2017-08-10 / Front Page

Insuring a century

Area agency celebrating 100 years of business


Above, the State Savings Agency is shown in 1969. The agency remains in the same location today, though it has incurred updates throughout the years. At right, William L. Hentschell, Sr. seated, purchased the agency in 1962, Beverly A. Jahn, and R.G. Hentschell are shown standing. Below, from left, agent David Winkel, customer service representative Andrea McKeage, current owner Amy Braun and William Hentschell, Jr., owner from 1986-2010 are shown. 
Pioneer Tribune/Courtesy photos Above, the State Savings Agency is shown in 1969. The agency remains in the same location today, though it has incurred updates throughout the years. At right, William L. Hentschell, Sr. seated, purchased the agency in 1962, Beverly A. Jahn, and R.G. Hentschell are shown standing. Below, from left, agent David Winkel, customer service representative Andrea McKeage, current owner Amy Braun and William Hentschell, Jr., owner from 1986-2010 are shown. Pioneer Tribune/Courtesy photos MANISTIQUE – It’s been 100 years of insuring the residents of the area, and the Savings Agency has no plans to quit any time soon.

The agency got their start as a bankowned agency, operating in this capacity from 1917 until 1956. The initial staff included: William J. Shinar, agent; H.K. Bundy, agency manager; Beverly A. Jahn, agent.

R.G. Hentschell joined the agency in 1955 as an agent in 1955, and in 1956, the agency was incorporated as Savings Assurance Agency, Inc. Despite the incorporation, the agency remained in the bank building.

Elizabeth K. Smethurst worked as a licensed solicitor for the agency from 1957 until 1976.

William L. Hentschell,, Sr. purchased the agency in 1962. He dissolved the corporation and opened as the Savings Assurance Agency, while renting a building in Manistique. In 1969, a new building was constructed on South Cedar Street – the same location the agency resides today.

Hentschell, Sr. worked as a licensed agent from 1962 until 1983.

William Hentschell, Jr. joined the agency in the summer of 1974, starting out as an agent and later as a Certified Insurance Counselor.

The agency was again incorporated in 1976, this time as Savings Agency, Inc. Hentschell, Jr. and his wife, Diane, purchased the agency in 1986, working there until his retirement in 2010.

“My grandfather ran it (the agency) for the bank,” Hentschell explained. “Sometime in the 50s, legislation passed that banks couldn’t own insurance agencies anymore … so they had to remove it to another building.”

Hentschell Jr. explained that he had been away from Manistique for 10 years, serving in Vietnam at the time the Savings Agency constructed the building on South Cedar Street.

“I got out of the service and I went back to school,” he explained. “By that time, I knew I wanted to come back to town.”

After working nearly 10 years at the agency, Hentschell, Jr. said he learned that his father was seeking a buyer – an opportunity he eagerly welcomed.

According to Amy Braun, she began working for the agency in 2000, first working as an office assistant before moving into a full-time agent. She served in this position until 2010, when Hentschell, Jr. expressed a desire to retire from the business.

Braun said her fondness for the agency led her to step into Hentschell, Jr.’s role and purchase the agency.

“I really enjoy it – I love what I do and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else,” she said. “It’s just what I wanted.”

Hentschell, Jr. said he remembers an out-of-towner visiting his office one day to ask when the agency would be for sale.

“He walked out the door and Amy walked in, and she said that she wanted to know what her future was there,” he explained. “I remember that very well. That made me feel good, because I knew I had a prospect to buy it when I was ready to retire – so it went very smoothly.”

Since purchasing the agency, Braun said the community has continued their support and patronage.

“It is because of the community that this agency has been able to thrive in the Manistique area for 100 years,” she explained.

For more information on the Savings Agency, visit www.savingsagency.com.

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