The Powerhouse Merger of Fire Island Sales & Rentals

By Lucie Lagodich ~ The largest real estate brokerage office on Fire Island was formed this past March after a merger between Fire Island Real Estate and that of Fire Island Sales and Rentals. The company now operates under the Fire Island Sales & Rentals.“This merger enables us to deliver an even higher level of service to all of our clients going forward, whether they be buyers, sellers, renters, or landlords,” the Facebook post announcing the merger read. “It is our privilege to serve our clients and the Fire Island community at large, and we look forward to providing a superior customer experience and continued market leadership.”Prior to the merger, both companies had successful and steady businesses. Fire Island Real Estate was founded in the 1950s by Ernest Roth and his wife, Rene, and is still a family-run business today. Their daughter, Carin Roth, previously an agent for the company, took over as broker after her father’s passing. Her daughter, Abi Medvin, has been with the company since 2007, and is now lead broker, running the company with her brother, Alan Medvin.“We prided ourselves on strong marketing that raised the standard in the world of real estate marketing on Fire Island, Abi Medvin said. “This includes hiring professional photographers and the utilization of videos and drones to promote listings. The company is tech-savvy and our listings are search optimized.”Historically Fire Island Real Estate had a longer reach than many of the other real estate companies on the island, attracting listings from Kismet to Water Island, as well as a respectable inventory of commercial buildings on a regular basis, while most other Fire Island real estate businesses. remained community-centric. According to Medvin, the company held 55 percent of the market share prior to the merger.Fire Island Sales and Rentals launched their business half a century after Fire Island Real Estate, in Ocean Beach in 2003 with Owner/Broker Lori Mattiasen and Associate Brokers Patty Stretch and Joan Woletsky.“Lori Mattiasen told us that she was planning to retire and offered to sell us the business and we saw it as an opportunity to join forces,” Medvin said. “Even though Fire Island Sales and Rentals has a smaller portion of the market, they have loyal customers which could expand our base.”The choice for Fire Island Real Estate to take on the Fire Island Sales & Rentals name was a matter of practicality, explained Medvin. “The existing domain name of Fire Island Sales & Rentals is shorter and more practical. ( Fire Island Real Estate had a longer domain name, which could lead to miss-keyed searches.”Both companies are happy with the merger and spoke positively of one another, looking forward to a stronger combined business going forward.“I have a lot of admiration for the Roth and Medvin family enterprise, Joan Woletsky said. “Their business is well-known and respected. I have a sense of camaraderie with Abi and Alan as they share the same ethic and drive to get the deal out.”Medvin credited their former competitor with having long-lasting relationships in the market, complimented Woletsky’s seasoned experience and is excited to work by her side.Both Medvin and Woletsky spoke of slowed business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, up to a third of clients had canceled rental contracts, but by June 2020, the market had rebounded, Woletsky explained – more than rebounded as a strong seller’s market has been created on Fire Island as a result of the pandemic – and Medvin says that the greatest challenge they are facing these days is a low inventory.“My family’s company has been on Fire Island for decades and witnessed many shifts. The Fire Island market is a specialized place and we know the local business, including flood insurance and building code irregularities. Both circumstances that are unique to Fire Island,” Medvin said. “My family business survived Hurricane Sandy and the Great Recession. I believe there is no such thing as a bad market.” Shoshanna McCollum contributed to this article.