Focus on Insurance
Local Agents Who know You
Tenth in a series of stories about local Waurika businesses. Shop local and invest your tax dollars where we live, work and play.
THE INSURANCE PLACE AGENCY
Jana Gandy and Garrett Moore own Insurance Place insurance agencies in Waurika, Ringling and Ardmore. Jana runs the agency in Ringling, Garrett runs the Ardmore location and Waurika resident, Tena Hobbs, manages the Waurika office. According to longtime employee, Sally Garrett, who retired in 2014, the agent was established in 1927 though the name has changed and the owners have changed through the years.
The Insurance Place Agency is an independent agency representing multiple insurance companies with different specialties. “Being independent allows us to search a variety of companies to find our customers the best coverage and potentially the lowest premiums,” Waurika manager, Tena Hobbs stated. “Not being tied to one company offers us flexibility and access to product lines that you might not find with other agencies.”
Kay Moore bought the existing Insurance Place Agency from Stan and Fred Richardson on May 1, 1993. Sally Garrett was the agent working in the office and had worked for the previous owner, Joe Chapman, as well. Kay had lived in Ringling most of her life. Her parents, Don and Vela Howard, were ranchers in the Ringling area for more than 50 years. After college, Kay taught school in Ringling for many years. She met and married Mike Moore who owned Moore Drug Store in Ringling for many years. Kay and Mike have four children, Mika, Bill, Jana and Julie.
Sally continued to run the Waurika office and Kay opened a one-person office in Ringling. “I learned everything about insurance from Sally,” Kay stated. Kay was a quick study and the Ringling office grew. According to Sally, “both offices grew quickly.”
Kay’s daughter, Jana, joined the organization in 2006. Several years ago, Kay’s Grandson, Garrett Moore, joined the company and opened a third location in Ardmore.
When Kay retired in May of 2019, Jana and Garrett took over ownership of all three locations.
In addition to Manager, Tena Hobbs, the Waurika office includes agent Amber Brown and bookkeeper JoAnn Knight. The Ringling office has agents Jenna Law and Wyli Ward, plus receptionists, Marlee Lyle and Marcella Ruiz. The Ardmore office includes agent Derrick Morgan.
“We all enjoy working with people we know and meeting new customers,” according to Tena Hobbs. “We enjoy helping our customers find the insurance that best meets their needs. All of our offices have very knowledgeable and friendly licensed agents and wonderful office staff to help our customers.”
“We are pleased to be a long-time member of the Waurika Chamber of Commerce and to participate in the Shop Local program,” Tena stated. “This community has been good to me and my family and I enjoy giving back whenever possible. I believe in treating customers like family and making everyone feel welcome in our agency.”
GERKEN INSURANCE AGENCY
Gary and Becky (Richardson) Gerken have owned the Gerken Insurance Agency for 32 years. Becky grew up in Waurika graduating from Waurika High School in 1966. While Gary was raised in Sumner, Oklahoma, a small community between Morrison and Perry, Oklahoma and graduated from Morrison High School, he has lived in Waurika for almost 50 years
“I have been in business in Jefferson and Cotton Counties for the past 49 years, selling new cars, insurance, Real Estate, expanded metal and thanks to Ronnie and Glen Dale Morgan, registered Beef Master bulls,” Gary stated.
When asked what makes his agency unique, Gary stated, “God and family come first in this agency. We are a one stop agency that strives for 100% customer service. We offer all insurance products that customers need at a competitive price. All customers are treated with respect and dignity in a friendly environment. All staff is fully licensed and have 23 years of combined insurance experience.”
Gary’s parents were farmers and ranchers and his dad went north with the harvest crew year cutting wheat. “I was the youngest of three siblings, but being the only boy, Mom and I had to do most of the work,” Gary explained. This work led to his love for farming and running a cattle operation.
“I was a sophomore in college when one of my classmates set me up on a blind date with Becky Richardson who was going to school at Oklahoma State University. We were married 6 months later, only 19 years old. I can still hear my dad say, ‘there is no way you will ever make it’ – that was 51 years ago,” Gary explained.
Gary graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing and the couple moved to Waurika. “Family has been an important factor in both my personal and business life. My father-in-law, Fred Richardson brought me here in 1970 to work for him at the Morgan-Richardson Motor Company. I later became partners with him in the business changing the name to Gerken-Richardson Motor Company. It was very much family-owned. We employed some of the finest people in our community,” Gary explained. “As “in-laws” Fred and I had a wonderful relationship. His primary goal was training me on how to operate a business and mine was training him on how to raise and work cattle. Putting them both together, we had a wonderful partnership.”
Becky and Gary have two children, Craig “Bird” Gerken and Michelle Hall. Craig is married to Mika Moore from Ringling and they have three children, MiKaylyn, Gage and Matlyn. Michelle has two children, Hope and Kenedi. In fact, it was Bird’s dental school that brought Gary to the insurance industry. “In 1987, I needed additional income to support Bird’s dental school expenses and I went to work selling insurance for Farmers Insurance Group. At that time, you could buy a new car, insure it and tag it all without leaving the dealership,” Gary explained. “Carol Bruton and Jeanne Day were the tag agents.”
Becky’s brother, Stan, was also an insurance agent in Waurika. He owned the agency that is now The Insurance Place before selling it to Kay Howard Moore in 1991. Kay Moore’s daughter is married to Gary and Becky son, Craig. Insurance has been in the Gerken and Richardson families for a very long time.
“I have been a proud member of the Waurika Chamber of Commerce for 49 years, having also served as our local Chamber president during that time,” Gary stated. “The Chamber of Commerce is the nucleus of business life in any city, large or small, so being a member offers many benefits. The Chamber keeps business owners informed on important and ever-changing issues within their community. I feel the Chamber is the connecting force between business and its local community and marketplace.”
“A major part of a small business comes from business to business services,” Gary continued. “That is why being an active part of the local Chamber of Commerce is important to me and essential in stimulating this type of business-to-business commerce.”
“I have been blessed to work with employees and doing business with some of the finest people on earth. I look forward now to operating an agency in Waurika that I started from scratch 32 years ago. I still have a copy of my first check from Farmers Insurance for $37.00. My first customer was Carol Stout,” Gary stated. “I believe that working hard and following God’s plan can make anyone successful.”
Notes: This story is part of series on Waurika businesses sponsored by the Waurika Chamber of Commerce and its Shop Local Waurika Program. We will add stories periodically and we hope you enjoy them. To read more stories like it go to www.waurikachamber.com/shop-local-stories and find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WaurikaChamber/.