SOTHEBY’S in Port Alfred scored a coup by having chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, Lew Geffen, his wife Sandy and daughter Yael visit for their regional Sapphire awards event at MyPond Hotel last Thursday.
Sotheby’s Port Alfred also recently changed hands with newcomer to Ndlambe, Wayne Bushell, taking over as franchise owner.
Longtime franchisee Heather Tyson will stay on as an estate agent, and is looking forward to having less responsibility and more time with her grandchildren.
“I took a 10-year licence that expired on September 12,” Tyson said, adding that Sotheby’s head office tried to convince her to extend it.
“But I managed to find a buyer in Wayne, who is very much a corporate man. I think he’s going to lift us to another level,” Tyson said.
“I’ll stay on as an agent till I die,” she mused.
Bushell said he heard about the franchise opportunity from his brother.
“I came from a long stint [eight years] in Nigeria where I was managing director of a properties and facilities management company.
“I’ve been in property since 1999 – the commercial property industry – and before that the oil industry for 16 years,” he said.
“I wasn’t familiar to Port Alfred. I came down in the first week of August. The big plus to me was the opportunity to be in property and be part of a great brand. And coming from a salaried position to be entrepreneurial. I took over on October 1.”
He said Tyson’s experience would be valuable. “She’s well known and liked and very familiar the residential sector.”
Asked what new ideas he had, Bushell said he would like for Sotheby’s to be more visibly represented throughout the franchise.
“We’re strong in Port Alfred, but not so much in other areas like Kenton. We need to spread our visibility for brand recall and continue the good work of Heather of course.”
He said he was delighted by Lew Geffen’s visit. “His being here demonstrates the importance of the franchise. It’s a tribute to Heather’s work.”
Tyson said Geffen had last visited 10 years ago when she took over the franchise. His wife Sandy visited two years ago and it was the first visit for daughter Yael.
Geffen said: “I came here to see what was going on, to be hands on, to see how wonderful it has become. The difference is mind-boggling. The spirit of the people is so dedicated to the Sotheby’s brand – it makes me proud.”