An era came to an end earlier this month in Scottsboro. Blake Wright sold his All-State Insurance Agency, ending 56 years his family has served the community.
Don Wright, Blake’s father, brought All-State to the city in 1964.
“I knew what I was going to do when I was 12 years old,” said Don.
Don started in Huntsville before moving to Scottsboro, the place he wanted to be, becoming the first All-State agent in Jackson County.
“It was good to me,” remembers Don. “I learned you put the customers first. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
Around 2002, Don began talking to Blake about taking over the business. A 1982 graduate of Scottsboro High School, Blake finished at Jacksonville State University with a finance and marketing degree.
Don wanted his son to take over the business after college. However, Blake told his dad he needed to find his own way first. And so, Blake went into the corporate world. He spent four years at Shaw Industries as regional credit manager. Then it was eight years at Martin Industries, in Florence, as director of corporate finance before becoming vice president of finance for Bruno’s Supermarkets in Hoover.
Blake listened to his father and came home to take over the family business on April 1, 2004.
“I knew it was a great community to raise a family,” said Blake. “It was an opportunity to work for myself and have more control.”
Through the years, Blake built on what his father started, winning several state and regional Agency Achievement awards.
“It’s all about relationships,” said Blake. “I grew to love it, love helping people. The relationships feel like family.”
There were sacrifices at home.
“The job requires a lot of time,” said Blake. “There’s calls at night and on the weekends.”
He credits his wife, Kathy, for always keeping it together. And his boys, Jake, Evans and Hunter for growing up to understand.
“My family sacrificed at times,” said Blake.
There were challenging times, like the Gravity Wave in 2009.
“I left the house that morning at 5:30 a.m.,” said Blake. “I saw my first customer at 6 a.m. I probably saw 600-700 customers.”
Blake spent the next four weeks, going house to house.
“Checking on people,” he added.
On April 1, 16 years after he began, Blake sold his agency to Heath Lokey, an Albertville native.
“Customers will continue to get good service,” said Blake.
Blake said when he began the process of selling the business, it was important to find someone who would have the same passion and values to help people, and also have integrity, dedication, trustworthiness and a desire to make the community better.
“Heath embodies that combination,” said Blake. “I feel he is the best person to help protect your family.”
Don said the agency was built on service and taking care of customers.
“It’s been fun,” added Blake. “Dad said you will either love this job or hate it. I understood.”
Blake and Don said they wanted to thank all their customers for their support and loyalty over the past 56 years.
“Whether it has been many years or just a few months, we are so blessed and thankful you have been a part of our agency family,” said Blake.
Blake said he is not retiring, just taking a different path.
“I’m ready for new challenges,” he said. “I’m very comfortable with it. I’m happy with it.”