A real estate team that prides itself on its approachable image has remodeled a vacant downtown Westborough storefront.
As the Mathieu Group, Ed Newton and Mike Mathieu opened their Sotheby's franchise, Mathieu Newton Sotheby's International Realty, in the former Guarantee Bank space at 25 West Main St. on April 4.
They had had "our own mini-franchise" under Re/MaxFirst Choice, on Otis Street in Northborough, since 2004, Newton said.
"We want to have that mom and pop feel despite having the big name, and Sotheby's is really the same way," he said.
"They don't want to hire quantity over quality. They're more interested in hiring a better person than hiring someone who's just going to throw some numbers up on a board but give them a bad image."
"People have always associated Sotheby's with class," he continued.
"People are very, very excited about the image that it's going to put on their front lawns and their marketing on the Internet."
Newton said he and Mathieu bought the Sotheby's franchise after considering other brands.
"We liked what they had to offer for our clients, and saw a lot of future with them," he said.
Sotheby's checked their background as well.
"The average median home price in the town, they want to make sure that it's a certain percentage over the national median home price," Newton said.
"They want to look for more companies, believe it or not, than small teams like us. They try to acquire companies that are in existence already, that have a big market share. But we had had the market share in the town of Westborough for so long that they had thought it was going to be a perfect fit.
"They called us their 'key-man operation for this area.'"
Moving to Westborough was a priority for the two partners.
"It seemed kind of odd for us to be number one in Westborough when our office was in Northborough away from the public," Newton said.
"The location was crucial for us, because it put us right back in the heart of downtown where we do all of our business anyway."