A lot can happen in 20 years...
2002 feels both like it was just yesterday and also a lifetime ago. To give you a better sense of that, here are some things that happened in 2002:
- The first Spider-Man film staring Tobey Maguire was released in theaters.
- Lilo & Stitch made its debut.
- Kelly Clarkson won the FIRST season of American Idol.
- Kmart filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
- President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October.
- The first cell phone to have a built in camera was released Sanyo SCP-5300 (it would take another 5 years for the iPhone to be introduced to the world!).
- Dennis and Betsy started Mizrahi and Garris Insurance Agency!
Thank YOU for Trusting Us!
We would not be here without our wonderful clients, so our first THANK YOU is to each and every one of you! Our largest growth and referral source has always come by word of mouth from our current clients. We think that is HUGE! It shows that not only do our clients trust us with their needs, they also trust us to help their family, their friends, and their neighbors.
To our special referral sources (many of whom are also clients) - realtors, mortgage brokers, loan officers, financial advisors - THANK YOU for trusting us with your clients and recommending our knowledge and expertise to them!
Your confidence in us has allowed us to flourish to new heights. It keeps us engaged in continuing education, current news and trends, and future plans on how we can best serve our clients. We look forward to guiding you for many, many more years to come.
Our work family: Crystal, Carla, Bri, and Liz - have all given years of dedicated excellence to our clients. Dennis and Betsy, we are beyond grateful for your leadership, insight, and being with us daily in the trenches as the insurance industry gets tough. We all could not ask for a better team to be part of!
Words from Dennis
Starting our agency was SCARY, yet exciting all the same. I had been working at Liberty Mutual having just learned the intricacies of the insurance industry and felt it was a good opportunity to start my own agency. Being the grandson of an INCREDIBLE Grandfather and mentor named Ralph Mizrahi, it was “in my blood” with my entrepreneurial energy. When my grandfather passed away, it truly hit me. Our second daughter had just been born, Betsy was downsized from a large corporation, and my mother-in-law, Alo Garris, was also “downsized” by a HUGE corporation around the same time. It just felt it was a great window to go out on my own.
I spent about a week thinking about it and came up with an internal 45-minute message to explain to Betsy how great of an opportunity I thought we had. About 5 minutes into my conversation with her, she said “Let’s do it!” I hesitated for a few seconds, feeling like I had so much more to explain. When I tried to, she cut me off and continued to advise that she was ALL IN. We both had the vision and goal that “Failure is not an option.” We never looked back.
It was very difficult living on credit cards and a small savings during the first 3 to 5 years. I will never forget going through the grocery, being denied with my debit card, and calling Betsy asking her which card to use. It was very difficult with two young children, but we were dually committed to make this agency work.
When things started opening up for us, we hired several individuals. Some stayed, some left, but after many years of building our current team, I look back and see how we have impacted so many lives. We try to live our lives honestly with high morals and integrity. We have shared this passion with our team, and it absolutely thrills me to see that everyone who works for Mizrahi & Garris owns a home. That’s huge! I feel Betsy and I truly give back to society and try to make this world a better place. That’s been my personal goal since the day I entered the insurance industry and continues to be my passion.
Words from Betsy
20 years ago...WOW!!
In September 2002, I was 33 and Dennis was 32. Our daughters, Rachel and Evelyn were 6 years old and 10 months old respectively. Even though both Dennis and I had business degrees, neither of us had ever run a business and we only had a small savings to get us through the first year. It was very much like jumping off a cliff for us.
In the beginning, my role was gathering information and returning phone calls, while Dennis wrote the insurance policies. Back then, everything was on paper and notes were taken inside the clients file folder. We worked out of a shared 450 sq. ft. office space for the first year, then moved to a 2 room office the next year, and a 3 room office the year after.
In looking back at how I have grown, I would say that, in the beginning, customer service was VERY difficult for me. I tend to “feel” what my client is feeling, and I had difficulty channeling those emotions. Now, I am able to empathize with our clients while at the same time helping them to find resolutions to their issue(s) in a way that is healthy for both of us. I TRULY ENJOY talking with and helping our clients!
I am not proud person, but I am VERY proud of the fact that this agency supports 5 families! Dennis and I are the original owners, but we would like you to know that WE are here every day working alongside our work family, Crystal, Liz, Carla and Bri. If you ever have to leave a message with our busy agency, I apologize in advance for not being able to take your call immediately. We take much time with each client, and just like it was 20 years ago, you will most likely hear back from me, the message checker!!
Protecting Our Clients is Priority!
From Dennis: My favorite memories have definitely been the conversations with our longest clients thanking us for taking care of them all these years. It’s just so wonderful to have a positive impact on everyone who truly understands what we try to do. It’s not about “selling” a policy.
To me, insurance is about being involved, educating my client, and advising and insuring them the same way I would want to be advised and insured. There is so much dishonesty and a lack of trust in so many facets of society. I feel we have been truthful to our clients, carriers, and ourselves through this entire history and nothing will change that. That’s my fondest feeling I get when looking back all these years of PROTECTING our clients.