Young owners breathe new life into an almost century old brokerage

DJ and Jennifer Mio have taken over Calderwood Realty

DJ Mio (centre) with other children of Calderwood employees in an undated photo. (Contributed photo)

The pressure of taking over a business that has been in town since 1939 doesn’t weigh lightly on its new owners.

Calderwood Realty, as Smithers now knows it, began as Calderwood Agencies. The business sold real estate along with insurance and was a public notary. Roy Calderwood ran the business until he passed away in 1953. His wife Marge took over. It was a family-owned business until an up and coming real estate agent Charlie Northrup became a partner.

It has since been through a couple of hands but has always been locally owned and operated. Broker DJ Mio and his wife Jenn bought Calderwood Realty earlier this year and so far the transition has been smooth, according to Mio.

“We have a lot of established realtors here,” he said. “It is weird because there are realtors who are more senior than me but there is a lot of respect in our office.”

The buy, sell and the hustle is in DJ’s blood, as his dad used to be a realtor and once owned a part of Calderwood but it wasn’t always a clear choice for him.

He was born in Kitimat but moved to Prince Rupert before his dad had an opportunity to buy out one of the original owners of Calderwood in 1986.

Mio was raised and went to school in Smithers. He then spread his wings and went to the University of Alberta where he graduated with a BA majoring in economics. He worked in London for a year and then moved to Vancouver.

“I was trying to become a video game producer. I was a tester at the time. After four years of being in that rat race I wanted to get into a new profession,” he said. “When I turned 29 I felt I had to pull the plug on living in the city.”

He got his real estate licensee in 2007 and was able to work with his dad for almost a year before he retired.

That same year Northrup and Mio’s dad David sold the business to John Butler.

“I was always influenced by my dad to sell real estate,” he said. “I went off to university and explored a bunch of other things but it was the appeal of moving back to Smithers more so than the appeal to sell real estate that drew me back here, but this was a good profession to get into.”

He added there is so much information to learn when getting into real estate and learning the ropes from his dad was invaluable.

In 2015 Mio got his managing brokers licence, which, he said, set himself up well.

“I did it because I enjoyed studying real estate,” he said. “When John, when our managing broker and previous owner was getting ready to slow down, was maybe going to sell the company I made a proposal and I think he wanted to sell to someone in the office. We always get along well and you need your managing licence in order to manage the office and I was the only one.”

He added that he is proud of the history that Calderwood has in the community.

The location of the business has never changed. It has always been in the same spot on Main Street, although the building has changed three times.

“I want Calderwood to succeed,” Mio said. “People have been coming up through the doors a long time and I want that trend to continue and I want to uphold the legacy.”

Mio said they are always looking for new people to join the team as Smithers continues to be a great place to live, work and invest.

“The market is busier than I have ever seen it before,” he said. “It is all supply and demand. There seems to be so many buyers and our inventory is low. I’ve been selling for 14 years and the market has only increased. Whether there is a bubble, I don’t know. When I started it seemed homes were affordable and now the market is going up. But if you compare our prices to Terrace and Prince George, we are pretty close. Everything is going up. It isn’t a fun time to be a buyer.”

Real estate

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From Left to right, Mary Alice Finch & Judy Morgan (Representing the Calderwood family) Previous Owners: Norma & Charlie Northrup, John Butler, David & Jo Mio, Marje Butler and lastly DJ & Jen Mio.

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