Andy Patton and Garry Elliott.jpg

Garry Elliott (right) is retiring after 37 years working in the insurance business. Andy Patton (left) purchased Barr Insurance, which Elliott owned for the previous 12 years.

WEST JEFFERSON — After nearly four decades working in the insurance business, Garry Elliott has decided that it’s time to retire. Elliott worked for a total of 37 years selling insurance and spent the last 12 years as the owner of Barr Insurance in Jefferson.

While Elliott may be moving on from the business, another local agency operated by Andy Patton decided to purchase the business so customers know that the business is still a locally owned product. Patton officially took over on April 1.

“Once I found out that Garry was contemplating retirement, he and I had some discussions over the last six months or so. Garry wanted to make sure his business went with somebody local and somebody that he knew would take care of it and his customers. That was very important to him, probably the most important thing to him as he approached retirement,” Patton said. “I think his customers are very happy that he was able to reach retirement and they are happy that they are going to be able to deal with somebody locally.”

Patton has spent nearly 25 years selling insurance in Ashe County as a Nationwide agent. Now, Patton operates the Andy Patton Agency as part of the Leavitt Group, an independent insurance company with locations in 26 states.

“We are still primarily a Nationwide agent, but we are also an independent agent as opposed to being just Nationwide. We merged our agency with the Leavitt Group and that group gives us access to all of the same carriers that Garry had, which is what made it possible for all of this to happen,” Patton explained. “We represent a lot of carriers just like other independent companies do and it has been a great partnership with Leavitt.”

The two office locations were consolidated into one office located at 425 E. 2nd Street in West Jefferson. Teresa Lemons, who has worked in Elliott’s office in Jefferson for almost a decade, is now working at Patton’s office.

“We welcome all of his customers to come and visit us at the new location. We will work hard to fill Garry’s shoes and provide them with the service that they are accustomed to,” Patton said.

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