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BerkShares Business of Month: Gateway Berkshire Real Estate

Right now, Doyle says, is a great time to be in the Berkshires. Thanks to improved communications technology people can choose to live here for the quality of life, even if their work is based somewhere else.

Great Barrington — Tom Doyle and David Thorne, co-owners of Gateway Berkshire Real Estate & Services, are in the business of introducing people to the Berkshires – and they have enlisted the assistance of our local currency! “BerkShares are a great way to quickly inform new entrants to the area about our local economy,” says Doyle, who uses BerkShares to take clients out to lunch. People are always really intrigued, he says, and the “best part” of Gateway’s gift at a closing is a starter set of BerkShares, along with information about where to spend them. “The directory is filled with the types of shops and services new homeowners will need, so it’s like a tutorial.”

A real estate firm might not seem like the most likely BerkShares business. After all, transactions are big and complicated, and not usually in cash. But longtime friends Doyle and Thorne – with backgrounds in equity and options trading and in construction, respectively – are not the most traditional real estate brokers, either. And, in fact, Gateway offers much more than brokerage services. “We help people with comprehensive services, everything from construction advice and the review of building plans to property management.”

Doyle and Thorne like this diversity, as it allows them to harness the full stable of their skills. “People might not communicate all of their needs when you first encounter them. But when you form a relationship with your clients you can eventually identify needs that they might not have been touch with, and Gateway can help them meet those needs.”

Real estate may be a relatively new career for Doyle, but it is obvious that it suits him, mostly because he loves what he is selling. “I describe the Berkshires as the closest thing to Ireland this side of the Atlantic,” he explains affectionately. He was introduced to the area during a college trip in 1969 and has been coming back ever since. He eventually settled in Alford in the 1990s, when the “Internet freed him” to work remotely. Even now, 45 years after his first glimpse of the Berkshire Hills, he says, “I’m still awestruck when I drive down some of the country roads. There’s a great sense of familiarity, but the views never get old!”

It’s a special alchemy of people and place that creates the “commanding argument” for the Berkshires, says Doyle. First of all, “a lot of people have come to the Berkshires in a variety of pathways, and the mix of people who were born here and those that have adopted the Berkshires as their home creates a unique dimension.” But of course, it’s really about location, location, location. “Name another place in the U.S. that’s two hours away from Boston, two and a half hours from New York City, and only an hour from two major airports. We have a lot of things going for us.”

Right now, Doyle says, is a great time to be in the Berkshires. Thanks to improved communications technology people can choose to live here for the quality of life, even if their work is based somewhere else. And while most housing markets have rebounded since the recession, the Berkshires have been slow to follow suit–so now is a good time to buy. But what’s best, Doyle says, is the variety of housing stock on the market. “There’s a type and size for everyone. And there are no cookie cutter developments here!”

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