The implementation of technology and expansion of the agency in the previous decade brought the agency to a new height. We were one of the first independent agencies to have a website. At that time a website was a big deal and expensive.
The Biscuits started in 2004 and our office, which we remodeled in 2006, was a part of a downtown transformation.
In 2007 when the stock market plunged and the recession hit its hardest, Starke like most of our clients (especially contractors) were not immune to the economic impact it had.
The silver lining was our personal lines department which was growing rapidly and produced a steady stream of income. We never downsized, continued to give our employees raises and maintained our confidence.
In 2008 we began a new branding effort to focus on social media, new websites, new designs, and new content. We have had an in-house Brand Manager for over 11 years. Again, aiming our focus on cutting-edge technology.
It wouldn’t be long until “Starke”, our new personal lines brand was born. Since The Starke Agency, Inc. was most known for commercial lines and bonds, it felt right to rebrand our Personal Lines (home, auto, and life) to, well, make it more personal.
The Life Agency began to become a fruitful part of the agency’s earnings. The emphasis had been primarily life insurance but was moving towards a balance of group benefits and voluntary products.
Our employee count doubled from 10 to 20 with the previous decades’ mergers. Cindy Howton, Vice President of Operations, and Kyle Drumwright received equity positions based upon performance. We have a stock incentive plan to perpetuate the agency and allow key employees to have ownership.
We lost valuable members of the team as Larry Elliot and Ruth Blazer retired after many years of service.