Arches Real Estate Group from left to right: Valerie Brown, Sandy Norton, LuDean Merritt, Saina Carey, Julie Bierschied, Joe Kingsley, Norma Nunn, Doug McElhaney, Melody Adams, Anthony Mason, Suzanne Lewis and Kelly Stelter. [Courtesy photo]

Two of Moab’s real estate firms have merged and will host a grand opening celebration of their new company on Thursday, Oct. 1, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Arches Real Estate Group’s office at 505 N. Main St.

Principal broker Sandy Norton said her new firm brings together more than four decades of combined experience in the housing industry in the area.

Norton and associate broker Suzanne Lewis worked in close proximity for years serving homebuyers and homeowners in their individual firms. After nearly twenty years as broker and owner of Arches Realty, Lewis decided this year she wanted to focus her energies primarily on being an agent again. Meanwhile Norton was open to challenge of leading what she said is soon to be Moab’s largest real estate firm. In merging her firm, Red Rock Real Estate Group, with Lewis’ firm – Arches Real Estate Group was born.

Both women say the new roles have energized them for what is shaping up to be a fast-paced season in real estate. They are looking forward to the challenge of selling real estate through the Utah Central Board of Realtors, which recently absorbed the Grand County area among other southern Utah regions to become the most extensive MLS board in the state, Lewis said.

“I love selling real estate!” she said. “I could not have found any place I’d rather do that. We’ve all done this a long time, and every agent is bringing his and her own regional experience to the firm.”

The last few years have seen an uptick in housing activity here, Norton said. As of July this year, Grand County saw an 80 percent increase in the number of house closings compared to 2014, and the pace is only increasing, she said.

“You can feel the energy,” Norton said. “Sellers are more comfortable, they see there are more buyers and can hope for a reasonable price, which makes for a very active market. It breathes a new life into the feel of the community, and a new energy into all of the agents.”

A thriving housing market is not just important economically; it makes for a more secure community as well, Lewis said.

“It’s not only a financial thing, it’s your home. It’s the single biggest investment most people will ever make, and of course it has a major impact on everything else in your life,” she said.

With tourism as the city’s economic base, they see growth continuing for the foreseeable future. Moab has become a destination for second homeowners and short-term vacation rental property owners, bringing new challenges and opportunities to the area. While this will mean working with increased traffic and population, Norton and Lewis agree the city will continue to innovate creative and smart solutions.

“Moab is a wonderful community that hangs together,” Norton said. “We’ve been through a lot of change, and I think we’re going to get through it.”

The personal connection to people’s lives and livelihoods through housing drives both women as real estate professionals, they said.

“I get a great deal of satisfaction going through this emotional thing with people, and seeing it though to a positive conclusion,” Lewis said.

“There is nothing like the smile on homeowners’ faces when you hand them the key,” Norton agreed.

They have also been grateful for the support of local businesses, which generously donated door prizes for the grand opening celebration.

“We’ve just been thrilled by the response we’ve gotten from the business community,” said Lewis.

The grand opening celebration for Arches Real Estate Group will be broadcast live by KCYN Radio and will feature a ribbon-cutting and a drawing for door prizes. The grand prize will be a two-night, all-inclusive Moab mini-vacation.

What: Arches Real Estate Group grand opening

When: Thursday, Oct. 1, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: 505 N. Main St., Phone 435-259-5021

Cost: Free!

Arches Real Estate Group is a merger of two local firms

You can feel the energy … Sellers are more comfortable, they see there are more buyers and can hope for a reasonable price, which makes for a very active market. It breathes a new life into the feel of the community, and a new energy into all of the agents.