• Oradell agent well-stationed for business

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey

Moderator: David

  by railtrailbiker
It was fate, Margrit Vogler said.

After 20 years in the real estate business, always working for other people, Vogler fulfilled a longtime dream Sunday with the formal opening of her own agency inside the historic train station in the heart of Oradell.

"At 55, I may be crazy starting my own business," Vogler said. But it was an opportunity she couldn't resist, even if she admitted to overpaying for the space.

Getting a chance to set up her own shop at the train station in the town in which she grew up was an opportunity she couldn't resist.

"My father loved trains, and my grandfather loved trains," said Vogler, who emigrated from Germany 52 years ago. "So when the station became available, I saw it as an omen."

The station was built in 1890 and modified several times before Oradell decided in 2001 to restore the building to its Victorian-era appearance. A two-year makeover of the exterior cost $550,000, with $330,000 coming from two state historic preservation grants.

At the time, Vogler was working at an agency in Dumont and a florist was renting space in the station. When the florist decided to relocate, Oradell put the space up for bid and Vogler responded.

The borough was seeking a six-year contract starting at $1,200 a month, but with rumors that Starbucks might be interested in the site for a coffee shop, Vogler offered $1,750 to make sure she came out on top.

As it turned out, she could have come in much lower, because hers was the lone bid, Borough Clerk Ivana Malec said Sunday.

Even so, Vogler said she wasn't upset. She could cover that with one sale.

Vogler, a graduate of River Dell Regional High School in the borough, also had to put up more than $30,000 for renovations, including restoring oak floors that had sustained water damage, and extensive carpentry work.

She occupies 700 square feet in two separate sections - one 450 square feet, the other 250 - that are sandwiched around the waiting room, which is still used in cold weather. As a result, she has to go outside to move from one section of her office to the other.

The exterior renovations performed by the borough included restoration of a carriage portico, scraping off multiple layers of paint to match the original color, and restoring finials, the copper posts in the roof.

Vogler opened for business Nov. 2, right after she was awarded the lease by the borough, and workers were scrambling right up until the last minute to complete renovations for Sunday's "official" opening.

Vogler was joined at the ceremony by more than 200 friends, associates and potential real estate rivals.

In her remarks, Vogler noted that even with the fierce competition among real estate agents, they also need to cooperate to succeed.

Besides, she said later, "I always find there's enough business for everyone."

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