This month we celebrate America’s 240th Birthday and I am in awe of the celebrations around the North Country. The energy was spectacular at the 4th of July parade in Plattsburgh and for a moment the bustle reminded me of the thriving downtown of my childhood. My purpose that day was to attend the unveiling of the mural “Woods and Wild Things”, the most recent in a string of art installations livening up Plattsburgh’s public spaces. At the soul of this project is the concept that art friendly communities welcome people. I could not agree more.
For us at Northern Insuring Agency, welcoming customers means adding value to our products and having talented people provide relevant insurance advice everyday. Our people are mostly the same year after year so that the customer gets to know their agent and can depend on their experience. When there is a claim, that’s the time I’ve found that our customers value us the most. It’s hard to know how badly you need insurance until you actually need insurance. For many people their first experience with a claim is eye opening and we are always happy to help guide customers through the maze. Insurance generally does a great job of making a person financially whole again, though there is always the time spent and the overall hassle of dealing with the claim that cannot be recouped. It’s these parts of the insurance process that we make more palatable for our customers.
The increase and convenience of big box stores puts pressure on small local businesses to appeal to consumers. Furthermore, there are so many buying choices that it can be hard to pick which is best. Certainly money talks to people as they decide on their insurance and yet, that on-line bargain is seldom the best option. Though the price might be convenient, can you depend on that insurance provider to protect your interests? Understanding the differences in products is complicated; there is no such thing as “apples to apples,” and when that claim occurs you will be happy to know the person helping you during that difficult time.
I think we all need to try a little harder to buy local. Give that opportunity to the local business and see what they can do. You might be pleasantly surprised that the cost is actually better and the advice far superior. And mostly they will be there when you are dealing with a difficult situation head on.
And remember, it is the people that work for these businesses that support your business. We have 36 employees that work in three different offices (Plattsburgh, Massena and Whitehall) and those 36 employees all have families. The families all live, work and play in the North Country. The economic impact is positive and the strengthening of our community is tremendous.
We need our downtown communities to thrive and one way to do that is to support the local businesses. The vision of the downtown pride on Independence Day is heartwarming. This July we urge you to be mindful about buying local. Play a part in making our community a great place to live, work and play.
Deena Giltz McCullough, CIC, CRM, GPCC™
President & CEO, Northern Insuring Agency, Inc.