|HomeTown Agency celebrates 20-year anniversary|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 18 February 2016 00:00|
By Sheri Hink-Wagner
The Wauneta Breeze
Businesses in Wauneta make sure the community has a lot to offer. HomeTown Agency is one of the many businesses here at home committed to community betterment. The main street business is currently celebrating its 20-year anniversary.
“Twenty years has gone by fast, but time flies when you are having fun,” expressed Rick Einspahr, one of HomeTown Agency’s partners.
HomeTown Agency’s commitment to small towns doesn’t stop in Wauneta, however. It has locations throughout southwest Nebraska in Grant, Cambridge, Arapahoe and McCook.
From talking to the partners of the agency, it’s clear to see they are committed to the vitality of each town they work in, and many in between. In fact, it’s written right into their mission statement which reads, “HomeTown Agency fosters a positive and caring environment. We have a passion for adding value to each insured’s individual needs, while providing leadership in the communities served.”
Einspahr explained, “Part of our mission statement is to provide leadership in our communities, because we want to give back. We understand the pressures our small communities are under financially, but hold dear the lifestyle small town living offers.”
The foundation for HomeTown Agency’s start got it’s first brick in 1992 when Terry Engell purchased an insurance agency in Cambridge.
Four years later, in 1996, she and Einspahr created a partnership and formed an LLC, officially creating HomeTown Agency. That same year they also purchased the Wauneta-based Steinert Agency from Bernie and Berneta Steinert.
Since that time the agency has continued to grow.
In 1998 Jeff Skeels became a partner and together the trio created a new office in Grant from scratch.
Five years later, in 2003, locations in Arapahoe and McCook were added, finishing out the locations the company maintains to this day.
Deann Hunter with the McCook office and Mason Schroeder with the Arapahoe office became partners earlier this year.
The agency’s present home office in Wauneta came to existence in 2005 when the LLC purchased the B&K Hardware Store building (formerly Grimm’s Hardware). The building was completely remodeled at that time.
When reflecting on the past 20 years, Associate Laurie Maris remembered one of the biggest changes has been technology used to complete their jobs. When she started in 1996 the office had no internet access and any policy changes had to be mailed to the insurance company. Even small, relatively simple changes would take ten or more days to process. However, she said things are much faster now as changes happen almost instantly via websites or email.
The independent insurance agency offers a broad array of services and represents many reputable, financially strong carriers. Its primary lines of services include farm, crop, home, auto, business, life, health and long-term care insurance. The agency also offers financial services.
Some of the carriers Home Town Agency represents include: Farmers Mutual of Nebraska, Northstar Mutual, EMC Insurance, Allied/Nationwide Insurance, Auto-Owners, Columbia, Rain and Hail, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Coventry as well as many miscellaneous life insurance companies.
The agency has five partners and 12 associates between the five offices.
“We’re family-oriented. We provide an opportunity for working parents to work and still have time for their families,” Engell said. “ I think that’s why we’ve had so many associates who have stayed with us as long as they have. We have a great team.”
Associates who have been with the company for ten years or more include: Maris–20 years, Hunter–19 years, Kandi Zimmerman–17 years, Charlotte Benson–15 years, Schroeder–13 years and Diana Molzahn–14 years.
“We try to provide a great working environment, where our employees enjoy a positive team attitude, while working to meet the goals of the organization,” Einspahr explained.
“I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to work for HomeTown Agency from the start,” said Maris. “Rick and the other partners have been awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.”
Engell explained the partners have three main objectives when it comes to the business. First, to treat their associates fairly, second to “be the best we can be for our clients and to provide the level of service they have come to expect,” and, lastly, to volunteer in each of the agency’s communities.
“We ask our employees to be involved in their respective communities, whether that be by serving on local and area boards; service organizations; such as Chamber; and/or assisting the youth of the community by volunteering their services at school and church.”
“We feel deeply committed to all of our communities,” Engell emphasized.
The partners expressed thanks to all the customers who have supported them over the past 20 years. “Our service goal is to try to exceed the kind of service that they should not only deserve, but expect,” said Einspahr.
Celebrating their service
The agency began celebrating 20 years of service in southwest Nebraska last fall with tailgate events in Wauneta and Cambridge. The agency also designed a new logo to help celebrate its 20th anniversary.
At the tailgate parties partners and associates offered tailgate-style foods at local football games and then donated the funds raised to the schools. Funds raised in Wauneta purchased the new banners on display in the Wauneta Attendance Center gym.
The agency donated popcorn bags to the schools in all of their communities. They also anticipate participation in each town’s celebration this summer.
Next month, associates from each location will come together in Wauneta at Mercy Meals of Southwest Nebraska to pack meals for hungry children.
To learn more about HomeTown Agency and its services call one of their five offices or visit online at hometownagencyne.com or at facebook.com/hometownagency.