Note: The following story by Ellen Miller-Goins originally appeared in the Spring 2008 Land & Home magazine published by the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle. William Steven “Steve-O” Smith, 64, of Red River, New Mexico died July 28, 2020. Resort Realty is now owned and operated by Steve’s wife wife Diane Maloney.
Like so many who live in Red River, Steve Smith — Steve-O, as he’s known to everyone in town — came to know and love this mountain community during family vacations, taken to escape the summer heat of Dallas, Texas.
Says Smith, “In the ’60s we came to Red River every summer and stayed at Aspen Park (a resort whose listing Smith now handles). We’d ride horse, rent bicycles, and go trout fishing, hiking a lot of the things we do now.”
In 1975 at age 19, Smith got a job as a Jeep tour driver for Gene Addison at Jeep Trailways and says, “I did that for several fun summers while I was going to college.”
Not long after graduating from Southwest Texas State University in 1983, Smith was working a sales job in San Antonio. “I was wearing a suit and tie, which I just couldn’t handle in the summertime with all that heat and humidity.”
It was a call from his friend Craig Barker — another longtime Red River summer visitor who had lived there for a bit before also ending up in San Antonio — that changed Smith’s life. “He said, ‘My wife and I are moving back to Red River’ and I said, ‘So am I!”
Smith again came to work for Gene Addison that summer in 1985, “Then I bought Jeep Trailways from him that next summer and added rental Jeeps, surrey bike’s and mountain bikes.
Smith, an affable fellow with an easy charm and winning smile, drove Jeeps for 8 years and, like so many locals, supplemented his income by working extra jobs, teaching skiing at Red River Ski Area and tending bar.
After several years as owner/operator of Jeep Trailways, Smith says his former boss, Gene Addison, convinced him to give real estate a try. “He was working for Bob Steider at Resort Realty. I bought that business from Bob in 1995.”
Smith sold Jeep Trailways and operated Resort Realty out of an office at the end of the deck near the Motherlode Saloon before hiring local contractor Ron Pockrandt to build the attractive new building that now houses his office at the corner of Main Street and Jayhawk Trail.
The Alpine-style building is just about the first thing visitors see as they descend Bobcat Pass into Red River. It helps that the building sits at an angle to the street corner, an idea suggested by Pockrandt, Smith says. “We’ve really enjoyed it. It’s really worked great for us.”
Smith says the best part is working in the nice space with a great team that is rounded out by longtime agents Scott Latham (Bob Steider’s grandson), Jerry Brown, Debbie Hubbard and his fiancé Diane Maloney who joined the crew 3 years ago (the couple are planning a September wedding).
In the years since buying Resort Realty, Smith says, “The biggest change is the Baby Boomers are my best customers now and they tend to use the Internet a lot more so they have a fairly good idea of what they’re looking for before they get here.”
With that in mind, Smith says he is midway through a complete re-design of his website. “It’s time to update it and revamp it. When it’s done, our website will be easy to navigate, fun to look at, and educational. We’ll have more information on listings in Taos County, tips on buying and selling real estate and related links to help our customers find out more about the Red River area.
“One favorite is the town webcam. People love to get on there to see if it’s snowing…. We’re going to have it all in one nice website!”
Smith also utilizes multiple listing services and enjoys the kind of ready camaraderie with “competing” Red River real estate agents that comes so easily to most locals. “We all work together here.”
Still, every real estate office has its loyal clientele and Smith’s is no exception. “It’s really great when your customers loyalty turns into ever-lasting friendships. My favorite customer quote was, ‘We didn’t just buy a home, we bought into the community.’
“Our customers are still the same good people we’ve always had from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas …. One thing that has changed: We get more people from New Mexico, probably because Albuquerque and Santa Fe are growing. Red River is growing, too, but we’re not too big, not too pretentious like Aspen or Vail. We still have a home feeling but we also have the cross-country ski area and three downhill ski areas nearby.”
A feature that is not lost on Smith: “I still make time to get out. Just last weekend I went skiing at Red River Ski Area and Taos Ski Valley. You have to enjoy where you live. If you don’t, it’s time to move on.”