Susan Rhodes Real Estate is now Solid Rock Realtors (Susan Rhodes Group) following a recent merger between the long-standing Miami realtor and Solid Rock Realtors under Owner/Broker Michael Urie.

MIAMI – This week marks the public launch of an exciting change at one of Miami's long-standing businesses. Susan Rhodes announced Susan Rhodes Real Estate has merged with Solid Rock Realtors to bring in new technology and a broader property network while keeping the same trusted agents and personalized service the company has earned a reputation for.

Under the merger, the firm will now be known as Solid Rock Realtors (Susan Rhodes Group) maintaining Susan Rhodes as the Managing Broker and all current agents and staff. As the latest firm to join the wildly successful and rapidly expanding Solid Rock under Broker/Owner Michael Urie, Rhodes said she and her staff will now have the benefits of expanded tools, dedicated in-house training, a managing business liaison and broader name recognition by joining a network of realtor offices in Broken Arrow, Claremore, and Vinita.

Rhodes began Susan Rhodes Real Estate in Miami in 1986 and moved the company to its current location at 224 E. Steve Owens Blvd. in 1991 after purchasing and rehabbing the building for her business.

Rhodes said the merger is something she knows will really benefit her group and the region and expressed deep gratitude for the community's ongoing support and patronage over the years.

"There are several reasons behind our decision to do this. I love what I do, absolutely love it. I've come to a place where I needed it not all to be on my shoulders, I have him (Urie) now. This is a great change and I just want the community to know we are not going anywhere," said Rhodes tearing up with emotion. "I'm excited about what they are bringing in, the technology and in-house training. I just want to thank everyone in this community for having always supported us, for all they have done. It means so much to me and this is a good thing. It is a change that will allow us, for me, to be out in the community where we belong. We're really excited about this."

Rhodes added that when she started her business it was barely a week before the pending closure of the B.F. Goodrich Plant was announced.

"I wanted to cry, I did cry, but we're still here and I love this community. I'm proud of what we're doing."

Urie, who has been a licensed Realtor since 2002, launched Solid Rock in February of 2009. A Rogers County native with his family hailing from Picher, Miami, and Commerce, he has grown his business from the ground up to where it stands today – four office locations, the largest company in Rogers and Craig Counties, and an average annual growth rate of 46 percent.

"We have been truly blessed," said Urie. "That's the way I need to say that. We are blessed and are continually striving forward, looking at new markets and looking at new approaches and we really put a lot of base into the technology side of it without giving up the personal side of it."

Urie said while many real estate companies are putting most of their focus on the technology side of things, and that may work for some markets, it's not an approach that works well in rural ones where face-to-face business is essential. He said part of what made the idea of the merger so attractive was Rhodes' commitment to community and her reputation.

Rhodes and Urie were connected by a mutual colleague who now works for Solid Rock but had the benefit of Rhodes as a mentor when he got his start establishing his own brokerage – a rare occurrence when realtors and brokers are in competing territories.

"He got started in the business back in '98 I believe and she helped him out a lot and he had his own brokerage and was very adamant about the fact he wouldn't be in existence if it wasn't for her mentorship and leadership," said Urie. "When you're an independent broker, you can't just call your competition and get help. She saw past that line and was really a rock for him and he always spoke so highly of her, so he was kind of a soft approach for us both."

Urie said that Rhodes would never "toot her own horn" but he was compelled to and emphasized again that the merger would not mean depersonalizing the business or changing rates.

"We were trying to extend out as far as we could to hit the Kansas/Missouri line and this was just a wonderful opportunity because they (Susan Rhodes Real Estate) dominate this market and they have done just such a great job up here. She won't toot her own horn, but I will," said Urie. "There are people who want to be an impact, and Susan is one of those people. Those are difference makers. You can go into the next room and ask 'what kind of impact she has made in your life?' and I'm sure they could tell you, but you may need a Kleenex."

Solid Rock Realtors (Susan Rhodes Group) is now listed at the Solid Rock Realtors website at http://www.solidrockrealtors.com, where properties at all of the networked offices can be searched and viewed and is maintaining their current phone number 918-542-3381 and office hours – Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Email her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.