Ron & Sharon Smith are no strangers to new adventures, that’s why it’s no wonder they’ve helped so many people with their next adventures. Becoming real estate agents later in life may have seemed a little out there for everyone who knew the pair as one of Elk Point’s most successful entrepreneurs, but when you think about the personal relationships they have formed over the years, it’s actually quite fitting.
In 2006, Sharon was looking for her next adventure. She had been a business owner and entrepreneur her entire professional life. Finding that adventure in real estate was all about connecting with people, “it was the missing of the people,” Sharon explains, “one day someone said to me, ‘have you considered real estate?’ and I thought, ‘hmm, might be interesting’.” Sharon says she kept her new venture quiet until she was sure that it was something she was ready to pursue, “I read on it, and did the course and the exam. I was still quiet not to tell anybody, wondering am I really going to like it?” She fell in love with her new adventure quickly, “it was fun and exciting, so I started at Elk Point Realty, it’s been great ever since.”
The couple never intended to go into real estate and Ron actually followed his wife shortly after her career took off. “Sharon was having so much fun,” Ron explains, he just couldn’t stay out of the game. “He’d come with me, two eyes are better than one,” Sharon says her husband is a big asset to her, as she jokes about how in sync they are, “we did the tag team, we feed off each other all the time. We wake and talk real estate.” So that’s how Ron found his calling, “he’d come with me, then later at home, he’d be going on and on about the property and I finally said, ‘you know Ron you should get into real estate’.” Which he did a year after in 2007, now almost all of the Smith’s listings are under both their names, a true partnership.
Ron & Sharon have always worked as a team, which started in their early days of marriage, in the mid 70’s when they ran the Whitney Lake concession until 1982. The couple and their two sons, Sandy and Roger, lived in the back of the concession and sold food and other necessities to the beach goers in the summer. “There was an arcade there,” Ron explains, “we rented out paddle boats and canoes.” Sharon recalls the summers fondly, “there were 500 kids on the beach then. Lots of them would take swimming lessons. We had so many kids on the beach.”
The couple moved their ventures into Elk Point after the provincial government took over the campsite in 1982. There was a few years between Whitney Lake concession and when the pair open a franchise of the Red Deer owned, Dave’s Pizza. They sold the restaurant after 9 years and went on to open Hometown Grocers. The pair, along with son Roger, developed a small strip mall in Elk Point. Roger opened a successful restaurant, Footprints, and the town’s only gym, The Bear Den. While Sharon and Ron added a laundromat to the building. “We always had fantastic staff, and that went to our success. We wouldn’t have managed all those businesses without the people who worked for us, because they’re the ones who made us grow.” Another 9 years passed and the pair sold the businesses.
If being an entrepreneur and business developer wasn’t enough, Ron was an instructor and later in management at Lakeland College’s Vermilion campus. Ron began his professional career as a mechanic at Zarowny Motors in Elk Point (longtime residents remember when it was downtown Elk Point), from there he became an instructor at the college. “I was [at the college] 28 years, and I was in management for about 15 years.” Ron had a huge imapct on the college and it’s students, “one of my students stopped by the other day and he went on to be an instructor, now he’s the Dean of Trades.” It wasn’t just the students Ron impacted, many of the programs the college uses today were implemented by him, including the firefighter program, “probably two years of my life, that’s all I did was work on that program.” It is so successful that the entire province uses it to train firefighters now.
“When there’s nothing to do, we’re lost,” Sharon explains the couple’s fast-paced lives. “There’s always surprises in this business,” Sharon says it’s something that attracted her to real estate. The excitement of the ups and downs, and the nerves behind every new adventure. Adding to the excitement has been this past year, where some areas throughout Alberta were hit hard with a drop in real estate. Elk Point, with a strong oilfield, industrial, and commercial business sector, has remained fairly strong through the down turn, explains Sharon, “Elk Point and St. Paul have had a steady flow.” The couple attributes many factors to their success, social media being one of them, explains Ron “we put everything on that we list now, we get just as much referrals from Facebook as we do from MLS now, I’d say 50 percent of our stuff.”
