Agents from Smires & Associates Real Estate stand on the front step of the company’s Robbinsville office. (Staff photo by John Leaver.)
Agents from Smires & Associates Real Estate stand on the front step of the company’s Robbinsville office. (Staff photo by John Leaver.)

About 5 years ago, Ed Smires started to put together a team with the hopes of creating a real estate company that would break free from the dictatorship style he thought was evident in larger groups.

Then, in 2009, Smires and co-owner Justin Reed struck out on their own, forming Smires & Associates Real Estate in Robbinsville. They hoped by creating their own company they could empower and encourage a team of agents to join them, knowing they could have a significant impact in the company’s day-to-day decision making.

“This is really done as a group effort. A lot of the major decisions that are made, are made by many of the agents in here,” Smires said.

Smires said he never wanted to be the type of boss who wasn’t hands on, or who wouldn’t listen when his agents had ideas about ways to take the company forward.

“[The company is] run by real estate agents. It’s not run by someone who’s living on the fourth floor, who’s never paid their dues on the street,” he said.

The agents expressed a clear enthusiasm for working at Smires & Associates.

“The office environment is fantastic … I don’t know of any one person in this office that I could not trust,” said Babs Polynak, a sales associate. “It begins at the top, it begins with Ed [Smires], and with Justin [Reed], and with Kelly [Rein]. It filters down to everybody.”

Jay Weatherby is an agent who has been in real estate for more than 20 years. He owned his own agency in Gloucester County before joining Smires. Weatherby said even before he joined the company, he was impressed with how quickly they were able to establish a brand identity in a short period of time.

“Smires clearly had developed a rapport with the public that missing in today’s [business] world,” he said.

Reed said the company’s focus on customer service is a major reason for its success.

“If you provide top-notch service, you’re going to get repeat business, you’re going to get referrals, you’re going to make a lot of friends.”

Smires said the company has been achieving its goals despite the fact that the real estate market has not yet recovered from a downturn that began several years ago. He said sales are up 27 percent from the previous year and 67 percent from the company’s first year in business.

Smires and Associates reports doing more than $50 million worth of business in 2011. They opened for business with eight agents, and now have 54.

Expansion has not been limited to increasing the number of agents, either. Smires and Associates has also increased the number of services it provides.

“We’re into commercial real estate, property management, we provide many services and we’ve involved in many levels of transactions in the area,” Smires said.

Smires & Associates is evolving quickly, and its ownership is always thinking about expansion. Smires said he could envision someday dealing in the real estate market in Pennsylvania or along the Jersey Shore.

“My goal is to create an empire,” Smires said. “I don’t want to be just one office. I would love to create multiple offices … have our own commercial division and start branching out into other communities.”

Reed said the company won’t be satisfied with merely surviving.

“We want to thrive, and we’re going to keep going until we can’t go any more,” he said.

Smires & Associates Real Estate is located at 2355 Route 33 in Robbinsville. For more information call (609) 259-1414 or go online to smiresandassociates.com.