By Julia Barton EBS Editorial Assistant
BIG SKY — Local brokerage Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty was purchased earlier this summer by Northwest Real Estate Brokers, joining a large coalition of real estate offices in Washington, Idaho and Montana.
Big Sky Sotheby’s, owned and operated by Tim Cyr and Cathy Gorman for the last 19 years, started with a small local office and has since expanded into multiple offices across Big Sky and Bozeman. The purchase of the Big Sky Sotheby’s offices gave NWREB ownership over all Sotheby’s offices in Montana, after they purchased Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty last fall.
As the real estate business in Gallatin County became more and more lucrative, Gorman said they had been approached by a number of interested buyers over the years; the decision to sell to NWREB came down to core values and resources.
“Their philosophy is like ours,” explained Gorman. “Everything will still be local Big Sky people, but [NWREB] adds the benefit of having a special marketing team and all kinds of things that as a small company, we really weren’t able to have.”
Tallie Lancey, a broker with Big Sky Sotheby’s for 11 years, shared her favorite part of working for the company, which she said is twofold. “First, being connected to a global network is of great value to me professionally and my customers as well,” Lancey said. “Second, I love my coworkers.”
Lancey is aligned with the core values of the company, which she doesn’t expect to change with the new leadership.
“Cathy and Tim created over a long period of time a service-oriented and family culture that I expect to continue under new leadership.”
Gorman shared this sentiment, saying that the new ownership will keep the name, realtors, locations and management the same. After being in the family for nearly 20 years, the decision not to sell locally was contingent on finding a buyer who would keep roots in the Big Sky area strong while being able to provide the benefits of a larger company.
The NWREB, also known as the Tomlinson Group of Companies, has been family-run out of Washington for four generations and fit the bill for Cyr and Gorman. Current co-owner and CEO Shelley Tomlinson Johnson is the first female in her family to take the lead of the company, and keeps mountain geography and community at the forefront of her business decisions.
“When we look to form partnerships, we look for companies that have strong operations,” Johnson said in a press release, adding that she has no plans to change the fundamentals of what Cyr and Gorman have built in Big Sky thus far.
Although Cyr and Gorman are handing over ownership to Johnson, both still plan on being involved with the company, continuing to work with buyers and sellers for the foreseeable future. Gorman remains in place as the interim managing broker until her position can be adequately filled.
Gabrielle Gasser contributed to reporting on this story.