Monroe broker opens first real estate office in his hometown

First Selectman Ken Kellogg, holding scissors, takes part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the real estate office of Gaetano Marra, to the left of him, with his wife Kimberly and their three children, Wednesday. Also pictured is Monroe Chamber of Commerce member Lee Hossler, far left, and, to the right of Kellogg, Chamber President Ray Giovanni and Community and Economic Recovery Coordinator William Holsworth.

MONROE, CT — Gaetano Marra led a team of real estate agents in doing 281 transactions in 40 communities, equating to $67 million in sales volume as a broker at Realty One in 2019, before leaving to open his own office in Monroe this spring.

Marra decided to establish Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gaetano Marra Homes on May 11 and opened his office at 588 Monroe Turnpike on May 15 — and the team he started two years ago remains intact.

“I want to thank all the agents who took a big leap of faith with me,” Marra said during a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday. “This came together quickly.”

Marra and his wife Kimberly, a town native, have lived in Monroe since 2010 and have three children, Madison, Peyton and Morgan. “I only wanted to be here,” Marra said. “Our goal is to open multiple locations.”

A green balloon adorns the reception area of Better Homes and Gardens Gaetano Marra Homes, which opened on Monroe Turnpike in the spring.

Family, friends and agents attended the ceremony, along with local dignitaries, including First Selectman Ken Kellogg, Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Ray Giovanni (who is also chairman of the Economic Development Commission in town), and Community and Economic Recovery Coordinator William Holsworth.

Several other Chamber and EDC members also attended the event, in the parking lot where food was served beneath a tent.

“I can’t say how excited I am to have you here in this space, revitalizing another commercial space in Monroe,” Kellogg said after cutting the ribbon.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, which has a license with the famous magazine, has 13,000 agents in 375 offices in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the Bahamas and Hawaii. Amy Chorew, vice president of learning, and Colette Ravache, director of membership development, attended Wednesday’s ceremony.

Chorew said Marra’s office was the first one done completely virtually, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marra represented himself in negotiating a lease with Dave Steeves, owner of the building next to 574 Wines and Spirits. Steeves was represented by Mark Yash, a broker with Hodson Realty, Inc.

Taking a tour

First Selectman Ken Kellogg, left, mingles with, from left, Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Ray Giovanni and Attorney Ronald K. Bellenot Sr at the grand opening of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gaetano Marra Homes Wednesday.

Stephen J. Hodson, owner of the Trumbull Realty firm, said Steeves, who is also a contractor, renovated the 3,000-square-foot space, pulling up the carpet and installing a new hardwood floor, painting the ceilings white and redoing the offices.

Marra said his wife designed the interior with Classic Home Furnishing, their family-owned business in Milford.

A red velvet rope and a red carpet led to the entrance of the building for the ceremony Wednesday and a doorman, wearing a suit and red tie, greeted visitors. Inside, guests posed for photos in front of a green and white backdrop in the just beyond the entrance.

A white sign in the reception has a green Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate logo and Gaetano Marra Homes in green lettering beneath it.

The lobby opens up to a large room with a couch and two comfy chairs on a rug in the center, near a row of cubicles. The high ceilings have a chandelier and a large television is mounted on the far wall, where doors lead to smaller offices.

The conference room at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gaetano Marra Homes, which opened in May.

Walking further in, a conference room with a glass wall is off the left and a small kitchen/break room is to the right, just before a large training room with rows of white tables and green chairs.

“I love it,” Marra said of his Monroe office. “I couldn’t have planned it any better. It’s exactly what I wanted it to look like.”

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