Stephens Real Estate under new ownership

STEPHENS REAL ESTATE in Iron Mountain has a new owner for its 40th year in business. From left are associate broker Sally Blom, new owner/broker Ryan Gordon, and associate broker Maddy Tousignant. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Stephens Real Estate is celebrating 40 years in business with a new owner.

Ryan Gordon, who joined the sales team in 2015, took ownership of the company Feb. 26, with Sally Blom and Maddy Tousignant staying on as full-time associate brokers.

Jerry Stephens opened Stephens Real Estate in 1979, making it the oldest real estate company in the area. Both Blom and Tousignant joined the company in 1980.

In 1982, Stephens sold the business to Jeff Smith, who later sold to Tousignant, Blom, Claudia Rigoni and Gloria Belongie. Rigoni and Belongie then sold their shares a short time later.

While Stephens has been their passion for more than 36 years, Blom and Tousignant acknowledged it was time for a change.

“Ryan has the vision, the expertise and the ability to carry on the Stephens tradition,” Tousignant said.

Gordon is an Iron Mountain High School and Ferris State University graduate. With a degree in marketing and golf management, he moved back to the area and took a job as director and golf professional at Oak Crest Golf Course in Norway.

After finding the winter months to be slow and a bit monotonous, Gordon looked to real estate to fill the gaps.

“My wife and I thought about flipping houses, but I couldn’t get any Realtors to call me back. I didn’t know anything about real estate, but I knew about customer service,” he said.

So Gordon earned his real estate license. He started his new career working for Superior Reality in 2013 and made a move to Stephens in February 2015.

Eventually, Gordon realized running a golf course and selling houses at the same time would be difficult, as both jobs are busiest in the summer months.

“My real estate kept growing and growing, and my family kept growing, and something had to give,” he said.

So Gordon left Oak Crest to focus on real estate. “Since I left the golf course in October in 2017, nobody has sold more real estate in the area than I have,” he said.

Still, Gordon said he knows he has big shoes to fill.

“Sally and Maddy staying on is really important; that will be a safety net. And Betsy Sawicky is a wealth of knowledge. They are all really supportive,” he said, adding, “Over the years, Sally and Maddy have created this perfect environment of success by focusing on client satisfaction and being eager to integrate new technology and products.”

The Stephens team also includes associate broker Sawicky, realtors Peggy Gingrass, Bob Norton, Jo Poulin, Lynn Sawicky and Jessica Maxson, as well as marketing specialist Jayna Huotari.

Located at 1320 Carpenter Ave. in Iron Mountain, Stephens has been the top office for sales 10 years in a row.

“The accolades speak for themselves,” Gordon said.

Licensed in both Michigan and Wisconsin, Gordon also is an NCAA hockey official who lives in Iron Mountain with his wife, Jen, a 2002 North Dickinson County High School graduate. They have a son, Larkin, 3, and daughter Wynn, 1.

Blom said she is ready to move forward to her new position.

“The future of Stephens is in very capable hands. We have been serving generations of families. I have sold the same house four or five times in my life. We want to thank everybody for all the years the community has been so good to us,” she said.