2014 BEST Company to do Business with in Napa County: Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
Author: Judith M. Wilson
May, 2014 Issue
“People trust us with what’s often their greatest asset.” —Terry Bremer Allison
People are the priority at Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley, where service, teamwork and great attitudes are the keys to success. “We put clients first. That’s rule number one,” says Terry Bremer Allison, commercial division manager. “And then we’re a team. That’s one of the many strengths: You’re not on your own.”
Coldwell Bankers Brokers of the Valley came into being in 1994, when three existing companies merged. One of the companies was a Coldwell Banker brokerage. The new business became part of a legacy—the Coldwell Banker brand had its start in San Francisco in 1906 after the earthquake—and started making its own history. It’s had an office in the same location on Lincoln Avenue in the city of Napa for all of its 20 years, and several staff members have been with the company from the early years.
“Most of our staff and more than 50 percent of our associates have been with our team for more than 10 years. We’re very proud of the strength of our company in the Napa and Sonoma valleys,” says General Manager Robin Rose, who’s been with the brokerage since 1995 (and GM since 2006). “We’re lucky to have a very experienced and strong management team that spends all of its time focusing on the support and service to our team. We consider ourselves partners in our associates’ business.”
“It says a lot about the stability of the company,” says Bremer Allison. “We have a good time. We treat [associates and staff] well and vice-versa,” she adds, observing that salespeople often experience a lot of negatives before getting to yes [aka a successful transaction], so they need support. “We’re mindful that a positive environment is really helpful when you’re doing good work,” she says.
One avenue of support is training, which is ongoing weekly in the company’s Napa, St. Helena and Sonoma offices. “You have to learn new things just to keep up. The real estate market is changing all the time,” says Bremer Allison, giving regularly changing technology and new laws as examples.
The team effort translates into service. “We’re able to offer an unparalleled experience to our clients,” says Napa Sales Manager Logan Songer. Staff members will stop what they’re doing to assist agents, because it’s in the best interest of clients. And regardless of the location, anyone can speak to a manager or get help. People who’ve had a good experience return, and “Many of our agents have been working with the same people for years,” says Songer, observing that they often become friends.
Among its services, Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley offers help to seniors in what Bremer Allison calls “right-sizing,” helping people cope with lifestyle change and offering the support of professional organizers and specialists in estate sales. “Sometimes you’re working with the whole family ensemble,” she says, so it’s important to figure out who the decision maker is and how to best support the client. “People trust us with what’s often their greatest asset,” she adds.
Service to the community is part of the ethic as well. The company hosts a mobile blood bank four times per year and volunteers serve food to those in need through The Table program at the First Presbyterian Church. “Sometimes it just breaks your heart to see families and children in-need,” says Bremer Allison. The Napa Chili Cookoff, to benefit the Napa Food Bank, is a highlight of the year, with the company giving financial support as a sponsor of the event as well as a crew of cooks slicing and dicing ingredients in hands-on participation.
Outreach involving food is a natural. “We have a lot of cooks here. Food in our break room really gets inhaled,” laughs Bremer Allison. Root beer floats on Friday afternoons, Taco Tuesdays and Jenga tournaments are popular with the staff, often in Club Blue, a place for meetings and parties with a kitchen adjacent, and a relaxing spot for associates to charge their laptops, get online or watch sporting events like March Madness on television. Bocce and golf tournaments, bus trips to San Francisco Giants games and the occasional casino night are also part of the team camaraderie.
On receiving this NorthBay biz award, “It’s exciting, and it’s very flattering,” says Bremer Allison. “We think it’s a pretty great company. That’s why we work here, too.”
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