Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Relocating one’s established business must be a strategic decision that will benefit the business owners, staff and clients in the long run.
But as Heather Bosse quickly realized, there is much more to it than bricks and mortar - it’s about preserving and maintaining the very culture that so seemlessly enfolded her business.
Bosse established her State Farm Insurance Agency on Longpoint Road in 2008. The agency quickly grew and as they outgrew their space, Bosse began contemplating a move, looking for more square feet.
Through her banker, Seth Horton, she was introduced to commercial realtor David Seay. “Budget-wise, we were limited,” she said. “There were a lot of empty lots available where we wanted to be, but the cost was beyond what I could reason.”
Bosse was looking to tap into the northern Mount Pleasant market. Obviously, location and visibility were important.
Seay found some options but took it a step further and began researching properties and locations not necessarily for sale.
He knocked on the door of Victoria Galliard and asked if she would be willing to sell her private residence.
This property is not a traditional insurance office, but with the building located right on Highway 17, just past the intersection with Highway 41, it would be ideal.
Galliard agreed to consider the idea, but wanted to meet the potential buyers.
According to Bosse they sat down in her living room over sweet tea and discussed the details. “It was very old fashioned,” said Bosse. “We agreed to the deal with a hug and a handshake.”
Part of the reason that Galliard agreed to sell her home is that Bosse promised to preserve the integrity of the house and stay true to the original design of the home. Galliard raised four children in that house. The walls were adorned with their military medals and other accomplishments,
A sweetgrass basket maker’s stand stood outside. There was so much history about the residence that you could feel it, Bosse explained.
As renovation work begun, the neighbors dropped by to see the progress. They all had a story to tell about parties and weddings and special memories regarding the house.
It was as if it was meant to be, particularly when Bosse met the brick mason who arrived on the job. He was the original brick mason on the house when it was built in the 1970s.
Pete McKellar, principal/owner of Harbor Contracting ,took on the renovation work. His workers found beams above the popcorn ceiling that are now beautifully exposed in the foyer of the agency.
The only major change was the location of the front door, which was originally a bay window.
The beautiful brick fireplace remains a focal point of the main waiting room, which was once a living room.
And while an enclosed sun porch is not crucial to the operation of an insurance agency, it has come in quite handy.
Bosse turned it into a break room for her staff, complete with a homework desk for their children.
Conveniently enough, the school bus drops off right beside the building so the children can come straight to the office to be with their parents.
The original hardwood floors were simply re-sanded and coated, and the four bedrooms were turned into offices.
A receptionist desk was added and a red roof, indicative of State Farm’s trademark color, was added.
Bosse is the daughter of two State Farm Insurance agents. She originally intended to become a certified financial planner but insurance provided her an opportunity to help families in all stages of their lives, particularly the fun milestones like marriage, new homes and babies.
Her work is intricate to the life changes of her clients and those who she has had for the last six years will be with her for 30 more, realizing their dreams. “There is a sense of permanence in this industry,” she said.
Bosse maintains the old fashioned ideal of main street, she said. She volunteers at local schools, sponsors recreation department teams and volunteers in many capacities.
“I am proud we could preserve a home that has been part of this community for over 40 years,” Bosse said.“Progress doesn’t have to come at the expense of preservation.”
Bosse has a team of six. Those team members can be reached 884-8119 or visit the bosseagency.com. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled and walk-ins are welcome.
A grand opening is schedule for December.
The new agency is located at 2917 Highway 17 North.