Kappel Gateway 6_14_13

Coldwell Banker, Kappel & Kappel and Gateway Realty co-owners/brokers, from left to right, Steve Kappel, Sue Kappel, Bev Dorsett and Steve Spencer. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Local Business

Kappel & Kappel, Gateway merge to create new realty powerhouse

By From page A1 | June 19, 2013

FAIRFIELD — Kappel & Kappel Realty and Gateway Realty have merged and purchased a Coldwell Banking franchise, creating a realty powerhouse in Solano County.

The move was announced by Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty at a meeting Tuesday in Fairfield, marking the partnership that will now include nearly 250 agents and eight offices in the county. The move will meld agencies that have been around since 1972 and totaled more than $600 million in sales last year.

“After years and years of being the fiercest competitors, we also complemented each other. We (Gateway) have Green Valley and Fairfield. They have Vacaville and (the) north county,” said Steve Spencer, owner broker. “It seemed like it just meshed.”

Sue Kappel said joining forces is happening at the perfect time, given that the market is recovering and inventory is becoming more accessible. Along with a greater presence in the county and beyond, Kappel said Coldwell Banker will be able to provide training and other services the agencies paid for separately.

“Even though we’ve been competing, we’ve been meeting for years,” Sue Kappel said. “Think about all the money we’ve spent competing.”

The merger and acquisition means the local agents will now have access to a national directory of Coldwell Banker clients that includes membership to a relocation service for businesses and government employees, said Budge Huskey, CEO of Coldwell Banker.

“The fact is, real estate has become a business where you have to cast a greater net,” Huskey said. “They are positioning their companies for the next cycle.”

Steve Kappel said the aspect of bringing in clients from outside the area was appealing in looking at acquiring a Coldwell Banker franchise.

“Real estate is a local business,” Steve Kappel said. “That national connection is important.”

Huskey said Coldwell will benefit from the move as much as the local firms, as there are only about 30 employees in Solano County, which sits between Sacramento and San Francisco, regions where Coldwell has a good footing, Huskey said.

“It’s a big thing for us, too. These are two very established and respected companies,” Huskey said. “Looking at Coldwell Banker, you would see that along I-80, there was that gap that needed to be filled.”

Owner Broker Bev Dorsett of Gateway said the merger went smoothly because of the familiarity of all involved. She said the purchase of the franchise was an obvious move for both groups. That process isn’t always easy when combining multiple companies. She said the clients will benefit as much as the agents given the increased Internet presence and referrals.

“Usually when there is a merger, you are juggling three sides,” Dorsett said. “Those things equal more power, more tools and more services to offer the client.”

Spencer said even with nearly 25 percent of the market share, the company may not be done growing.

“We’re hoping that some of the smaller, quality companies will join us,” he said. “Compared to what we are doing now, it will be a snap.”

Dorsett said the merger and market turn has the group raring to go and is optimistic about the future.

“We were rejuvenated,” Dorsett said. “We haven’t been this excited in years. We expect it to carry out through the company.”

Deborah Gallagher, president of the Northern Solano County Association of Realtors, said the merger will benefit the real estate industry in the county as a whole. She acknowledged that smaller firms may be affected and admitted some may have to decide what their future is.

“I think it will do Solano County well. We’re going to have different tools at our disposal,” Gallagher said. “It’s not like a bank. It can keep getting bigger. It’s hard to fight that.”

The moves will come with some logistical changes for agents. Some of those, she said, will play out in the coming weeks and months. First off, the Coldwell Banker office at 795 Alamo Drive in Vacaville will close in seven days. Agents from that office can choose to move to the Dixon office or any of the Kappel or Gateway offices, she said.

“We have places to go, but it’s quite a surprise,” Gallagher said.

While many will have mixed emotions about the changes, Gallagher said it’s up to agents to make the most of it.

“You make your happiness,” she said. “It’s not like we’re being bought out by people we don’t know.”

Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.

Danny Bernardini

Danny Bernardini

Danny is a newspaper man born and raised in Vacaville. He attended Chico State University and has written for the Enterprise Record and the Reporter. Covers the City of Fairfield, education and crime. A's, Warriors and Saints fan. Listener of vinyl, frequent visitor to the East Bay. Registered "decline to state" voter. Loves a good steak.

Discussion | 13 comments

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  • Danny BuntinJune 18, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    I am curious when the layoffs will begin?

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 19, 2013 - 5:48 am

    I doubt if there would be many layoffs. I don't believe they have that many employees.

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  • Danny BuntinJune 19, 2013 - 6:36 am

    Actually they have quite a few throughout the county. Not saying it will have a great economic effect on Solano county. Although, when you reduce competition the customer rarely wins. Couple that with redundancies that will be worked out, only the top of the food chain makes out on deals like this. I am fairly sure that some people are sweating out this merger, waiting for the dreaded "Can you come into work today and bring your company equipment". Ive been in that positions twice before in a different industry.

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 19, 2013 - 6:56 am

    Danny, the realtors are independent contractors and won't be going anywhere unless they want to. Any casualties would be clerical and admin.

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  • DanielJune 19, 2013 - 7:17 am

    Its amazing how little knowledge the public has on business. They parrot what the media feeds them. Real estate agents are independent contractors and are paid on commission alone there well be no layoffs.

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  • Danny BuntinJune 19, 2013 - 7:29 am

    @ Daniel: What is the purpose of merging then? To increase the size of the yearly holiday party? Hardly. What media are you referring too that is feeding me?

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  • Danny BuntinJune 19, 2013 - 7:24 am

    I see your point, but redundancies usually occur in the back office as a motivation for merger. Middle management is supported by those back office personnel, and it would be naive to think they are not on the chopping block. So we agree kind of, it just took a little clarification. >Merge >Less competition >Remove redundancies = No benefit for consumers.

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  • REStudentJune 19, 2013 - 8:04 am

    Agents are independents who can go wherever they like. I did some research and Coldwell Banker is a solid company that may just be able to provide the consumer with a better experience than what they are accustomed to. I know that they are on the cutting edge of technology. Sounds like a win (or certainly not a loss) for everyone involved. I'm ready to hang my license soon...may have to check this place out.

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  • CD BrooksJune 19, 2013 - 7:38 am

    Frankly, I'm not sure this is such a big deal. It surely isn't going to affect anyone outside the industry. Unless you sign on with them, they're just another Real Estate Company. I'm not real sure how many agents could be involved here as many have all ready moved.

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  • BakefudgeJune 19, 2013 - 1:34 pm

    Only news here is that 2 competing companies are now merged and and they bought a franchise for additional resources. Most people who buy homes know their agent in one form or another. If selling probably the same. Rarely do homeowners attach themselves to "brandname" companies. Any other broker can compete with them still, just remember that the money made by this larger will be divided heavier to the additional owners and fees.

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  • Rich GiddensJune 19, 2013 - 11:27 am

    Where's my comment Daily Republic?---since I gave them business, surely my customer review of them (positive) should be included.

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  • Beth BitcherJune 22, 2013 - 11:06 am

    Great merger, too bad they had to bring that little blonde along, Beth

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  • Steven SmithJanuary 14, 2014 - 9:41 pm

    Here is a nickels worth of free advice..... Do not do business with Kappel & Kappel ; Gateway, Solano Property Management, Premier Commercial or any other business that Steve Spencer has his mitts in. Dishonest; unprofessional and crooked are the the few things that come to mind when dealing with Steve Spencer or any of his companies. Buyers; Sellers, Rental Property Owners and Tenants, beware!

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