Century 21 Success to move downtown after 28 years

Longtime Taos real estate agent Norris Romero reflects on long career

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After nearly three decades at its Paseo del Pueblo Sur location, the real estate office of Century 21 Success will move to a new office downtown. The new space at 114 Doña Luz St. is located between the eateries of El Gamal and Bella's Mexican Grill. The crux of the move - the changing over of phone numbers - will take place on July 7.

Century 21 Success was the creation of Norris Romero, who got her start as a real estate agent in 1978 for Pioneer Investment Company. Two years later, Romero received her broker's license and operated her own business out of a desk in a wing of Cottam's Ski Shop. It was there that Romero had to build a fire in the morning to get the heat going.

"The skiers used to come in at the same place and try on their boots and stuff while I was right at my desk trying to sell real estate," Romero said.

Not long after, Romero moved into an office within the Kachina Lodge and became known as Norris Romero Realty. After hearing multiple requests from Century 21 to start a franchise in Taos, Romero eventually agreed and opened up the first long-lasting franchise in the town, Century 21 Norris Romero Reality, which in 1983 was rebranded as Century 21 Success. By 1989, Romero had relocated her office to its present Paseo del Pueblo Sur location, which was formerly occupied by the Hutchinson Fruit Company. Before that, the building was used as a service station. According to Romero, the building still has a cooler that was originally used for storing produce.

"When I first went into real estate, I used to have clients who would tell me that they felt that the mountain made them stay here and brought them here," Romero said. "And if the mountain didn't want you, then you would leave. I used to not believe that, but I do believe it now."

Over the course of her career, Romero also achieved a notable first - from 1985 to 1986, she served as the first woman president of the Taos County Chamber of Commerce.

Calling her experience leading the Taos County Chamber of Commerce "great," Romero also noted the fluctuating fortunes of the Taos real estate market.

"The market has always been up and down in Taos," Romero said. "It would be up for a few years and then it goes down and then you have to start all over again and then it goes up again. It's been quite a challenge to be in the real estate business."

As with the real estate market in the rest of the United States, the Great Recession marked a difficult chapter for Century 21 Success, but Romero noted the persistence and loyalty of her staff against long odds.

"We didn't have anybody that left our office during that period," she said. "We just kept hanging in there. And now the market is changing and we are extremely busy."

Today, Century 21 Success has a staff of 15 agents. Five of them have been with the office for more than 20 years. An additional five agents have been with the office for at least 14 years. Century 21 Success' publicity materials also state that in sum, its agents have 300 years' worth of experience.

"Over the years, we have had some of the most loyal and interesting people who have trusted us with our private assets," Romero said. "And because of these people and many others, we are still going strong and looking for bigger and better things at our new location."

One of Romero's colleagues at the office also expressed enthusiasm for the change in location.

"I would not even consider working anywhere else," Century 21 Success broker Mary Gugino said. "I'm very excited about the move."

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