State honors were awarded Four Seasons Realty of Payson and Phoenix last week by the Arizona Small Business Development Center Network.
The Arizona Small Business Development Center Network 2008 Success Award for Gila County was presented to Four Seasons Realty LLC Feb. 13 at a ceremony at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.
Betty Gooder launched the firm, which is not only a year old, with the assistance of Ron Nielsen and the Small Business Development Center at Gila Community College in Payson.
Gooder did not plan on becoming a Realtor. She saw a need and an opportunity after experiencing difficulties with real estate agents while trying to sell her home in Iowa.
She said the experience "left such a bad impression, it created a burning desire to be the kind of Realtor that would help people the way I wanted to be helped."
At an associate's urging, a small group of real estate agents met in March of 2007 to discuss the possibilities of opening a Real Estate office in the Classic Log Cabin model home in Payson.
Having previously utilized the SBDC in Iowa for another business, Gooder suggested contacting the local SBDC to discuss financing options and any other help that could be offered. Shortly after contacting the SBDC, the group had shrunk to Gooder and one other agent. The following month, the other agent was gone as well, leaving Gooder alone as the sole organizer.
David Greenshield came into the picture at that point. Greenshield had a 25-year real estate background and a desire to be involved with a smaller, less restrictive firm. He decided to join Gooder in her venture. Pat Haynie then joined the small team and the office was officially opened on June 6, 2007. Within a few months, they were profitable.
One of the biggest challenges they faced early on was locating funding. Gooder said. Ultimately a personal line of credit was secured that allowed the small firm to start looking forward. During this time, Four Seasons continued to depend on guidance and encouragement from Ron Nielsen at the Gila Community College SBDC. He also helped deal with some of the operational obstacles they encountered.
"Without his help, support and input, we might have given up before we started," Gooder said.
The company continues to be successful, despite the slow- down in the real estate market and much of the success has to do with the founder's attitude, "Never, never, never give up ... success could be just around the corner." Around the corner for Four Seasons Realty was growth to 10 agents in seven months in the Payson area, and a new branch office in Phoenix with two agents.
"Don't be discouraged by naysayers telling you it can't be done ... follow your heart and forge ahead," Gooder reminds other entrepreneurs.
The staff and founder of Four Seasons Realty are also involved in the community, raising money for various charitable organizations and serving on the boards of others. Payson Community Kids is the favorite beneficiary of the people at Four Seasons.