Ken's Naperville Real Estate Blog : A sign of the times...

A sign of the times...

About two weeks ago I received an email from my local Realtor Association, the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors.  It made me sad...

The email read:

All three of the Mainstreet REALTOR® Stores will be closing as of August 31, 2010. 
Why are the stores closing? 
Higher costs and lower demand have caused us to reevaluate the benefit of continuing to have stores in our locations. MORe believes that your dues dollars can be used much more effectively in other ways.

They are closing the REALTOR® Stores.  My REALTOR® Stores...

One of my earliest memories of "being a REALTOR®" was the day I walked into the associations door for the first time...

I was so new.  So excited.  So proud.  With so much to learn

As I walked in the front doors, I was quickly greeted by the "REALTOR® Store".  I was drawn in...

The colors.  The smell.  All of the merchandise.  It still gets my heart pumping...

An attractive young woman behind the front desk asked, "Can I help you find something?"

Slightly embarassed, I responded "No thanks.  Just looking."  Looking for what?  I had no idea...

The signs.  The brochure holders.  The "how to sell real estate" books.  The lockboxes.  I wanted it all...

I was like a kid in a candy story.  Everything I needed to become a real estate professional was there, right in front of me.  I knew I had found my calling...

And now, due to a sluggish real estate market, it will be closing at the end of the month.  Rookie agents will no longer get the same greeting that I received just 5 short years ago.  Things have changed...


A sign of the times.


Comment balloon 14 commentsKen Tracy • August 13 2010 06:34PM


I feel the same way at Home Depot.

Jen Wing

Posted by Jen Wing, Field Inspections Since 2007 (JPW Field Inspections) over 7 years ago

We still have our little "store" but as more agents order supplies online I wonder how much longer it will survive.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 7 years ago

Hi Ken - Sorry to hear about that, but luckily our Realtor store is still going strong.  There is so much merchandise that the hallway outside the store is also full of merchandise.  I love shopping there and always find something I need.

Our store buys lots of stuff from other stores that are going out of business, and it also sells stuff online, so if you want to buy something after your store closes, log on to Sacramento Association of Realtors store or call them at (866) 914-3912 and you can probably order all the same stuff - and at great prices! There is no reason for you to feel you can't get the great stuff that your store now offers.

All the profits from our store go to either the SAR scholarship fund or the Salvation Army, and they do a lot of business.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 7 years ago

Staying focused is the key to making it through these tough times. Some hard work, honest with ourselve and focus, focus, focus and we will prevail. After every rain storm the sun shines bright.

Posted by H.C. Tidwell over 7 years ago

Hi Susan, Norma, and Jen.  Thanks for reading.

Odd that it bums me out.  I have gotten to know the workers...

I considered it part of what I did.  I would go in and buy what I needed...

Now, it will be impersonal and online.

Such is the state of business...

Thanks again,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 7 years ago

Ken, I agree and love to go into our Realtor store to see what is new.  Sad to see this a part of the "sign of the times" in your area...  ~ Susan

Posted by Susan Laxson CRS, Local Knowledge & Global Network (Palm Properties International) over 7 years ago

I feel the same, it is just like going in to a candy store!

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker ABR, GRI (Windermere/lane county) over 7 years ago

Hi Rob, Susan, and Cleve.  Thanks for reading.

I wasn't sure other areas had Realtor Stores...

Mine are going the way of the horse and buggy!

Anyway, I will miss the workers (and they will probably miss there jobs!)

Thanks again,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 7 years ago

Sad to hear but it doesn't surprise me. Stores and businesses are closing all across the country. It could happen to anyone and any business almost anytime.

Posted by John Thomas, EcoBroker, MSEE, MBA (E3 Green HOMES) over 7 years ago

Hi Ken... it's a sad reality and just goes to show you that even we are not immune from the decline in Brick and Mortar retail sales.  Sorry to hear about your stores.

Posted by Steve Shatsky over 7 years ago

Geez Ken - we've never had a store - never mind three! I'm sure I would have been a regular - I buy all this stuff at conferences etc and am typing this sitting below the largest collection of real estate books and tapes you ever did see - my office is filled with them.  If I lived in Illinois I bet the store would still be open!


Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) over 7 years ago

Times they are a changing more than we want them to change.  Ken at least you have your feet under you now.

Posted by John Walters, Licensed in Louisiana (Frank Rubi Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Hi John, Liz, Steve, and John.  Thanks for stopping by.

I guess it isn't too surprising.  I will miss them...

I hope they reduce our dues with the cost savings.  Any chance of that happening?:)

Thanks again,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 7 years ago


It is strange to me that organizations, where the stated goals are to work with people and establish relationships, find it important to remove such avenues for connection within their membership.  Realtor Associations clearly fail to realized that the equation should be much more than just looking at the P&L statement.  I find the logic pathetic and sad.

We are in the business to interact with fellow human beings like fellow human beings.  Clearly the folks at our respective Associations fail to understand this fact.  And, they fail to realize that rather than close (further isolating themselves from the broader community), they could broaden their appeal.  They could expand the focus of their store to include non-Realtors.  I am sure the community at large could benefit from a little shop focused on real estate.  Some people just think TOO SMALL.

Best always,

Louis Stone-Collonge
Realtor ®
Keller Williams Realty

Posted by Louis Stone-Collonge over 7 years ago

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