First Crye-Leike Franchise Opens in Arkansas

The No. 1 real estate firm in the Mid-south has established its first franchise in Arkansas. Crye-Leike has sold a franchise to Crye*Leike Missco Realty in Blytheville, representing its fifth franchise with others in Oxford, New Albany and Tupelo, Miss, and Monteagle, Tenn.

Crye-Leike is distinguishing its franchises from its branch offices by substituting the hyphen in the company name with a star, notes Randall Hall, director of franchise sales for Crye-Leike, who sold the Arkansas franchise. “The public will notice a slight modification to our business signage for these new franchises, but the overall look and distinctive red and white colors will remain the same.”

Sandy Bagwell, a native of Marion, Ark,  is the owner and managing broker of Crye*Leike Missco Realty. The office is located in the center of Blytheville at 404-A Park Street. Blytheville is located 60 miles east of Jonesboro, Ark. and 65 miles north of Memphis, Tenn.

Bagwell named the franchise Missco Realty because Blytheville rests in Mississippi County, one of a few counties that has two county seats, Blytheville and Osceola, and is regarded as one of the largest counties by square miles in the state.

As the current president of the Blytheville Board of Realtors (BBR), Bagwell sees the positive side of competition in a small town.  “The members of the Blytheville Board of Realtors have a highly competitive spirit but we work well together.”

Over the past six years of her real estate career in Blytheville and as a spokesperson for the BBR, Bagwell reports that a large portion of real estate sales activity in Blytheville is in farmland and home sales as a result of industry and steel mills. “Many would say that the closing of the U.S. Air Force base has hurt the growth of this town, but Realtors are seeing other businesses and families moving in,” said Bagwell.

“We are experiencing a bustling economy, a big exchange of land and home sales, but Realtors cannot pinpoint exactly where this surge in real estate activity is coming from. But we do know that the city’s proximity to being a levee town on the Mississippi River and Interstate 55 is attractive to new industry,” said Bagwell.

Crye-Leike currently has branch offices in Craighead and Crittendon counties of Arkansas. Those offices are located in Jonesboro and West Memphis.

The Crye-Leike connection to Blytheville is two-fold. Harold Crye, chief executive officer of Crye-Leike, grew up just 16 miles from Blytheville in Osceola, Ark. Also, Crye-Leike’s director of franchise sales, Hall, is a native of Blytheville who has brought several other businesses to Blytheville, including two Subway sandwich shops and an athletic store, Sports Hall.

All of Crye-Leike’s franchising is handled by its newly-established division of Crye-Leike called Crye-Leike Affiliates Inc.

“Franchising allows the parent company to enter markets where it would not normally open an office because of market size and location,” said Hall.

“Franchising provides a way for real estate brokerages to grow and build their networks,” said Crye. “We are able to open offices but do not have the expense of owning and operating them.”

“But, it’s a win-win situation,” added Crye. “We may not own the franchise, but we can provide our vast resources and nearly a quarter of a century of real estate expertise to assist all of our franchisees to make their local offices stronger and better. That in turn provides strength to our parent company.”

Crye-Leike ( , the largest real estate firm in Tennessee and the Midsouth, has over 2,200 sales associates who operate in 46 branch offices, located in 19 counties and six regional areas, Arkansas, Chattanooga, Johnson City, Memphis, Mississippi and Nashville. As a privately held company with over 480 employees, it attained record sales of $3.3 billion corporatewide in 1999, the best year reported in company history. Nationally, Crye-Leike is ranked No. 10 among the nation’s top 500 residential real estate brokerage firms and No. 3 among the nation’s largest 161 privately owned independent real estate companies, as reported in May 2000 by REAL Trends Magazine.


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