Stephen Mills opened his Farmers Insurance agency at 121 W. Central Ave. in El Dorado on August 1, with a grand opening on August 24.
Mills bought an existing Farmers agency in town that was previously owned by Lisa Jack. Jack ran her agency in El Dorado for about 35 years. She's still an insurance agent, but not with Farmers anymore.
"I have nothing but good thoughts for her and hope she does well," Mills said.
Currently, Mills operates one of two Farmers agencies in El Dorado – the other being Jon Gull's.
"We're different agencies, but we're both Farmers. So we have a mutual respect for each other and both want to take care of our clients," Mills said.
Mills was approached in December 2016 about buying a Farmers agency. Having been Farmer's clients for many years, he and his wife Lindsay were pleased with the company's services and felt confident moving forward with the idea. Beforehand, Mills had spent about 17 years working in the automotive industry and a couple years launching marketplace websites.
Now, he is licensed across the board and runs a full-line agency.
"It's a great fit because I love working with people, and I love learning new things," Mills said.
Staffed by Kimberly Poe and Shelbie Storrer, his agency offers auto, home, life, commercial and pet insurance. They also plan on offering financial investment-based life insurance policies by the end of the year.
"Our goal is to be able to 100 percent serve any need you have," Mills said.
Mills wants to keep his clients' needs the top priority.
"That's number one for us. We're not going to do anything if it's not beneficial for our clients. You just have to live that way. You have to take care of their interests first," he said.
In the longterm, Mills hopes to grow his agency. He'd like to have a larger staff, have more clients and offer more services. Mills explained, however, that he wants to grow with clients and the community – not by raising premiums.
"[I want to] live ethically, empower people and to encourage my team to do that as well .... And if that happens, our business will be successful," Mills said.