Avon’s The Slifer House opens new chapter for the Vail Valley’s first realty firm
As the valley's first real estate firm nears its 60th anniversary, a new, modern work space still captures mountain vibe
AVON — The Vail Valley’s first real estate company just launched a venture that aims to alter the way the business works.
Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate has opened The Slifer House in Avon’s Season’s building. The large space — more than 10,000 square feet — combines the company’s corporate offices with space for brokers, education, games and community groups.
The corporate staff is in place now, and is just finishing up a month’s worth of a kind of shakedown cruise. Brokers won’t move in until Feb. 3.
When the brokers do come in, they’ll find a distinctive work environment. Only the corporate employees have designated desks. Brokers from around the company’s many offices will work from desks at which they can either sit or stand. Those desks can be near the kitchen, or near the expansive glass doors that separate the indoor space from a patio that bathed in sunshine. If someone needs to make a call, or participate in a video webinar, there are six “phone booths,” mini-offices that provide some quiet spaces.
When fully open, The Slifer House will be a busy place. The space has room for everyday work, but there’s also a studio for recording podcasts or training material.
A 20-person conference room is equipped with both audio and video recording capability, the better to record training and professional development sessions.
A sense of fun
But there’s also a sense of fun to the space, part of Slifer Smith & Frampton’s work hard, play hard ethos. That theme is displayed in a large picture in the coatroom just off the office’s entrance.
There, in glorious black and white, is an old photo of founding partners Rod Slifer, Harry Frampton and Mark Smith. The photo shows the partners in jackets and ties. But Slifer has skis, poles and boots, Frampton is in golf shoes, holding a driver, and Smith is in cycling shorts and shoes, holding a mountain bike.
Company vice president Shawna Topor said the photo was put up as a surprise to the partners, but it also illustrates a larger point.
There’s a large lounge with big-screen TVs, a number of board games and an old-school video game console — all those games, by the way, take at least two people to play.
People can also stash their winter or summer sports or fitness gear in lockers. There’s also a shower for those who work up a mid-day sweat.
A new gathering place
Lissa Tyler is the branch broker for the The Slifer House. Tyler said she expects the new space to be a gathering place for brokers, clients and the public — there’s room for nonprofit and community groups in the conference spaces. There’s also talk of holding board game events as fundraisers.
The Slifer House is also plastic-free. Everyone who works there will be provided with a reusable water bottle, and a handy re-filling station. The coffee will be in large containers, with nary a K-cup device in sight.
While The Slifer House is as modern as can be — along with plenty of references to the mountain lifestyle — the idea is that space will be conducive to getting business done.
The partners seized on the idea when it was presented to them at an owners’ meeting in September of 2018.
Topor recalled that Frampton, without hesitation, told the crew to get to work. In roughly 16 months, space had been leased, designers and construction crews hired and work begun and finished.
The central idea, Topor said, is to “support our brokers to they can support our customers. We want to provide the best tools for that.”
Tyler said the The Slifer House space also reflects the broader community.
“When we’re out selling, we’re selling the community,” Tyler said. The new space feels “welcoming,” she added.
Topor said the new space is also a great place for those who aren’t out in the field.
“We’re here a lot,” Topor said of the corporate staff. The new office space creates an environment where “we can’t wait to be here,” she said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2930.