Putting the customer first helps insure our agency to reach 50-year milestone
POSTAGE by Rob Stamp
A little history, if you will:
It was 50 years ago this month when Meadow Park Insurance Agency came into existence. On February 3, 1965, Jack Turner, Nelson Travers and Robert Stamp executed a lease with Keeven-Jenkins Realty for office No. 5 in the brand new Meadow Park Plaza in Florissant. The strip center at 110 S. Highway 140 offered lower level offices set apart by a gleaming entryway adorned with a fountain. Jack, Nelson and my dad, Bob, agreed to pay $170 a month in rent. They moved to Room 6 in ’66.
That pattern of relocation within the building went on for decades. Some of it was brought about by changes among the associates, like when Jack moved home, or when Nelson struck out on his own. I loved visiting with those guys, both as a kid and as an adult coming into the business. I marveled at Jack’s beer can collection and I still remember the way Jack bedazzled our wedding RSVP with cute little stickers saying things like “Hurray”, “Yay!” and “About Time.” My sisters and I use to laugh ourselves silly watching Nelson make strange faces out the office window at us. Some of my earliest memories working at Meadow Park were spent on lengthy phone conversations with Nelson, who was convinced the insurance companies were out to get him (and surely sabotage all the retirement plans he’d worked his whole life for). You talk about a character. There was another oldtimer, Art Galvin, who joined the agency and, at one point, he was solely Meadow Park when my father temporarily left in the mid ’70s to take a management position with AAA. Art always showed a sincere interest in whatever I was doing and to this day the agency still counts a couple of his square dance friends among our clients. We still insure his son, Tom, and his wife, Vickie.
Company records showed the rent for Rooms 8 and 9 went up to $300 in 1980. It appears when Art retired, Bob and Dot Stamp only needed Room 9, so the rent dropped to only $150 a month, until Keeven jacked it up to $160 five years later. It was about this time when their son-in-law, Bruce Stephens, entered the business and Meadow Park was back to occupying Rooms 8 and 9 again, until moving way down the hall — and paying $450 a month! — for Suite 2. Bruce also hired my sister, Jan, who we sadly lost to cancer but not before serving many roles for Bruce over the years. Bruce’s expanding CPA practice eventually took him back down that same hall, where he remained until acquiring the building in Ferguson where he and his son, Kent, still set up shop today for Meadow Park. They’ve added some producers over time who have helped grow the business and keep it pointing toward a promising future.
It was actually Bruce who initiated contact to bring me into the business. Bruce knew that as a 30-something single sportswriter in Florida, I was having plenty of fun, but not making any money. He had no doubts I could sign on as a producer at Meadow Park to make a good living and do what it takes to succeed in this business. I remain grateful because I came home in 1992 to join the family business and haven’t a single regret. Bob eased into retirement, never wanting to make a full-fledged announcement about it because his sole intention was to preserve the business and worried that his departure could offer folks a reason to shop their insurance elsewhere. He succeeded, because it turned out to be a smooth transition for me and my wife, Sandy. Looking back, it probably helped that I sound so much like my father that I’m sure there were times when customers I talked to hung up not realizing they were speaking to me and not with Bob. To this day, some longtime customers greet me over the phone with a “Oh, hi, Bob.” Many folks from the old neighborhood — and you know who you are — still call me Robbie.
When only a couple tenants remained in the Meadow Park Plaza offices, it became uncomfortable enough that Sandy and I decided it was time to move in 2008. That’s when we packed it all up and settled into our current office that is a mere mile and a half from our home in Manchester. We pay a lot more than the $450 we were paying in Florissant, but the proximity (and every minute I don’t spend on I-270) is worth every penny.
I’m proud to say the Meadow Park name remains respected among the insurance community. Bob and the others before us have always focused on building and strengthening relationships with our customers by offering a personal touch some people might not get elsewhere. It’s an approach we embrace dearly today. It has always been about doing what was right for the customers and, with the right customers, it, for the most part, has made it easier to keep the companies we represent happy. We’ve struck a pretty good combination there and strive every day to maintain the high standards for service Meadow Park Insurance Agency clients have come to expect.
We are planning to celebrate Meadow Park’s 50th anniversary this spring with an open house here in the atrium of our Manchester office building. We think you’ll agree it’s a great setting for our little get together. More details to follow and, since we are more or less treating it as a de facto retirement party for Bob and Dot, we hope to see as many customers as possible.
We really can’t say this enough: Thank you for giving us the business.