Smith, Peabody, Stiles: Celebrating 95 Years

  • By Chelsea Mills
  • 23 Feb, 2015

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The leaves on the family tree may have changed, but the roots are still the same. Since 1919, these three families have had roots in the Flint, Fenton, Linden, and Holly communities. Stiles Insurance was founded then by D. R. Stiles, who passed the leadership position on to his son, Edison, in 1955, and then to Edison’s son, Jeri, in 1972. “The competition started [back in] 1934 with the late Ray Hunt, [whose company was] just two doors down from my grandfather, D. R. Stiles and his business, Stiles Insurance,” Jeri Stiles explains.

Ray Hunt started his insurance business in his home, calling it Hunt Insurance, sometime during the depression in 1934, with only two employees. Then in 1961, Jim Smith came to Fenton from the Flint area, met with Hunt, and they decided to merge their companies, forming the Hunt-Smith Agency, Inc. And Smith now has a whole philosophy built around what he does. “Life is made up of liabilities and goals from birth to death,” he says. “The service which my companies provided was all-encompassing – and that is very exciting,” he adds. The part that excited Jim Smith back then is still the part that excites his son-in-law, Jim Peabody, who joined
the insurance business with his father-in-law in 1991, forming Hunt-Smith-Peabody Insurance. They strive to cement a common bond with their customers in order to do business – and finding the right coverage to really help their clients has led them to become lifelong friends as a result.

In 1998, Smith Peabody and Stiles decided to merge together into one agency to better serve their customers. It was at this time that the name Hunt was dropped from the business’ title and Smith-Peabody-Stiles Insurance was born. Brown & Brown purchased Smith-Peabody-Stiles in 2008, and after a couple of years, Jim Peabody decided to step away from the insurance industry. But he didn’t stay away for long – he and his wife, Patty, opened up Peabody Insurance Agency in Holly by purchasing the Addis Insurance Agency, which had local roots dating back to 1921. The husband and wife team missed being in business and the excitement that comes from meeting new people and helping customers with their insurance needs. Thus, the focus of the Peabody Insurance business model is to help their clients reduce risk, which then allows them to save money in the long term.

“Our specialty is in helping clients identify the types of risk they are facing and what areas of operation are most exposed to risk through our unique four-step system, the Risk Reduction Process. We are now able to identify exposures and implement strategies which provide our clients a way to lower their total cost of risk while protecting their balance sheets,” Peabody explains, adding that “by reducing risk, clients may be able to lower their premiums and thereby increase profitability.” He goes on to detail some of the benefits he can offer. “We provide our clients with added value and service, as well as experience and industry knowledge. This ability is amplified by the tools Peabody Insurance utilizes, such as the Risk Reduction Toolbox and the [aforementioned] Risk Reduction Process. These tools give our clients a map of how to become more profitable, and the agents at Peabody Insurance provide the experience and knowledge that is needed to get there,” he says. This process has proven to be very beneficial for many of their customers, some of whom have discovered that they had not been properly insured in the past. “If someone is curious to see how we compare to [his or her] current provide, we are happy to provide a free premium price quote,” Peabody states. “We’ve helped over 3,000 companies reduce their overall cost of risk through our trademarked Risk Reduction Approach.”

As many things do, these three families have come full circle again, and the Peabody’s are happy to announce that Jeri Stiles is back in their office with Stiles Tax Service. Peabody Insurance Agency is a full-service, independent agency specializing in home, auto, life, and commercial business insurance.

FENTON: (810) 629-1504 | HOLLY: (248) 634-7731

Around The Town with Chelsea

By chelseajaie 20 Oct, 2017
Did you know………Every year, 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. ( )
From 2000 through the first half of 2016, more than 600 people were killed in 213 active shooter events identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Unfortunately, this hits even closer to home. In 2016 two young women were fatally shot while at work in Genesee County. This seminar has been in the making since that terrible tragedy last year, unfortunately in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy, this topic is all too relevant today.  
On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Behind Your Design will be hosting a seminar on Workplace Violence Safety. Please see the attached link and flyer to sign up. RSVP is necessary as seating is limited.
By chelseajaie 03 Oct, 2017

A t Bella Vita, exceeding the expectations of the residents is simply the beginning. Having a quality life in our later years is the least we all should expect. Bella Vita is committed to providing an environment that allows one to feel independent, with the assistance of its highly trained care group.  

By chelseajaie 02 Oct, 2017

Today family businesses have a competitive edge that could hardly be anticipated. As millennials continue to take up over one third of the workforce, many of these individuals are looking for more out of a career than a paycheck. In this new arena, family businesses have an edge in building a sustainable footprint because of the personal connection between the family and the community they serve. 

A textbook example of this is Peabody Insurance Agency, a company with a history of serving the community since 1919. In the last year Peabody Insurance has grown the team to include two new family hires, Grace and Brandon, and has completely remodeled its office.

“In order to thrive in today’s competitive environment, I believe it’s important for businesses to give the next generation a voice in how we should work and serve our customers,” explains Jim Peabody, partner of Peabody Insurance in Fenton. “Our team has developed a culture of collaboration, where insurance knowledge is fused with new ideas, processes and tools.”

