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Hayenga joins ownership team at realty office

Sarah Hayenga sits in her office at Real Estate Retrievers, located at 339 Oxford St. in Worthington. (Beth Rickers/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON --A big change is under way at Worthington's Real Estate Retrievers office -- although it's not something that's visibly noticeable to the general public. This change is behind the scenes.

Sarah Hayenga, who has been a real estate agent with the company for more than five years, is now also one of its owners.

"I'm a business owner again," said Hayenga, who operated Sarah's, a women's clothing store in downtown Worthington, before becoming a stay-at-home mom for a few years and then going into real estate. "There are three of us who are owners. Matt Larson is still the owner, and he's the broker, and then there's another gentleman from Marshall, Steve Struchen. The three of us all are equal owners. We have offices in Luverne, Marshall, Worthington, Hills and Pipestone."

Hayenga is joined in the venture by her husband, Craig, whose role will be mainly as a silent partner.

"I just could see there was an opportunity, and I had this in my head" to join the ownership team, Hayenga said. "You just never know unless you ask."

Hayenga's main responsibility is the Worthington office, while Larson oversees the Pipestone area, and Suchen is based in Marshall.

"The Luverne and Hills offices are smaller, although in Luverne we have another broker who does all the trust account work, so everything filters through her office in Luverne," explained Hayenga. "It's an integral part of how it all operates.

"It'll still remain to be seen how it plays out exactly," she added about her leadership role. "Now it feels like I'm spending more time doing managerial things, but I don't foresee it will change a lot of things."

Probably the most visible change so far has been the purchase of a trailer, which clients --buyers or sellers --can use to move, and also serves as an advertising tool for Real Estate Retrievers when it is parked in front of the business. Hayenga has a few other ideas up her sleeve, too.

"Whenever you have skin in something, you see things you want to do differently," she said. "We're working on some things to improve the website. That's been taking more of my time, because I have the authority to work on it more now."

Real Estate Retrievers is part of a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which places properties for sale locally on national listings.

"What that means is not only do our sellers get a lot more exposure because it goes to all these national sites, but buyers from anywhere can search and find a house here in Worthington," Hayenga said. "Real Estate Retrievers is also unique because we cooperate with other agencies in the area."

Hayenga is also proud of the spirit of cooperation that exists within the office walls between the agents. Her staff includes Virginia Drost, Lori Grafing, Sheila Pederson, Enrique Romero and America Vergara.

"We have such a great synergy here in our office," she said. "We try to treat everyone like family, whether it be the clients we are working with or the people here in the office."

Eventually, Hayenga would like to expand her sales force.

"I would like to find another agent or two," she said. "It would be nice to have another couple of people. I don't see that as a negative. Somebody is always buying or selling."

Hayenga enjoys the flexibility of her occupation, which allows her to spend quality time with her husband and two children, Olivia and Zach.

"And I like to sell stuff," she said. "I get a rush from it. ... It's been a good fit for me."

Real Estate Retrievers is located at 339 Oxford St. Phone 727-9812.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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