Longtime St. Maries business, St. Maries Realty, has switched hands, and the new owners look to bring some changes while still staying with tradition.

George and Mandi Knapp purchased the business after returning to the area from over a decade-long hiatus. The two were already looking to move to the area when the previous owners, Eddie and Suzy Epler, approached them about buying the business.

“We found a place to live and transferred down here, and we had heard through the grapevine that Suzy and Eddie were wanting to retire,” Mr. Knapp said. “They had approached Mandi and invited her to come meet with them about it.”

The couple bought both the business and the building, saying that they wanted to keep the familiar location and that they firmly believe in keeping a brick and mortar location.

“In Coeur d’Alene a lot of brokerages were satellite brokerages where they would have over 300 real estate agents and you would have to meet them at the property or a coffee shop,” Mrs. Knapp said. “I think it's important to have a brick and mortar building where you can come in and speak with someone face to face.”

Both Mr. Knapp and Mrs. Knapp want to keep with tradition at St. Maries Realty while embracing some of the changes in the real estate industry. Mrs. Knapp said that in some cases, technology has become a big factor.

“We are definitely in a particular place in real estate history where we are moving forward where more technology is taking over. So we want to change with the times to better serve clients, even something like an app on the phone that they can easily find properties from home,” Mrs. Knapp said. “However I want people to understand that St. Maries Realty has been around for a long time and I want to keep the same traditions that people are used to in town and that we are here to serve their needs.”

“We are not looking to change just to have change,” Mr. Knapp added. “What St. Maries Realty has been doing has been working for a long time.”

Mrs. Knapp previously worked for Keller-Williams Brokerage in Coeur d’Alene and Mr. Knapp most recently worked for the Spokane Fire Department. The two hope to use their skills to improve the business with Mr. Knapp handling more of the financial aspects and Mrs. Knapp working along side the other agents.

“I’m very excited to join the hardworking agents who are already here,” Mrs. Knapp said.

The Knapp’s also said that they want to use the realty business as a way to become more involved in the community. They said that they hope to help with community fundraising, find ways to participate in community service, and work to help out local students.

“It's important that we have a trust worthy and character based realty business,” Mr. Knapp said.

“We want to make sure to represent what St. Maries has always been about and that is friendly faces and small town atmosphere even with all the change,” Mrs. Knapp added.

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