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Published: Saturday, 2/14/2004

Sulphur Springs buys agency

Sulphur Springs, metro Toledo s fourth-largest real estate agency, is getting bigger with the purchase of Noral Realtors.

The deal, which is to be finalized tomorrow, combines an agency that handled $195 million in home sales last year with a smaller firm that handled $12 million. The purchase price wasn t disclosed.

The deal will give Sulphur Springs, whose business is strongest in Perrysburg and southwest Toledo, a bigger presence in West Toledo and Sylvania, said Michael G. Miller, Sulphur Springs president. The addition of 17 Noral agents will increase Sulphur Springs sales force to 115.

Al Hotchkiss, who founded Noral in 1983 after 19 years with Sawicki Realty, said he wants to spend more time traveling and playing tennis. His children weren t interested in operating the firm, he said.

Mr. Hotchkiss will continue to sell houses through Sulphur Springs and to operate Noral Asset Management, which isn t part of the deal. That firm manages 1,000 units in metro Toledo for real estate investors and condominium associations.

The Noral name was a combination of the first names of Mr. Hotchkiss and his wife, Norma.

Sulphur Springs, which was founded in 1980, has four offices in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. In addition the Noral office on Reynolds Road will operate as a Sulphur Springs office through the spring and summer selling season, Mr. Miller said.

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