Mike Graham Insurance, an established business in Mount Gilead since 1984, will retain the same name and friendly, welcoming service when new owners Steve Watts and Dan Downs assume ownership on January 1, 2016.
Watts, of Mount Gilead, and Downs, LaRue, are partners in Diversifed Insurance Agency with offices in Marion, Forest, and Delaware. Diversified Insurance has been in business for over 25 years.
Watts, a 2006 graduate of Mount Gilead High School, said the Mount Gilead office will be managed by Curtis Ruhl of Fredericktown.
Mike Graham purchased the business, located at 14 West High Street, from Max Smith Insurance. Joining the business as office manager/agent in 1986 was Pam Linder, who will retire on December 31, 2015. Mike passed away in 2009 and his wife, Judy, carried on as she had promised Mike she would.
Watts, who grew up in Edison, where his parents reside, graduated from Mount Gilead High School in 2006. He was active with MotoCross through high school, riding and racing, then joined Kalita Motor Sports where he raced in events around the country. When he left the racing world he worked for a company cleaning semis and then returned to construction, a vocation he had enjoyed earlier and while contracted to do some carpenter work for Downs in LaRue. Watts became intrigued by insurance and with the encouragement of Downs, he studied and then earned his license. He has been in the insurance business for six years.
Watts said the Graham Insurance Agency will offer the same multi line of coverage and will add more options: Health Insurance, Medicare Supplements, life insurance, etc.
Graham and Linder extended their thanks and appreciation to the public for their patronage and loyalty through the years.
“We’ve really enjoyed your friendship through the years,” said Graham. Voicing agreement, Linder said, “We’re sure Steve is going to follow in the footsteps of what Mike established.”
Linder said she will focus on her husband, Roger, their three daughters ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Graham will devote more time to charity, her church work, her parents who are 92 and 95, her two daughters and four grandchildren.
Watts invites the public to visit the open house being held at the office on December 9 when Christmas On the Square will be observed. There will be pictures with Santa, pictures with Elsa and Olaf from the movie “Frozen,” piped in Christmas music, snow machine, old fashion popcorn machine with free popcorn, hot dogs cookies and chips.
A highlight will be reindeer from the Downs Reindeer farm in LaRue, making an appearance at the office for the public to enjoy. Horse drawn sleigh rides will be given that evening with the cost of the ride being one can of food.
Organizing this event, Graham said there will be as many as 38 events to visit between 6 and 8 pm. These are being sponsored by Mount Gilead businesses.
Evelyn Long is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.