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Coldwell Banker Paradise Celebrates 64 Years of Shaping the Future of Real Estate on the Space and Treasure Coast

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In the year 1953 the median cost of a new house was $9,550 and the average salary was $4,000.  As the City of Vero Beach celebrated 34 years of being incorporated, Ed Schlitt returned home to Vero Beach from Key Biscayne.  With his wife, Marguerite, they opened the Ed Schlitt Real Estate & Insurance Agency. 

The Schlitt family, originally from Hessen Cassel, Germany and the St. Louis, Missouri area, first came to Vero Beach with the arrival of Ludwig and Maryanna Schlitt in 1918.  The soil was rich for economic growth, and for a large Catholic family  with a strong work ethic, Vero Beach proved to be the land of opportunity their forefathers  dreamed of. 

It was delivering the Press-Journal to the Vero Beach airbase that proved Ed’s first lucrative enterprise.   With the deployment of troops training for WWII, the newspaper sales allowed Ed to save enough money to  buy five acres of land across from what is now the Publix Shopping Center on US1.  Quadrupling his investment, Ed was able to pay his way through college with his own savings and the help of the GI Bill.  He graduated in 1950 from Florida State University with a degree in Real Estate.

In addition to their staunch belief in a good day’s work, the Schlitt family were strong in their Catholic faith. It was at the Newman Club,  the Catholic student organization at college, that Ed met his future wife and business partner Marguerite. 

Ed was always quick to give credit to Marguerite for her part in the success of their real estate business, even in those early years while they were  also raising five children.  “They were equal partners,” Steven Schlitt said.  “She would manage the office,  which allowed Ed to focus on his love – putting the right deal together for buyers and sellers.   To Ed and Marguerite, the goal was to put together Win-Win Deals where everyone succeeded.” 

Steven added, “Dad was always  the visionary, with Mom adding a steady influence,  sitting down and saying, “Okay, let’s see if it’s feasible.”

With Ed and Marguerite Schlitt at the helm, Ed Schlitt Real Estate brought development and growth to a whole new level in the small town of Vero Beach.  In 1959 Ed worked to bring Publix to the area, which anchored the development of the stretch of shopping known as Miracle Mile.

In 1970 Ed put together an investment group to build the first condominium project in Indian River County, the Ocean Chateau. In 1974 The Ed Schlitt Agency moved into Schlitt Professional Plaza at the corner of what is now Miracle Mile and Indian River Boulevard. In 1983 the Ed Schlitt Agency became the third company in Florida to affiliate with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, becoming Coldwell Banker Ed Schlitt.

One of the largest land deals that Ed Schlitt is known for is the sale of the small Town of Orchid, which was to become the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club.  “He sold a whole town” was the newspaper headline at the time, although Ed regarded it merely as “just another sale.”

Daughter Linda Schlitt Gonzalez joined her parents in 1972 in the real estate company.  In 2016 she was honored with the distinction of being named REALTOR Emeritus at the Annual REALTORS Association of Indian River County.  A REALTOR Emeritus is a REALTOR who has held membership in the National Association for 40 years.  Linda has served  as President of the Realtors Association of Indian River County and two terms as the Chairman of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.  

In 1998 Linda was joined by her brother Steven as co-owner and broker.  Steven commented, “Family and a love of the community brought me back home.   This unspoiled area of coast attracts people from all over the world.  I was fortunate to grow up here and be able to return.”

"I am most proud that through the team effort of our agents, management and staff so many have benefited through home ownership and investments along the Central East Coast of Florida,” added Linda.  “We have been truly blessed to live and prosper in such a beautiful area and we are very appreciative of all that have helped us along the way. "

Together they have grown the reach of Coldwell Banker Paradise to span 130 miles on the Space and Treasure Coast.  In 2010 Coldwell Banker Ed Schlitt merged with Paradise Properties of Brevard and in 2012 with Hoyt C. Murphy Real Estate in St. Lucie County thus becoming what is today Coldwell Banker Paradise.

In recent years Linda and Steve have been joined by their sister Barbara Schlitt Ford Director of Operations, Human Resources and Legal as well as two of Linda’s children, Andrew and Melanie to form the Schlitt|Gonzalez Team.  Barbara recalls her early pride in her parents company when she first started as a weekend receptionist at the young age of 13. "Real estate was always a part of the fabric of our family life. I love hearing from clients that began their relationship many decades ago with the company about our parent's commitment to professional ethics, personal integrity and service to the community. It is a model that we strive to uphold daily."

What was once a one room operation, is now 11 fully staffed offices with over 285 full time, licensed professionally trained real estate agents and 48 full time staff.  Today Coldwell Banker Paradise is the largest full service real estate company in the tri-county area and a trusted leader in residential and commercial real estate sales, property management and sales in niche markets such as oceanfront, riverfront, resort, new home and luxury properties.


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