Colusa County's only title company closes
An era in Colusa County ended this week when Western Title Company in Colusa closed its doors.
The firm, operated by brothers Honus and Peter Mace and by their father before that, has been a fixture in the land business of Colusa County for decades.
"They will be missed," said Ernie Phelan, owner of Pride Real Estate in Arbuckle.
Phelan said there are other title companies that his business and others can use, and believes some of the bigger firms certainly put economic pressure on the smaller outfits like Western Title.
But it is the personal aspect of the relationship, and the institutional knowledge, that cannot be replaced.
"You could just go in and say, 'Hey, I got this piece of property,' and because they have been there so long, they knew exactly what you were talking about," Phelan said.
"And then they could go and pick it out of their archives, which was immense."
Officials for the company would not comment on any aspect of the closure, which leaves the county without a title search firm.
Representatives from various title companies outside the area, but which do business in the county, indicated the much of the work is done electronically now anyway, so the impact may not be as great as some would think.
Colusa County Clerk-Recorder Kathleen Moran does not agree with that.
She said her staff produces a disc each month with all the title updates, and title companies can purchase them on a subscription basis.
She said the information is not online.
"And it is not an everyday update," Moran said.
Like Phelan, Moran said the real impact will be the loss of the personal relationship and professional guidance Western Title provided.
"For us, it was nice to know a person with the title company we knew could help the customer," Moran said. "We always like to have a name and face; that is our business here."
Moreover, Moran added, the residents of Colusa County come to expect that kind of face-to-face business service, even in the digital age.
Phelan counts himself in that group.
"We hate to see it go. They had all the research, they were personable," Phelan said.
"The Mace family was there for a long time."