Peabody Insurance is now one of the most capable independent agencies in the state, with the development of an interactive safety app, DocuSign, virtual meetings and a client portal. “Many of our features have the goal of saving our clients time and money. Customers have the ability to choose how they want to do business with us,” Jo Schofield, account executive, explains, “and our customers enjoy supporting local businesses because they know those dollars are going right back into their hometown.” 

By chelseajaie 29 Sep, 2017
Written by: Andrea Kehoe
By chelseajaie 23 Aug, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new responsive website for Image Flow Media. Image Flow is a full service commercial production company serving the metro Detroit Area. They are constantly pushing themselves, their equipment and their approach to the edge. Image Flow is a solutions-oriented team with a proven ability to get things done while managing multiple projects. They're experienced, passionate, motion graphics artists and video editors, looking to continue expanding their knowledge in all areas of production. 

 To see example of their work please click here  . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.

By chelseajaie 09 Aug, 2017

Starting a new business? Looking to give your current logo a 'refresh'? It can be easy to just think  'I need a logo!'  - what you are saying is that you want a graphic representation of your business to use on your marketing materials. What you  need however is a memorable overall ' brand' that will attract customers to your business. Luckily, at Behind Your Design, we can help you with all your needs, even the ones you don't know yet.

How do I create a brand? 

It's important to know your brand values and aspirations. Basically, your WHY? What made you start your business in the first place? What problem are you solving and what are your passions? Long term, where do you want to be in 2, 5, 10 years? The answers to those questions are the core of your brand. We want to give you the tools you need to reach your greatest potential.

Next, we'll work on the personality of your brand. What will your brand look like? Sound, feel, act like? Knowing your business' personality allows it to shine through everything we do. It also helps narrow down your target customer and decide how your business will interact with them. Appealing to a certain audience makes marketing efforts meaningful and effective.

Consistency is key. We work together to create an entire brand concept and easy guidelines to follow. Colors, fonts, patterns... Anything to make your look consistent will be part of your brand. Then, we use those elements across all platforms (website, social media, business cards, etc) to ensure your voice, mission and design flow fluidly and works together.

Once you've created this brand, it's time to go beyond that and uphold the reputation. Your customers have to truly believe in your brand, just like you do, and will, in turn, become loyal advocates of your business. Not only will they stay local to you but they'll also recommend you to others.

Your business is so much more than just a logo. We believe building a solid brand can become a company's greatest asset, so we cover every step:

  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Email Marketing
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Mobile App Design
  • Trade Show Booth Design
  • Custom Photo Gifts
  • Speaking Engagements
To view our design portfolio, click here.

By chelseajaie 25 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce the launch of JDLab's new responsive website and logo design. JDLab is a family owned business dedicated to delivering high quality work in every department. Founder J.D. Hicks’ goals in 1950 remain their goals today:  "Provide every professional photographer with the highest standard of quality and service, and to work as partners to help studios grow as successful businesses."   To learn more about what JDLab can do for you please click   here . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.
By chelseajaie 18 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce that we have created a new logo for Wayne Contracting Services, LLC. Wayne Contracting Services, LLC is a licensed and insured construction company providing a variety of construction and remodeling services to SE Michigan. Give them a call for all your contracting and remodeling needs! If you are in need of a new logo contact us at  Behind Your Design   today to get started!

By Chelsea Mills 18 Jul, 2017
Join the growing team at Behind Your Design at 100 S. Adelaide St. in Fenton, Michigan!

- 40 Hours A Week (Mon-Fri - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM with working lunch)
- Paid Holidays
- Opportunity for 401k Retirement Matching
- Must be able to multi-task, delegate and prioritize jobs that come in
- Must be able to track time spent on projects
- Responsible for ordering from vendors
- Responsible for managing multiple tasks and keeping jobs moving forward by following up with clients and our designers
- Friendly pleasant personality
- Responsible to answer phones, greet customers, take messages and packages
- Team environment
- Time Management and Organizational Skills
- Matching expenses/orders with client billing
- Approximately 25% of the job will be coordinating photo booth jobs including contracts, graphics, staff, programming booths, posting photos, burning DVD’s and communicating with clients.

Technical skills needed, but not required to apply, we would train qualified applicants:
- HTML Email Blasts (Constant Contact, MailChimp)
- Website Building
- Basic Photoshop Skills
- Professional Email Skills
- Word, Excel
- Asana Task Management System
- Social Media Posting
- QuickBooks

Click Here to Apply

By Chelsea Mills 11 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new website for Bennett Communication Solutions. Bennett Communication Solutions is a local family company that opened its doors in 1945. They provide telephone answering services, remote receptionist services, voice mail, and other services to meet the needs of their business customers. While they maybe local they have clients nationwide. Their clientele includes health care services, property management and real estate, contractors and of course business professions. To learn more about their services please click here . Contact us at  Behind Your Design  to help you design your next website.
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