“WHEN I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL THE ONLY THING I WAS INTERESTED IN DOING WAS BEING A LEGAL ASSISTANT.
I took some home study courses to be a paralegal.
I ended up getting a job in a factory. I did that for a couple of years. The benefits and money were great but it wasn’t what I really wanted to do.
That was 1997. I started looking around for a new job. I knew that I enjoyed working with the public and in an office environment.
Joel and I were getting ready to get married. I felt like I needed to do something other than the factory job.
I got offered a job at Borders doing data entry. At that same time, I interviewed for the job at Jones Insurance. I was offered that job, too. It was close to home and I didn't really want to sit in front of a computer and do data entry all day. I wanted to talk to people. I didn't want to be stuck in a cubicle.
I got married and started working at Jones Insurance in the same month.
I didn't know anything about insurance. Six months later, I took a test in Lansing and got my license for property and casualty insurance. Then, I got my life license and was able to sell life insurance.
I have loved it ever since.
Madison was born at the end of 2002.
I didn't really want to send her off to a daycare but she did go to daycare at Paddock. The Paddock preschool had before and after care. She was there for a couple of years before she started kindergarten. That was a great convenience.
Jones Insurance opened in 1937. It is 85-years old, one of Milan’s oldest businesses.
The Kleinschmidts bought it in 1980 or ‘81. Don was the owner. Sarah was the office manager. I worked for Don for 21 years.
Don was all about taking care of customers and taking care of employees. When he decided to retire, he didn’t want to sell out to a big agency.
Over the years, people said things about me owning my own business someday. I didn’t think about it much. You don’t normally think you can do that. But when Don said, ‘Hey, would you like to buy the agency?’ and he had worked out a financial plan that worked for both of us; I bought the business.
That was four years ago, five years in January.
It is definitely important to me to be involved in the community. I was on the Chamber board for eight years. I am part of Rotary now and try to volunteer as much as I can.
I love being in the small town and having interactions with customers. I like being able to educate people about insurance.
People tend to shop more by price. They don't always know what they're getting. They just want what is cheaper than their last company. I think it is important to really try to educate people so they understand what all of the different coverages mean for them so they can make an informed decision.
We have customers from all over. We serve people in Milan and a lot of people that lived or worked here at one time. Maybe they have moved to Florida or up North but they still want to stay with us because they like the service.
We are old school when it comes to paperwork. We still have paper files. We tried to do the paperless thing but in the end it's nice having the paper files. We do both. We do have a lot of paperless technology.
Keeping paper files all these years came in handy when we had that storm last year. We were without power for a week. It was nice to be able to get into the files and find what we needed.
Since Don retired, it has just been the three of us—Kim, Connie and I. Kim just recently got her insurance license. So now, Kim and Connie are both agents.
Since I became the owner of the agency we adopted the motto; “Team Work Makes the Dream Work.”
The three of us really strive to make sure we work together to take care of our customers and each other!”
–Heather Gotts, Jones Insurance