Ron & Sharon are both active in the community and believe in giving back. Ron is the vice-president of the Allied Arts Centre, a large hall used for everything; weddings, high school graduation, dinner theatres, fundraisers, talent competitions. It’s a gem of the community which the couple both work to keep operational. Ron is the president of the Seniors’ Centre, another hall in town used for much the same receptions, and he has been treasurer of the Lions Club for “longer than I can remember”, over a decade. Sharon is a member of the town’s Chamber of Commerce.
“Bringing opportunities to the community, Sharon likes doing that, event planning,” Ron boasts of his wife. Sharon is busy in the early stages of planning a spring family event at the Allied Arts Centre and even in its infancy, you can hear the excitement as she explains she can’t reveal too much about the event yet, there’ll surely be a lot of passion put in. In real estate the couple has a unique opportunity to find out what people moving to the community would like from the town; which events or clubs they have an interest in. It’s like living their dreams every time the couple helps settle someone into their new home.
“It’s always exciting, sorta take a deep breath and step into it,” every home is special to the couple, “it’s amazing, you take the people and they’re looking at their homes. You get the feeling, you know when that’s their home. Each one, the enjoyment that they have, they’re all equally exciting.” Sunday drives in Elk Point can be very nostalgic for the couple, Ron says they remember every home, “you drive anywhere and you recall the home and the feeling.” It stretches out of Elk Point, as well as, says Sharon, “anywhere we go, I’ve sold some houses in St. Paul, Bonnyville, Cold Lake. It’ spread out, but I remember them all.”
Ron & Sharon are living their dream in Elk Point, close to their two sons and four grand-kids, it’s perfect. They love travelling and make sure to fit in time to watch two of their grand-daughters dance, another grand-daughter in the Elk Point theatre and their grand-son play football. “We are so fortunate,” Sharon proclaims while Ron nods in agreeance, “lots of friendships over the years.”
Within 15 minutes of Elk Point. Looking for a quarter section with a modern 4 bedroom home, and a 40′ x60′ insulated shop with concrete floor. This property brings in $ 4,400 revenue and has so much to offer. The home is finished on both levels and is open and spacious. Enjoy the warmth of the wood fire-place. All rooms are large with the bedrooms featuring walk in closets and the master bedroom has a nice en suite with jetted tub. Appliances are included. 57430 Range Road 51 MLS E3427448 $585,000 Contact Sharon 780-645-9774 or Ron 780-645-0105 for additional information.
MLS E3429166 5901 Centennial Drive $399,900 Contact Sharon 780-645-9774 Custom built in 2012. This amazing property has central air. All appliances and window coverings are included. The large foyer has access to the double attached garage. The main floor living area features vaulted ceilings, eye-catching flooring and cabinets, open kitchen/dining room, spacious living room with gas fireplace. The master bedroom has a walk in closet and en suite. The lower level is finished with a rec room, den, laundry room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. There is a 10’x14′ deck off the dining room and the yard is fenced. New Home Owner Warranty is transferable. Book your appointment today 780-645-9774
MLS E3415911 Affordable – So much to offer. House, shops, land and more. 543082 Rng Rd 80, Rural Two Hills County $460,000 Contact Sharon at 780-645-9774 or Ron 780-645-0105 for more information Great Location with 144.3 acres near the 2000 acres of wildlife reserve that is open to seasonal hunting and year round foot traffic. Perfect for horse lovers. The property features a three bedroom 1800 sq ft home with a large front entry and a spacious kitchen/dining area with all new cabinets, an island and a peninsula with an eating bar. The open concept living room has an amazing view of the yard and corrals. There is also a large family room with a wood stove. Enjoy the small guest house in the back yard. There is a 36′ by 96′ shop/barn that includes a shop area with a 12 ft door, feed storage, a barn with several stalls and a tack room. The garage beside the house is 30′ by 50 ft and includes a storage area, a wood shed and plenty of room for two vehicles. All of the buildings on this property have metal roofs are well maintained and in excellent condition. The property is fenced and cross fenced. There are two dugouts and many corrals for handling stock. Check this out Contact Sharon at 780-645-9774 to view this property.