Musty-Barnhart Insurance opening office in Ellsworth
With a number of connections to the Ellsworth community, Musty-Barnhart insurance agency is looking to take its relationship with the town further, opening an office at 167 W. Main St. in September.
It was a natural step for the company, owned by Dee Whipple and Bob Kubes, with both customers and employees in the town and the surrounding area.
"We wanted to basically put a brick up because we're already helping a lot of those people over there," said Whipple, a resident of the Ellsworth area herself.
Musty-Barnhart Agency is an independent insurance agency that represents about 15 different carriers in providing business and personal insurance as well as health and life benefits. They work to find solutions for small businesses, and are a resource for people who may not know how to shop for insurance.
"We listen to who you are and what you're about," Whipple said.
The Ellsworth location, which previously housed the Pierce County Food Pantry, will be the first Wisconsin office for the agency. It has three others, with its base in Red Wing as well as Lake City and Lutsen locations.
Kubes said they saw a need for their services in the area, and some residents had even asked them to open an office in town.
"We wanted to come in and serve the people of the community," Whipple said.
The agency has been around since the mid-1850s, and Kubes has been involved since 1991. Whipple joined him as an owner in 2008.
The agency might open one or two more offices, but they don't plan to get any bigger than that.
"Keep that small-town agency feel," Whipple said.
Kubes and Whipple agree the best part of the business is the people, those they serve, and especially those that work with them.
"We actually are like a family," Kubes said.
The environment in the office is different from the average expectation for an insurance agency.
"We have a lot of fun, but we take our jobs really seriously," Whipple said.
Their employees are always available to customers, even on nights, weekends and vacations, especially when it comes to claims. As local agents, Kubes and Whipple said they and their employees are able to be there for people when claims come up, even if it's in the middle of the night.
"That's what we do, that's a big difference," Kubes said.
Musty-Barnhart employees also volunteer, and work to make connections with the community.
"We have incredible people," Kubes said.
That connection to the community is something the agency supports as well. Every year, they office hosts a Toys for Tot drive open to the whole community. It also works with local high schools, with employees visiting classes to teach about insurance and hiring students for summer work.
"We're good servants to the community," Whipple said.
The Ellsworth office is set to open sometime around Sept. 15.