Monday, December 09, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Stan Schmidt will celebrate 50 years in the insurance business Friday. He opened his office Nov. 1, 1963.
October 29, 2013
DALLAS -- There may only be one subject Stan Schmidt, the owner of Stan Schmidt State Farm Insurance Agency in Dallas, knows better than insurance. That would be model trains, a favorite hobby of his since he was 15 years old.
However, Friday, Schmidt is celebrating 50 years in business in what was perhaps an unexpected career.
"Over time you just work hard and you try to take care of people," Schmidt said of running his agency for five decades this November. "You tell the truth."
He didn't always intend to be an insurance agent, though.
Before opening his office in 1963, he had lived in California working in retail music and playing guitar in a band. After several years at the "university of hard knocks," as Schmidt puts it, the Willamina High School graduate returned to Polk County in 1961.
He was encouraged by a friend who owned an agency to look into insurance, so Schmidt took his advise and attended State Farm's company school.
"They (State Farm) wanted to find an agent in Dallas," Schmidt said. "I kept referring them to other people, but they kept coming back to me, saying `What about you?'"
Eventually, Schmidt said "yes."
Schmidt opened his office on Main Street in downtown Dallas where American Title is today. A year later, he moved to the corner of Academy and Church streets, where the office remains to this day.
He tore down the original building and rebuilt his office in 1978. The agency employs three licensed agents now.
Schmidt said as he no longer needs to come into the office every day, he doesn't feel pressure to retire yet.
"I'm well over retirement age in some people's opinion," he said. "I'm probably one of the oldest agents in Oregon."
That longevity may have something to do with the community in which he built his business.
"It still has a small-town feel," he said of the Dallas area. "You are not in a metropolitan area. I see a lot of my policy holders in the store and the restaurants. I communicate with them more than the big-town agencies. We try to keep in touch with them on a regular basis.
"It's a career that if you are interested in people, it's great," he added.