Edward Davis, founder of the Davis Insurance Co., started in the insurance business in 1927 out of his home at 155 Palmer Avenue, Colon, Michigan. At the time, Ed sold house wares out of an old horse drawn buckboard to the people in Colon and surrounding area. As he built up his clientele, he began to also sell insurance. In 1933, the agency became licensed to sell insurance for Auto Owners Insurance, and began a continuous relationship which we still enjoy to this day. In March of 2008, we celebrated our 75th anniversary with Auto Owners and were recognized as one of the few agencies with such a long-lasting relationship.
In 1945, Ed’s son Jerry Davis left his employment with Dupont Chemical Co. in Kansas to move back to Michigan to help his aging father with the business. They moved the office from Ed’s house to the 2nd floor of the building located on the corner of East State Street and South Swan Street in Colon, above the old A& P Grocery Store. Getting a phone in those days was no easy task; so for the first year or so they would have to go downstairs to use the phone at the entrance of the stairs. Even more interesting was that at that time all phones were party lines.
In 1952, they moved the office again. This time it was a short move downstairs to the first floor next to the grocery store; renting the space owned by Earl Ware. This made it much easier for people to stop in with out having to take the stairs to the 2nd floor offices. In those days there were no computers, faxes, or copiers. Everything was either done hand, typed, or mimeograph. If you wanted multiple copies, sheets of carbon paper were used.
The insurance business kept growing and around this time they also took on real estate sales and added a new producer, Robert Van Deventer. Lola Wattles was a full time office staff member and Jerry Davis was the broker. Roger Davis, the son of Jerry Davis, came on board as a producer in 1961. Existing as mere renters of the building started to become a problem as there was no central heating system, just a space heater, and it was decided that the agency would make a move. Jerry purchased a vacant lot on North Blackstone Avenue and built a cute “A Frame” building out of which the agency would operate for several years.
Jerry Davis retired in 1969 and hired Robert Van Deventer’s son, Chuck Van Deventer, as a producer with Jerry’s son, Mike Davis, following in September 1970. The year 1973 brought more changes as Robert Van Deventer and Lola Wattles retired. Not long after, in 1975, Chuck Van Deventer left to buy his own agency.
The year 1985 also brought major changes, as Roger and Mike Davis purchased the old Markum Funeral Home at 333 South Blackstone for new office space. A total gutting was needed to get the building in a condition to handle the new office operation with wiring for computers, fax machines, copiers, and phone systems. A new cement parking lot was installed that accommodates eight cars where the old barn used to be located. New furniture was purchased, computers were installed, and we were ready to go to work in February of 1986.
In 1995, Roger Davis retired and Mike & Sandy Davis became the sole owners. In January of 2006, Mike’s son, Tadd Davis, joined the agency. In January of 2009, Mike and Sandy Davis sold the agency to Tadd. He is now proud to be the fourth generation of the Davis family to own and operate the agency in Colon.