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Hanging in there
Realtors find cheer at banquet
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ALPHARETTA — After a rough 2009, Carolyn Mixon had just one message to share during the 400 North Board of Realtors’ annual awards meeting Thursday.


“I made it through the rain and found myself respected by the others who got rained on too and made it through,” said Mixon, president.


Those lyrics — from Barry Manilow’s “I Made it Through the Rain” — summed up the year Realtors had.


But for 2010, Mixon said, “We are ready to step forward into the future and take the 400 North Board of Realtors to the next step. I want to get our name back out there and let [the 400 corridor community] know that this board of Realtors is alive and well.”


While the organization and real estate market continue to battle the economic downturn, its members see hope for the future.


Rich Swan, who has been a board member since 1997, said the membership of the board has made real estate “their career and that’s the key.”


“People that are here today have chosen this as a career and not just as a hobby,” he said. “ ... They’re hanging in there. They’re tough.


“I really feel that it’s turning already ... Carolyn Mixon is very energetic and has got some great new ideas and I think that’s going to ... get people more involved.”


Realtor Melba Franklin said foreclosures and unemployment have hurt the industry, but things are looking up.


“It’s not going to be a fast turnaround,” she said. “It’s going to be really, really, really slow. But last year we had a harder time because it was new and we weren’t used to it.


“Agents are finally realizing that the market is what it is. We’ve sort of accepted the fact that there are short sales in the business. We denied it, and now we’re accepting it, so it’s going to be a lot easier to do business in 2010.”


Among the award recipients were Mixon and Angie Gooch, who each received a New Phoenix Award for a decade of high sales.


Other honorees included Platinum Award winner Tom Becker, Gold Award winner Chris van Olphen, Silver New Homes winner Tamara Stout and Gold Team award winner Cynthia Komar.


Franklin said the luncheon was “very motivating,”


“I think you’re going to see a lot more energy in the business than you did last year,” she said. “We’re very excited about the future and working together as a team.”