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New Real Estate Office Opens in Niverville

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The ribbon-cutting for the new Keller Williams real estate office in Niverville. Sara Beth Dacombe

The Clarence Braun & Russ Kehler Team opened their new office space in Niverville’s Business Park on Friday, September 9.

Located at 1-735 Schultz Avenue, the new space is the first real estate office operating out of the business park and it’s a subsidiary office of international realty franchise Keller Williams Real Estate.

The building itself is a commercial condo project with 15 two-storey units. The Braun/Kehler Team’s space was designed to be a “destination office space” with a reception area, boardrooms and meeting rooms, as well as offices for their growing staff.

The rest of the building is only half-filled and can be renovated to suit light manufacturing or similar administration offices.

As a realtor for more than 20 years, former mayor of Niverville from 1995–2001, and president of the Niverville Nighthawks board of directors, Braun is especially excited to be able to open the office in his hometown.

He sees the space as the next step in the growth of his team.

“We’re very excited and fortunate to be able to open this space at a time like this. Our team has grown so much and is still growing,” says Braun. “The market has changed a little bit. Our team does listing of houses and we can help you sell your house, but we do a lot of commercial land development real estate now as well. So we’re more a full spectrum of real estate services with residential and commercial. And we’d like to add to our team and our specialties.”

His business partner, Russ Kehler, agrees.

“This has been a long journey to get to here,” says Kehler. “I’m excited that we’re in this space and that the team can get together and we’re part of this beautiful space.”

Tessie Martone was also on hand for the grand opening. Martone is a broker and the owner of Keller Williams Real Estate Services in Winnipeg.

“It’s really exciting,” says Martone. “They’re part of Niverville and servicing the community and the surrounding areas. We’re proud to be affiliated with them. The growth that they’ve had with their team in the last four years has been phenomenal. We’re excited for the next four years. We’re excited to see what that has to bring.”

Mayor Myron Dyck also attended to provide well wishes for the venture.

“As former mayor, Clarence was very much involved in doing the foundation [of Niverville],” says Mayor Dyck. “It’s not always pretty when you’re doing that kind of work. But then I get to come and see the pretty of what’s happened. So this really is something that you have built. Not just in the present, but also in the past. And that’s not lost on me. I thank you for your investment in the community and commitment to making Niverville a home and for bringing a much-needed service and investment to our area.”

The new real estate office occupies one of the last spaces in phase three of the business park, which already includes manufacturing and trades, mechanics and repair shops, a towing company, and other offices for builders.

“We have been seeing a few conditional uses each council meeting,” says Eric King, CAO for the Town of Niverville. “Last week alone saw a new cabinet making business and a HVAC business.”

Niverville’s town council aims to approve subdivision for the park’s fourth phase and open lots for sale in 2023. Currently, they are looking at planting trees and other beautification in the area as a next step toward finishing the development.

At a time when many businesses are embracing a remote model, Braun says opening a brick-and-mortar establishment was the right choice for him and his team.

“What I like about it is, when I leave here, my computer stays here, I’m not taking it home,” says Braun. “I mean, we’re in real estate, and we’re not at all disconnected because we have our phones with us wherever we go and our phones hold so much. But I enjoy the fact that I can leave the office at the office.”

Braun sees the meeting space as being an integral part of running his team and says it cannot be replicated as well online as in person.

“During COVID, it was really, really challenging not being able to meet,” he says. “Now we have a boardroom here and we can meet two or three times a week and we can brainstorm and share ideas. We have the technology to do Zooms and meet digitally with those who can’t make it in as well.”

Braun says that corporations that are abandoning their office space are often bigger companies, well established with a predictable level of business so they can more easily project stability if their operations move from real life to online.

But even at that, it’s the administrative roles that are easiest to transition online.

“People who are working from home are more administrative, not driving the visionary side of the business,” he adds. “Those people need to be together more often than not because some of the best ideas come from when you are sitting around, and being in the same room to do that is powerful.”

As a leader on the team, Braun wants to impart a sense of work-life balance to less experienced team members—a kind of balance that he may not have had when he was younger.

“The real estate industry is known for being a high-pressure sales environment, but it’s not about the money,” Braun says. “So we ask the younger people that get into real estate, are you making it all about you or are you building something bigger than just money? Because it’s not about that. For me, I’ve given my life to this community. I’ve had a lot of community involvement and activities, but it’s not even about the recognition.”

He adds that building a strong team benefits the mentors just as much as the mentees.

“I’m 67 years old and making sure our team is strong and growing. This is absolutely the right direction for me. It’s about growing at this point, not getting smaller. I don’t enjoy going out five nights of the week like some other guys do, and I’m especially glad in a team environment, I don’t have to do that. I can pick and choose now more than I ever could, the parts I want to play. And for that, I’m thankful.”

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