After 17 years of selling properties for Main Street Real Estate, Peter Nelson is buying the agency from its founder, John Felling. As the business approaches its 30th year of business, Felling is happy to be leaving the agency in the hands of a member of the Sauk Centre community.

“When you’re making one of the biggest purchases in life, you’ve got to sit down with somebody one-on-one and you’ve got to trust them,” Felling said. “I recognized that in Nelson from day one.”

Felling founded the agency in 1980 under the name of ERA Farm and Home Realty, but changed the name to Main Street Real Estate later that year. With its main focus being on Sauk Centre, Felling has also done business within the 30-mile radius, including Melrose, Albany and Alexandria.

The agency moved to its current location at 508 Main Street South in 1998. Nelson came on board four years later. He and Felling had known each other for a long time.

“We grew up as neighbors,” Felling said. “My son Ben played with Pete growing up. They were friends and in Boy Scouts together, and I took a liking to Pete; he was somebody I thought really had the right personality.”

Nelson graduated from Sauk Centre in 1993, going on to earn his associate’s degrees in business and auto body in 1995 from the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. After graduating high school, he worked as a mobile DJ known as DJ Pete for nine years before going to work at Main Street Real Estate in 2002. For Felling, Nelson’s job as a DJ made him a good fit for the agency.

“As a DJ, he meets a lot of young couples that are getting married and need houses, so it works hand-in-hand,” Felling said. “Peter is very involved in other things in the community. Competitors from out of town don’t always have those connections.”

Nelson has enjoyed working with Felling for the past 17 years.

“We always worked really well together;” Nelson said. “John and I have a good relationship and a good understanding of business which, in the end, is ultimately for the customers and the clients we work with.”

Felling and Nelson have been unofficial partners since 2014, and last year they wrapped up a project with Xcel Energy when the power company ran a line along Interstate 94; Main Street Real Estate sold some of Xcel’s land and residences acquired. With that project completed and the summer underway – a normally slow time for real estate businesses – it is an optimal time for the transition of ownership.

One challenge Nelson will have to face is the nationwide lack of affordable housing, a problem that can be felt within the community.

“We’re seeing a shortage of homes right now,” Nelson said. “The median price range around here is about $170,000. People qualify for this range comfortably and there’s not much available in that $130,000 to $200,000 range. Over half the market here in the area is $300,000-plus.”

Nelson is optimistic for when the fall comes around and the real estate business is expected to pick up again. He is looking forward to one-on-one interactions with people who want to put down roots in Sauk Centre.

“We always focused on Sauk Centre here because we’re from here, we grew up here and we raised our kids here,” Nelson said. “I want to do my job well and do what I need to do to work with people, make them happy and make the right, smart choices.”