No listing found.
IRON MOUNTAIN — Charity Melsha at first didn’t like the prospect of working on commission.
When she took a position at CCI Systems that had both hourly and commission pay, she admitted to being “terrified” about shifting from a strictly hourly income. But Melsha was always confident about her ability to work with customers. That confidence led her about nine years ago to seek a real estate license to sell property in the area, starting with Hanson Realty in Iron Mountain and then Juniper Real Estate in Kingsford.
When there was a split in Juniper in 2017, the broker asked Melsha to join him as part of a different company. She sought a stronger role and eventually was offered ownership of Multi State Wide Real Estate in 2018.
“It kind of fell into my lap,” she said of the opportunity.
But complications later arose and “we decided to go in different directions,” leading Melsha in 2019 to strike out on her own, independent of a franchise operation. Now, at only 38, Melsha will have a grand opening from noon to 6 p.m. Friday in the new Multi State Realty office she and her husband, Kevin, established at 332 S. Stephenson Ave. in downtown Iron Mountain. It will be catered by Curious Pig.
Born in Norway, Melsha lived much of her life in the Norway and Quinnesec before her dad got a job in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2000. While her family would return to the Upper Peninsula three years later, Melsha remained in Florida, where she had a thriving career and had developed other ties. When she ended up coming back in 2010, her first job was at Home Depot. She’d been the home decor department supervisor at a Lowe’s store in Florida, working with contractors and interior designers. At Home Depot, she primarily handled flooring.
Home Depot also was where she met Kevin, who then was an assistant store manager. Originally from Pewaukee, Wis., Kevin Melsha had been at Home Depot since February 2008 and lived in Dunbar, Wis., on 48 acres that had long been a vacation property for his family. Having a background at two major home improvement retailers has helped in renovating the former Stitch It Up! storefront and building they purchased in January 2020. They were ready to swing into converting the office space only to have the COVID-19 pandemic limit what could be done, both in the real estate market and construction, only a couple months into the project.
“Every other week, there were different rules on what business owners could do,” Charity Melsha said. Pandemic conditions caused problems with getting supplies for the renovation as well, she said.
With the site mostly completed and most restrictions lifted, the office now has four on staff — Kevin Melsha, Ed Williams, Lucas Davidson, Josh Kramer, and Jana LaPoint. She’d “love” to have more, she said, adding the extra room in the building was “one of the reasons we bought the space.”
While she won’t go recruiting out of respect for other area real estate companies, she said, “I have an open door for any agent.”
Multi State Realty handles commercial, residential and vacation properties, plus lots and land, in the Upper Peninsula as far north as Marquette, west to Iron River and east to Escanaba and Munising. They also work in Wisconsin as far south as Crivitz, Shawano and Marinette.
Charity Melsha tries to couple her real estate work with ministry — they belong to Redemption Hill Church — so people coming into the area can establish themselves more easily.
“I treat all of my clients as family,” she said. “That’s how customer service is supposed to work.”
The pandemic may have put a crimp on business at first, but it also proved many employees can work just as well from home. That’s set off a movement for some people to consider relocating from states with higher living and housing costs, such as California and Texas, to more rural areas, she said.
“Now they’re all flocking to places like our area,” Charity Melsha said.
The new office officially is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and by appointment Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. But Melsha said she is available by telephone 24 hours a day. “I’ve built my business answering my phone at 10, 11 at night, when people come off swing shifts,” she said.
Melsha said she was cautioned when she got into real estate that competition could be rough. “It wasn’t easy,” she said. “But I found more support within the industry than I had expected, with a few exceptions.”
She added, “I’m so optimistic about my future and what’s going on.”
Apply for financing through one of our trusted local partners.