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Growth is never by mere chance; it’s the result of forces working together. The words of American entrepreneur James Cash Penney, founder of the J.C. Penney line of stores, have never rung more true for ERA Real Estate.

Capitalizing on the momentum of a revitalized brand, ERA Real Estate is expanding its footprint in key markets across the country, most recently welcoming ERA MICHAEL James Co. in Oakland, Calif., and ERA Dream Living Realty in Raleigh, N.C.

In addition, an integrated, broker-focused growth strategy leverages ERA’s network, tools and support to help brokers maximize productivity and profitability both organically and through mergers and acquisitions.

Disciplined business planning and industry training have helped move the needle for ERA brokers like Scott Lauri and Stephanie Bellanova.

Graduates of ERA Real Estate’s Leadership Academy, Lauri and Bellanova leveraged growth in their organizations on different fronts. Lauri tripled the size of his company last year with the acquisition of a local market leader, commanding nearly one-third of local adult community market transactions.

Bellanova, a second-generation broker, fueled her firm’s growth organically by focusing on agent training.

But wait. There’s more. Lauri and Bellanova, long-time colleagues, recently took a bold step to accelerate growth for both companies by merging their operations. The resulting firm is now the largest ERA company in New Jersey and a top-25 company within the ERA national network.

“I believe that merging our companies will help us to better position our company and the ERA name in New Jersey,” Bellanova says. “Scott and I have different strengths, but together, we have all the bases covered.”

“We both realized that we could do so much more together and we were willing to put our egos aside,” says Lauri. “We call it ‘Stronger Together.’”

“For me, the best part of my job is constantly being challenged to improve,” says Bellanova. “Getting comfortable in this industry can be the death of you. It’s constantly changing, so keeping up with new technologies, innovations and systems keeps me busy.”

As for Lauri, his main mission is to treat people fairly, honestly and like family.

And both feel that being part of ERA is instrumental in their continued success.

“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the success I’ve had in this industry without being part of the ERA franchise,” says Lauri. “With the changes that ERA has had in the last three years, I have seen the growth across the country. And this has pushed me to go into an area that I might not have normally moved into.”

“This is a tough business and ERA is able to keep all of our brokers and agents engaged and thriving in a culture that’s truly about helping each other,” Bellanova adds.

Looking forward, ERA Central Levinson has set a number of goals for 2015, including working with staff to streamline office procedures, making its agents more efficient and growing its agent base through recruiting and mergers and acquisitions of open-minded brokers.

“Education is another major plan for 2015,” says Lauri. “Our goal is to make smarter agents who know the industry, the market and the process, in order to maximize their full potential as agents.”

Looking ahead, Bellanova says the company’s plans are to continue to grow and become more efficient.

“We want to have the smartest, most professional and productive agents in New Jersey,” concludes Bellanova.

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