officer and managing broker, made the announcement in a statement last week. The offices are located in Kalispell, Whitefish, Eureka, Lakeside and Plains.
“The company’s fortunes have been susceptible to the economic conditions of the times and have mirrored the decline of the local, regional and national real estate markets,” Brewer said.
“The effect of the downturn in the luxury real estate market,” he added, “has been particularly difficult.”
Paul Wachholz founded the company in 1981, expanding it from a several-person operation to a nine-office enterprise with more than 100 real estate agents at its peak in 2006. Wachholz affiliated with Coldwell Banker in 1985. In 2002, he sold the company to an outside investor, who has operated it since.
Brewer said the firm’s brokers and agents will move to other real estate agencies. Their listings and pending sales will go with them, he said.
“A top priority of the company is making sure its clients’ interests are protected and that there is minimal disruption for those with pending transactions or listings,” he said.
“Our exceptional agents,” he added, “who have been the company’s best asset, will continue to provide the same high level of service they are known for.”
Kalispell Chamber of Commerce President Joe Unterreiner issued a statement, calling Coldwell Banker’s closure “disappointing.”
“These offices have been a mainstay of the communities in which they serve,” Unterreiner said. “We would like to take this opportunity to wish all their employees and owners well.”
While Coldwell’s closure is yet another example of how hard the slumping real estate market has hit the Flathead Valley, Unterreiner said other aspects of the economy are improving. Unterreiner pointed to a major expansion planned for the hospital, as well as growth in the retail sector, such as Sportsman & Ski Haus’ acquisition of new stores and the opening of the Walmart Supercenter.
Unterreiner also said tourism was strong during the summer.
“In fact, Kalispell’s average occupancy was among the highest in the country,” Unterreiner said. “As we know, visitation is often a precursor to purchasing real estate and other investments.”
Brewer expressed gratitude for the people of the Flathead Valley.
“The company would like to sincerely thank the agents, staff, vendors and clients who have shown such loyalty and dedication over the past 29 years,” Brewer said.
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