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Major real estate merger between two longtime CB firms

Expanding reach beyond the valley as well

By Mark Reaman

Two of Crested Butte’s longest operating and most storied real estate offices are merging both locally and regionally. Red Lady Realty and Coldwell Banker Bighorn Realty are joining forces as Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties. The merger closed September 6.

Red Lady Realty owner/broker Molly Eldridge will be an owner in the new brokerage along with Bighorn’s Chris Kopf. Both will continue to act as selling agents as well.

“While I will no longer be the sole owner of the company, I will be a part owner and am excited to work with my new partners and agents to make Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties the best real estate company in Crested Butte,” said Eldridge. “I will continue to be the managing broker of the company and look forward to working with my expanded team.”

“I am very happy to also announce that I am an owner in the new brokerage, but my role as an agent working directly with my clients to provide superior service will not change,” said Kopf. “Dan McElroy [owner of Bighorn] has been a rock in the river of Crested Butte real estate for over 35 years and will stay on, and remains a visible agent in the Crested Butte market.”

As for the physical spaces occupied by the real estate offices, Eldridge said, “Both Crested Butte offices will continue to be open to welcome clients, whether they are walking down Elk Avenue or driving through town on 6th Street. The Gunnison office will also continue to serve the south end of the valley.”

The new firm in Crested Butte has also joined forces with the Coldwell Banker offices and leadership team in Breckenridge, Winter Park and Frisco in an effort to expand resources and marketing tools. “The other resort offices will give our listings direct exposure to other agents who may work with buyers who are exploring other resort areas in addition to Crested Butte,” she explained.

Red Lady Realty was established in 1978 by Doug Kroft, who is still actively selling real estate in the valley. Eldridge worked as an agent in the firm for many years and purchased the agency from Kroft almost four years ago. Bighorn was established in 1982 by Jim Gebhart and after his death it was purchased by longtime agent McElroy.

“The merger brings together a lot of great history with a focus on market knowledge, customer service and community involvement,” commented Eldridge. With the Vail transaction likely, buyers and sellers will appreciate a company with deep knowledge of local market history and a focus on improvement and growth into the future.”

According to Eldridge, the two offices have already completed transactions worth more than $85 million through the end of August of this year and will be the largest real estate company in the valley with three offices and 30 agents.

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