During an internship his senior year of college, Dustin Booth had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of an insurance agent who was fully invested in their community. It was in the little moments of seeing clients during happy times like purchasing their first home, along with getting to help during the hard times, that influenced his decision to make insurance his career.
A Missouri native, Booth’s early insurance days were spent as a sales leader for a Kansas City agency and as a consultant on the corporate side of State Farm in Overland Park. Booth enjoyed the variety of products offered by State Farm, encouraging his choice to join the company long term. In addition to home and auto insurance, State Farm offers other services such as life insurance, disability and competitive banking products. And since State Farm strives to center around the communities they serve, being part of the company would allow Booth to go “all in” and give back in tremendous ways. “We’re in the business of people, helping and taking care of them,” says Booth. “We just happen to do that through State Farm’s offerings.”
When it came time to open his own agency, the Booth and his family knew exactly the type of town where they wanted to live -somewhere that defined a true community. Taking pride in where you live, great involvement around town, reputable schools, and a reasonable distance to their families in Missouri were the key factors in their search for a location. Van Buren checked off every need on the list and the agency officially opened in January 2013.
Starting a business is an encompassing and overwhelming process alone, but with the addition of doing so in a brand-new town, Booth knew he would need to get involved and quickly meet people. The first thing he did was join the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce and began attending events such as Business After Hours. He says, “From the beginning, I knew that would be how I wanted to grow this business -by being known for giving back to the community and being heavily involved. I was able to make connections through the Chamber that opened doors for me to give back to the schools and we also began a business connection group with other area business leaders and owners.”
But a successful agency in today’s world isn’t something that can be accomplished alone, which Booth humbly acknowledges. With a team that now includes nine employees, Booth is the first to admit it’s the heart of the team that brings the most pride. Looking back, he loves where the agency is today. In 2013, he needed to fill every role whereas now he can empower the team to provide in specialized areas, allowing clients more confidence in the agent serving them. Today he’s more of a coach and with the growth in staff and technology, the agency is able to aid clients quicker and more efficiently than in years past. The leadership role also allows passion for serving the community to be passed along to his staff. Office Manager Michelle Robinson volunteers in many capacities outside the office. “Being able to be in the community,” she notes, “people do see you and know that yes, you work at the agency but that also you care about and are connected in the city. Through our work and passion to help, we’re able to be more so rooted in Van Buren and building those relationships. And if people are interested in your services, they’ll contact you. Dustin allows us to pursue volunteerism and not only does it fulfill our passions but provides a healthy workplace and gives us joy in coming to work each day.”
“We take pride in the footprint we have been able to make in Van Buren the last seven years,” confirms Booth. “None of that would be possible without the teams we’ve had in this office taking responsibility of not just wanting to better themselves but wanting to better this place we call home. We want to truly help our customers and know that with doing it well comes the recognition and rewards. Plus, we have the greatest customers. Their loyalty and partnership with our agents push us daily to worker harder for them, and we’re very thankful for each client we represent.” And the Dustin Booth State Farm Agency has certainly been rewarded for their work. They have earned the Times Record “Best of the Best” top choice for insurance in 2018 and 2019, consistently make the top 2% of agencies out of over 20,000 in the country and have qualified as a State Farm Ambassador Club recipient every year since opening.
But Booth’s greatest reward came last November in the form of a tiny, 5-pound package when he and wife Anna welcomed their first child, Easton. When asked who is someone that impacted your life, most people will answer about a parent or teacher/coach influencing their path. Dustin agreeably looks back and believes his father to be that role model for him, understanding that now as a father himself, he has become Easton’s role model. “Easton is such a good force for me. He provides the positive energy I need to work on my goals personally, professionally and spiritually to be that role model he deserves,” says Booth.
On his reasons for maintaining a membership with the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce, Booth explains, “The Chamber is all about helping me be the best small business owner possible. It allows our team to be in leadership positions (such as Michelle Robinson’s role as an Ambassador) and many of our staff attend classes and training sessions provided by the Chamber. Events have given me many connections and allowed me to build lasting relationships. A Chamber membership is like a gym membership; everyone can join but you cannot pay the membership and expect things to magically happen. But if you go and workout week after week, you’re going to see results. It’s the same at the Chamber – if you are willing to commit and give back, you will not be able to put a price on what the Chamber does for you and your business.”
“We could spend all our time in our offices hoping people will come by, but I don’t believe that is what works in Van Buren,” finishes Booth. “I think locally, what you do for the community matters, and a handshake goes a long way.”
The best way to reach Dustin Booth State Farm is by calling or texting them at 479-262-2781, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook, or by visiting in person at 1612 N. 7th Street, Suite D, in Van Buren.