Memphis Business Journal - by Christopher Sheffield

Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 3:03pm CST - Last Modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 3:11pm CST

 

 

Coleman-Etter, Fontaine Realtors is merging with Crye-Leike Inc.

 

Staff and brokers at Coleman-Etter, Fontaine were told of the merger Tuesday and are preparing for the final move by the end of February, said Fontaine Taylor, president and broker.

 

"In today's economy, more and more companies of all sorts are merging to give the best benefits to all agents," Taylor said.

 

Coleman-Etter was among the oldest residential real estate brokers in the Memphis area, founded in 1951, according to Memphis Business Journal's Book of Lists.

 

The broker had 34 agents in 2010.

 

The office at 651 Oakleaf Office Lane will close and Taylor and most of her staff and brokers will move to Crye-Leike's East Memphis office on South Perkins.

 

"I'll be a selling agent," Taylor said. "This is what I want to get back to."

 

She couldn't say how many of her current agents, around 30, would make the transition.

 

They were told to take their time and "not make any rash decisions," she says. "This was a shock for them."

 

Crye-Leike president Dick Leike says the company, the largest broker in Memphis with over 900 agents, is always looking for new agents and ways to gain market share. That's been harder to do in a down economy where the market is about half what it was in 2006 in terms of transactions.

 

"The only way to grow market share is to get more folks," he says.

 

Over the years Crye-Leike has acquired a number of firms, Leike said, one of the last come nearly 11 years ago with Pyramid Realtors.

 

"It's something we've always looked at," he said. "When opportunities come up, we try to take action."

 

csheffield@bizjournals.com | (901) 259-1726