By Katie Morrison, Explorebigsky.com Contributor

Shawna Winter lives by the quotation,
“whether or not it is clear to you, there is
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it
should.”
That belief kept her moving forward
as she started her boutique real estate
company, Winter & Co., on “less than a
shoestring” in 2009.
Winter had a strong background selling
real estate in Big Sky, dating back to
1995. Even with this experience, she
still had no idea what to expect, starting a
firm during the worst time in real estate
in her history as a broker.
But Winter took a different approach,
and her business thrived. Her strategy,
she says, was to do something “interesting
and creative that would speak to
everyone—regardless of if they were
interested in buying or selling at that
time.”
In 2010, she sold 13 of her own
exclusive listings out of a total of 18,
each in an average of three to four
months. With this success, Winter
attracted several other agents, all
with a similar business philosophy.
Aimee Gerharter was the first to
join. She was a real estate investor
and an entrepreneur herself, having
started multiple businesses including
the popular Bozeman coffee
shop Wild Joes. After selling her
first listing in two days, the team’s
confidence grew.
William Feher came to the team next,
bringing with him a creative idea of
focusing on one development. Feher
works closely with the development
and management teams at Cascade
Ridge, while also selling the properties.
Winter never advertised or looked for
new agents. Instead, they all came out
of an idea or conversation where she
sensed they were the right fit.
This continued when a mentor from
her past, Lynn Milligan, joined the
team. Milligan trained Winter in 1995,
and has over 21 years of experience.
The newest member of the group, Lara
Hobby, joined this season, drawn to the
boutique real estate model. Although
new to real estate, Hobby has a similar
business sense through her background
in advertising and public relations, as
well as owning Intermountain Landscaping.
Winter and Co. is moving to a new office
next to the Lone Peak Cinema this
winter, and next, Winter says, they’ll
focus on “a new way of operating in the
real estate world.” mtwinter.com