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Partnership with Jonesboro Anchor Buys Real Estate Firm in Conway

3 min read

Steve Doty, the owner of ERA Doty Real Estate in Jonesboro, has partnered with an out-of-state franchisee he befriended 15 years ago to acquire ERA Team Real Estate in Conway.

And the pair aren’t done yet, he told Arkansas Business. 

Doty and Tom DeWine, CEO of ERA Colonial Real Estate in Harker Heights, Texas, are planning to acquire then grow more firms throughout the two states, Doty said. The Conway deal has been in the works since October, when the pair mapped out their plans on a cocktail napkin.

Why Conway? Doty said his firm and the Conway firm have similar cultures and are operating in similar markets. In fact, when Doty was looking to buy a franchise more than a decade ago, ERA Team Real Estate was an option he considered.

Doty said Jonesboro and Conway have the same type of housing available at the same price points, and they’re both industrial and college towns. 

“Many of the Conway restaurants that are new are the same new restaurants in Jonesboro. They just have grown very similar to each other,” he said.

The advantage Conway has over Jonesboro is its proximity to the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Doty said. In Jonesboro, his firm serves many retired and active military personnel. He hopes the Conway firm will do more of that.

ERA Team Real Estate, with 53 agents, has a 16.1% market share in Conway and ranked in the top 50 of all ERA franchises last year, according to a news release.

Kelli Small, a 26-year real estate veteran who has been with the firm for almost three years, will serve as its director of sales. The previous owners are Tracy and Mark Tidwell. Tracy Tidwell will remain with the firm and continue to lead her team there.

“We’ve got great leadership. We’ve got great agents in Conway, and it was a good fit. We’re going to grow quickly there,” Doty said.

He added that he and DeWine bring the tools and resources of a much larger company to the table. 

Doty said he and DeWine got their start in the business around the same time and met at a class for ERA Real Estate franchisees.

“There’s a mutual respect there. And many of the strengths that Tom possesses I don’t have and vice versa,” he said. “He has a lot of background in systems and back office systems and running an office from that perspective. And I’m a trainer, a teacher or mentor, for agents. And both of those together are a pretty good, I think, equation for growth.”

“While it might seem odd for a broker in Jonesboro and a broker in San Antonio to lead a company in Conway, it actually makes a lot of sense,” DeWine said in the release. “We are leveraging the strengths of two companies to make a third even better.” 

DeWine, who didn’t return calls from Arkansas Business, said the companies’ goal “is to improve efficiencies, back office support, training opportunities and aggressively market the company.” 

“Steve and I are so compatible because we bring different skill sets to the partnership and each of our own companies excels in different areas,” he said. “Rather than sitting back, both of us have a desire to buck the trend. We don’t want to stop or hunker down and believe we can continue to grow and learn from and with each other.”

Doty bought his firm in 2005 and launched it with five agents. Today, it is the second largest firm in Jonesboro, with 64 agents producing $102 million in sales volume, according to the release. Doty attributes much of that growth to his acquisition of Fred Dacus Associates of Jonesboro in 2016. 

His firm also has its own real estate school, which aids its recruitment efforts, he said. 

DeWine took over his father Dennis’ ERA Colonial Real Estate in 2017 and has helped grow the firm to the 12th largest in the ERA system. It generated $489 million in sales volume in 2019. 

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