Owens Insurance Agency wins state small business award

Published on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Owens Insurance Agency of Greer has been awarded the US Small Business Administration 2014 South Carolina Small Office/Home Office of the year.

The awarded is presented to a small business with 15 or fewer employees that has demonstrated outstanding growth, innovation, and community involvement. This is the first year that the award has been presented.

Greer native Don Owens founded Owens Insurance Agency (OIA) in 1952 as a small main street agency providing home and auto insurance to Greer area residents. In 1993, Don’s son, Riley, bought the agency and began to offer business owners of the Upstate another source for their commercial insurance needs.

Current owners, Chris Crist and Shane Lynn, took the foundation that Don and Riley had laid and began from day one to find innovative ways to reach new markets, expand their footprint, and not lose site of their local roots and strong customer service. “Don and Riley encouraged us to be active in the community and to give back to our community,” said Crist.

Both Crist and Lynn coach different youth sports teams in the area. They are involved in the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, Greer Community Ministries, local schools and churches, and encourage their teammates at Owens to do the same.

“While they may have won the small office/home office award, there is nothing small about what they do,” said Allen Smith, President/CEO of the Greer Chamber.  “In fact, they are a major player in the insurance industry and a major player in all things Greer.  Shane and Chris understand that as the community goes so goes their business.”

The agency is also licensed in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee. and continue to expand to other regions of the country.

“(Lynn and Christ) and their company are true assets not only to the Upstate, but to our entire state,” said Elliott Cooper, district director of the SBA S.C. District Office.

The SBA will honor all 2014 award winners during the annual Salute to Small Business event on Wednesday May 7, in Columbia.






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