Bloomington, IL,
06:50 AM

100 years ago a farmer disrupted the insurance industry

Small business owner State Farm agents can help you go after your entrepreneurial dreams

Picture this. You have an amazing idea – a BIG idea - but those around you aren’t seeing your vision.

Crushed, you toss the plans in the fireplace. But someone believes in you and rescues the dream from the ash heap, literally and figuratively.

Can you relate? In 1922, a small-town farmer found himself in this very situation.

When thinking about staple businesses in communities across the country – a few come to mind. But did you know there are more State Farm agent offices than:

  • McDonalds (13.7K)
  • CVS + Walgreens combined (19K)
  • The Kroger retailers + Walmart combined (7.6K)

It started with the seed of an idea

The small town farmer was G.J. Mecherle, from Merna, Illinois. He believed farmers were charged too much for insurance premiums and had a plan to level the field. After his wife saved his plans from the fireplace, G.J. disrupted the insurance industry in a major way. He followed his dream and started his own company – State Farm®.

Today, State Farm is the industry leader with a century of experience, financial strength and agents all across the U.S. That one seed grew into a Fortune 50 company with more than 19,000 agents helping communities, consumers and small businesses realize their dreams.

State Farm agents understand small business because they are small business

As small business owners in so many communities, State Farm agents know the passion needed to start your own business. And the grit and dedication needed to make it successful. They help business owners go after and protect their dreams. They provide not only insurance products and help planning for financial security, but in many cases help spark community engagement.

“As a small business owner myself, I can relate to their issues. I explain we’re more alike than different,” shares veteran State Farm Agent Buster Nelson, of Fredericksburg, Virginia. “We have similar challenges and rewards. It’s scary when you decide to go after your dream, when you first start out. I know a little guidance or help can go a long way.”

Going after your doughnut dreams

Agent Buster Nelson
Agent Buster Nelson celebrated National Doughnut Day by giving away doughnuts from a local bakery (a State Farm customer). Not just any doughnuts, but the crème de la crème limited edition red velvet doughnuts made especially for Buster and the lucky doughnut recipients!

“A bakery, and its owner, have been insured through my office since it opened 30 years ago,” Nelson said. “So we worked together on a mutually beneficial event.”

“On my Facebook page, I invited customers to come by the bakery to pick up a free red velvet doughnut,” he said. “State Farm red…get it😊?”

“When my team and I set up a table outside at 7 a.m., people were already lined up to go into the shop. We passed out doughnuts along with State Farm branded items and got more customers in the bakery doors for more sweets. Win, win, win.”

“Every few months, I buy gourmet popcorn from a local small business I insure. Then I stop by other businesses I work with and give them a bag of popcorn with a note that reads, ‘Just popping in to say hello.’ It’s a social call more than a business call, but again, it helps everyone out and lets them know I’m there for them when they need me.”

Since 2018, agents have given back $24.4M to the communities where they live and work through several State Farm philanthropic programs.

“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there®” is more than a slogan; it is who we are. You’ll see us supporting and attending local youth sports games, mentoring other entrepreneurs, sponsoring community events and more.

Restoring lives, rebuilding neighborhoods, renewing hope, investing in communities, advocating for consumer safety, and supporting education where we live and work is what being a 100-year good neighbor is all about.

"From doughnut shops to beverage distributors, from hair salons to warehouses, State Farm agents are perfectly suited to help small business owners protect their dreams, their livelihoods and their families,” said Chief Agency, Sales & Marketing Officer and former State Farm Agent Rand Harbert.

“Our founder would be proud of how his dream continues to unfold,” Harbert continued. “Today, we remain as committed to making life better for people as we were in 1922. This includes the millions of small business owners across the United States. We’ll keep finding new ways to honor that commitment and serve more customers as we begin our next 100 years.”

Small businesses thrive when they are supported by the community

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