By Barbara Sherf
For years, the national realty firm Prudential Fox & Roach (PFR) and the local company Eichler & Moffly have been competitors in Chestnut Hill. All of that changed on Feb. 1, however, when Prudential bought Eichler Moffly for an undisclosed price.
William Lee Morse, who purchased Eichler & Moffly 12 years ago, confirmed the sale was effective Feb. 1. Morse, 67, would not disclose details of the deal but did explain his reasons for selling the business.
“For health reasons it became apparent it was time for me to retire and that that the best thing would be to sell the company,” Morse said in a raspy voice.
He did not want to share details of his health issues.
“After conferring with family and friends, I felt that the best company to merge with was PruFoxRoach,” he said. “They are the largest company in the area, and it seemed like a good fit to sell to them. I think the combined forces can dominate the local market and best serve the local clients in the area.”
According to Bruce Glendinning, PFR senior vice president, the new signs are up at the Bethlehem Pike office, and the West Evergreen Avenue location will also remain as a PFR office.
Eichler & Moffly Realtors was founded in 1960 by David K. Eichler and William T. Moffly III. Bill Moffly retired in 1993, and William L. Morse purchased the firm in 1995 and became president, with the late David Eichler remaining chairman of the board through 2003. William Morse brought to the company 25 years of real estate experience in construction, development and sales.
Morse indicated that both offices would remain open under the PruFoxRoach name.
“We’re calling it Chestnut Hill Evergreen and PruFoxRoach Bethlehem Pike for now,” said Glendinning, whose father, Bob Glendinning, worked at Emlen and Company for 50 years, the precursor to PruFox Roach entering the Chestnut Hill market.
“He was the former founding partner of PruFoxRoach and he had talked to David Eichler for many years about merging the companies, but they were never able to come up with the terms,” said Glendinning, who got into the business 26 years ago as a PFR realtor. Glendinning took over as regional manager three years ago, and stayed in touch with Morse.
“Finally, after lots of meetings and negotiations, the deal came about,” Glendinning said. “My father would be thrilled that I fulfilled his dreams for the new PruFoxRoach. I think David Eichler would have been equally as happy.”
Glendinning said local response has been favorable.
“We are now the dominating force in the Chestnut Hill marketplace, and we have the finest agents in the business,” Glendinning added. “We will maintain the staff at both offices.”.
As far as the transition for Eichler & Moffly staff, Glendinning said training has been ongoing since Feb. 1.
“They are learning new systems and tools, and we are bringing them up to speed,” he noted. “We had an event last Thursday night at the Philadelphia Cricket Club to bring together the staff and celebrate the news.”
Morse was pleased that the deal went through, but saddened by the loss of the Eichler & Moffly name.
“I am saddened that the name Eichlery & Moffly is not continuing, but the combined companies are incredibly strong and will to better serve the community,” he said.
Patrick Gallagher, sales manager and broker of record for Eichler & Moffly will continue to serve in that role at the location diagonally across from the Chestnut Hill East train station.
The merger combines the 35 representatives from Eichler & Moffly with the 60 associates in the Evergreen Avenue office.
Bob Elfant, a partner at Elfant Wissahickon Realtors is now one of the few independent realtors competing with the combined office. Elfant, whose offices main offices are in Mt. Airy, moved to the 8000 block of Germantown Avenue in 2010 to have more of a presences in Chestnut Hill.
“I and my partners will continue to run Elfant Wissahickon as a small independent firm,” said Bob Elfant in a phone interview Monday morning. “It’s a shame but it seems to be the national trend of larger corporate entities eating up the smaller independent firms.”
Elfant said he had had discussions several months ago about merging with Eichler Moffly “But it was clear that things were already well underway with PruFox,” he said, noting that EW has 75 agents, with 65 of them based out of the Chestnut Hill office. “We are a force to be reckoned with. If someone wants an independent Realtor to sell their home, we will be there.”
Prudential Fox Roach has more than 57 locations nationwide and 3,750 associates and is the fourth largest provider of home services in the United States.