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Former Delap agents open new Florence shop

From that loss, however, came the opportunity for some of those who had worked closely with him over the years to take the business example he set and start anew.

Real estate agents Julie Held, Kate Iles and Julie Starr, all formerly with Delap Real Estate, recently opened their own real estate office in Florence. They’ve named it Maple and Main Realty.

Former Delap agent Joy Rain and agents Anne Young and Lisa Darragh, both formerly with Jones Group Realtors, round out the new sales team, which boasts a combined 80 years of real-estate sales experience.

Meanwhile, Delap Real Estate LLC is still going strong in its Northampton and Amherst offices, according to Ellen Bartos, associate broker and longtime personal assistant to Delap.

“He left the agency to the agents, so the legalities are still in process,” she said.

Meanwhile, about a dozen brokers work out of the Delap agency’s 158 North King St. office in Northampton, and six brokers work from the 190 University Drive office in Amherst.

And some Delap brokers struck out on their own. Held and Iles said it wasn’t their intention to create an all-female office, but with real estate being a predominantly female vocation, it’s not surprising it happened.

“There are a lot of very successful females in this industry,” Held said.

The opening of a new real estate office may look to many as a sign of the improvement of the housing market, but Rain said the Hampshire County and Pioneer Valley areas have always been desirable areas to buy a home.

That desirability, combined with low mortgage rates, has spared the region the same kind of home sales slump that other parts of the country experienced in recent years, Rain said.

She said the fact the region is a collegiate hub is an advantage when it comes to attracting home buyers.

Students, faculty, staff and their families come to the area for school or work and many of them decide to put down roots, buy a home and become full-time residents and homeowners, Rain said.

Young said what drew her to real estate and has kept her in it for 26 years is the gratification she gets from helping first-time home buyers purchase their house and the independence of being able to work away from the office.

That office, at 28 North Maple St., has housed a factory and an antiques dealership over the years, and the space itself is well-suited for an office, the owners said. The open space, high ceilings, custom-made wooden desk, large windows that allow in a lot of natural light, and a complete lack of cubicle walls all help to promote a sense of openness, creativity and collaboration among the team, Young said.

“We all want to help each other,” said Held.

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