By Mike Scott
Another long-time Clark County business is about the change hands.
Huffman Insurance was started in 1971, when Robert Huffman moved his family to Kahoka. Robert Huffman came to Kahoka to manage Clark Mutual Insurance, and at the same time, bought the Bricker Insurance Agency from Charley Bricker, and changed the name to Huffman Insurance Agency.
The current owner, John Huffman, was 14 years old at the time. John, a 1979 University of Missouri grad, took over the business in 1996 or 1997.
“A lot of people don’t know there are actually two businesses here,” John said. “Clark Mutual Insurance is one of the oldest businesses in the county. It is managed by a local board of directors. It started in 1881, and we’re in our 140th year. It was started by a group of people who couldn’t get insurance. Nobody wanted to insure property out here.”
At almost 65 years old, John had been thinking about a succession plan for his business. He knew his sons, Ryan and Kellen, were not interested in following in his business footsteps.
Earlier this year, fortune smiled on the situation.
“Mandy came in for an insurance quote,” John said. “She asked me what I planned to do when I was ready to retire, and I told her that I’d like to sell the business. She said I’d like to talk to you about it.”
‘Mandy’ is Amanda Ross, who has spent the past six years as Deputy Circuit Clerk, and 13 years before that as an internal auditor at Peoples Bank.
Ross grew up on a farm near Berwick, Illinois, about 30 miles north of Macomb. She and her twin sister helped on her parents farm.
“I really enjoyed the farming aspect of growing up,” Mandy said. “I ended up going to Western Illinois University, got my finance degree there, met my husband there, and came back to this community.”
She was hired by Brett Brewer, and worked in his insurance office. Next, she took a few years as a stay-at-home mom, before returning to the workforce.
“As my kids got older, I decided I needed something for myself. Out of the blue one day, I asked John what his plans were,” she said.
“We met, and had some talks, and the ball started rolling,” said Mandy.
“It felt like a good fit,” said John. “The board wanted someone local, and they were very happy with her.”
“And I didn’t want to work out of town,” Mandy added.
Mandy didn’t tell her family, other than her husband, Kevin, until after the Clark Mutual Board had interviewed her and agreed to hire her as a the manager.
“They were surprised,” she said.
Though she has already passed her license exams, Mandy is still learning from John every day.
On September 1, Mandy will take ownership of Huffman Insurance. The new agency’s name will be Amanda Ross Insurance, LLC.
Mandy will take over as the manager of Clark Mutual Insurance following the annual board meeting in January, 2022.
“I’m blessed that I get to do it,” added Mandy.
John plans to stick around as an advisor for as long as necessary. He and his wife, Nancy, plan to travel more and spend more time with their grandchildren.
Mandy and her husband, Kevin, have four children, Karlee, who is married to Cyrus Phillips, along with Jade, Hope and Kole.
John wanted to add one more thing.
“There are two questions I’ve been getting. No, I’m not selling Papa’s Pizza, and no, we’re not leaving town,”