THUNDER BAY – Shop Local – Those familiar Red, white and blue realty signs seem to dot the Thunder Bay landscape. Often you can see the Children’s Miracle Network logo atop the RE/MAX signs too.
Two decades after opening its doors, RE/MAX First Choice Realty is marking its milestone 20th anniversary as the company continues to evolve to serve the burgeoning Thunder Bay region. The company has transitioned from a small startup in 1991 to a market force, boasting a solid 25 per cent market share and ranking among the top 200 Canadian real estate franchises (2010 – Real Trends Inc).
“The franchise has grown exponentially in lockstep with the expanding Thunder Bay community,” says founding Broker-Owner of RE/MAX First Choice Realty, Mario Tegola. “The emergent real estate needs of today’s buyers and sellers have grown increasingly complex in a city that continues to experience tremendous development, a veritable metamorphosis of trade, industry and economy, and a progressively enhanced regional profile. Northwestern Ontario is on an upward track, with great potential for the future. Yet, one thing that has remained static is an integral factor in our success—after 20 years, our customers remain our utmost priority, and we thank them for making this milestone possible.”
The RE/MAX First Choice sales force expanded from a team of just five realtors when it first opened to an award-winning team of 38 realtors working from a centrally-located office at 846 MacDonell St. Tegola notes that the area’s stable housing sector can be attributed to exceptional affordability and a strong desire toward homeownership. Ownership rates in Thunder Bay have risen from 70 per cent in 1996 to just over 73 per cent in 2006 (Statistics Canada), while the city’s population has remained relatively even.
“There’s no question that Thunder Bay represents great value,” says Tegola. “With the city’s rising status as a regional service hub and transition to a knowledge-based economy, we are starting to see considerable investment in our work force, our infrastructure and our institutions. There’s a slow but evident reversal of out-migration among youth, and the area is now attracting a greater number of professionals and skilled workers. As much as we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary, we’re also proud to celebrate the positive direction of Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. As realtors, it’s an exciting time to be unofficial ambassadors of this up-and-coming municipality.”
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of RE/MAX First Choice Realty, the company is holding an invitational reception on July 14th for its realtors, clients, industry professionals, as well as business and community partners. Special guests include the Mayor of Thunder Bay, Keith Hobbs, as well as RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada executives.
“We’re honoured to be able to recognize the people who have made our progress possible,” says Tegola. “The very heart and soul of our company is the dedicated realtors and staff of RE/MAX First Choice who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to excellence, integrity and results. The strength and support of the RE/MAX brand—and the people behind it—have also been significant, and we’re proud to exemplify the quality for which RE/MAX is renowned.”
To that end, RE/MAX First Choice Realty has wholeheartedly embraced community and charitable philanthropy, which has long been woven into the fabric of the RE/MAX organization. It is steadfast in its efforts to give back to those that have enabled its success. The franchise supports RE/MAX official causes—Children’s Miracle Network and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Chapter. Locally, its team helps to raise funds and awareness for the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, the United Way, Team Challenge and many other service-based charities. It also sponsors sports teams that foster the development of local talent, including the Lakehead University Hockey Team and Thunder Bay Border Cats Baseball.
“Sheer tenacity, professionalism and experience have propelled RE/MAX First Choice Realty to the top of the industry,” says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President, Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “The company continues to flourish under the guidance and direction of its founding Broker-Owner, Mario Tegola—a real testament to his leadership and fortitude. Given the positive change in the region, we’re certain that RE/MAX First Choice will remain a pillar in Thunder Bay for many years to come.”
RE/MAX First Choice Realty Ltd. specializes in residential properties, luxury homes, new construction, acreage and farms, condominiums, investment/commercial/industrial, recreational real estate as well as relocation. The company maintains a presence on the world wide web at: www.remax-thunderbay.com.
Year-to-date (May) sales in Thunder Bay remain off year-ago levels by approximately 15 per cent. Inventory has played a role, with new listings down almost 11 per cent. Average price, meanwhile, continues its ascent, rising a solid 7.8 per cent to $153,998 vs. $142,914 during January to May of 2010.