Paul Shingledecker and his crew at Preferred Insurance Services, Inc. are settling into their ‘new digs’ at 130 West Michigan Avenue – the former Shoppers Guide building – in downtown Three Rivers.
They began operations in the new quarters on Monday, January 17th, a day that included a noon-time ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce and its Ambassador Committee.
The business – launched by Shingledecker on April 1, 1992 – had been located at 137 Portage Avenue.
During a post-ribbon-cutting interview with the River Country Journal, Shingledecker used the word “fantastic” in talking about being in the new office. He said, “We really had outgrown our prior space on Portage Avenue. We have hired a couple new people this year and so we really needed the additional space.” (Paul_Shingledecker audio_clip – :17)
Shingledecker indicated the project to remodel the building, which was started last February, was quite extensive and involved “pretty much everything – new walls, new paint, new ceilings, new everything, basically.” The historical exterior of the building has been retained, but the inside has been completely changed to meet the company’s needs.
The new office is 2,200 square feet, double the size of the Portage Avenue location.
Shingledecker utilized a ‘façade grant’ through the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority to re-do the building, assistance he said has “allowed us to do far more than we would have been able to do if we didn’t have that grant.”
Shingledecker said Preferred Insurance Services is an independent agency, which means that it works with multiple companies. He said, “We have 12 different companies – like Triple A, Nationwide Insurance, Michigan Millers, some local companies as well as some national companies, Liberty Mutual – many different companies and the idea is that we are able to keep people’s rates down because we can shop among our multiple companies.” And, he added, “We sell insurance for everything.”
Three Rivers is the headquarters for the company, but the business also has offices in Sturgis and Dowagiac. Shingledecker said, “We are predominantly a personal lines agency that caters to folks that aren’t looking for a voice mail, that aren’t looking for what the big city has, but want personal people to talk to, personal service to sit down with, so these medium size towns fit exactly what we’re trying to do because those are the people – that’s who we are.”
In keeping with the personal approach to its customers, the lobby of the new office in Three Rivers is being outfitted with photographs reflecting the communities in the company’s service area.
Shingledecker said the business has a total of 15 employees, including eight in the Three Rivers office.
A grand opening and ‘customer appreciation day’ will be staged in the spring.
The telephone number for Preferred Insurance Services is (269) 273-1597.
To hear the entire interview with Paul Shingledecker – recorded by Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal – click here (5:18 – 4.85 MB).
Editor’s Note: This posted was expanded slightly at 5:10 p.m. 1-24-11 to add the reference to the size of the new office relative to the previous location.