Two venerable real estate brokerage firms have become one.

 

“It made a lot of sense,” says Barbara Pearce, president and CEO of H. Pearce Real Estate, which recently purchased the assets of George J. Smith & Son Real Estate, a commercial brokerage in Milford.

 

Pearce will continue to serve as CEO of Pearce Real Estate.

 

Smith president DeForest W. (Frosty) Smith will become a Pearce senior vice president.

 

The courtship was brief. “We’ve been keeping our eyes open for an opportunity to merge for a couple of years,” says Smith, who contacted Pearce several months ago after discussions with his three agents. “I asked the guys who would you feel comfortable with, and they said, ‘Pearce would be a good fit.’”

 

The partnership, Smith added, “really expands our services. They have over 100 agents, and their strong commercial division will allow us to do things we couldn’t do before, like appraisals, senior-citizen advice and mortgages.”

 

The deal also was a good geographical fit, expanding Smith’s reach into Pearce’s much wider territory — from greater New Haven and the shoreline north to central Connecticut — and giving Pearce, whose commercial and corporate offices are in North Haven, a strong presence in and around the Milford area.

 

“We wanted to maintain our Milford office, which was a little awkward because I own the building and Barbara had to sign a lease,” Smith explains. “In the southwestern portion of New Haven County, including Milford, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge, we’ll be know as Pearce/George J. Smith. Realtors.”

 

Real estate runs in the blood of both new partners.

 

Pearce’s father, Herbert H. Pearce, established his eponymous company in 1958; Smith’s grandfather founded his firm in 1886.

 

Both Smith and Pearce said a union was appealing because of similar company histories and business practices.

 

“Our combined force is one of the largest, if not the largest, outside of Fairfield County,” Pearce said.

It may be getting larger.

 

“We’ve been approached by some individuals and agencies as a result of our merger,” Pearce says.

 

Adds Smith, “We’re talking with some agents about expanding the footprint into Fairfield County.”