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Owens Insurance is recipient of 2013 Small Business of Year

Chris Christ, Shane Lynn say award comes at pivotal time

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, June 21, 2013

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Chris Christ and Shane Lynn, owners of Owens Insurance, were recognized as 2013 Small Business of the Year Thursday night by the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce.

Jim Fair

Chris Christ and Shane Lynn, owners of Owens Insurance, were recognized as 2013 Small Business of the Year Thursday night by the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce.



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The Owens Insurance team left to right: Sandra Johnson, Chris Christ, Roxanne Lightsey, Amy Lynn and Shane Lynn. Not pictured is Pam Hammock.

Jim Fair

The Owens Insurance team left to right: Sandra Johnson, Chris Christ, Roxanne Lightsey, Amy Lynn and Shane Lynn. Not pictured is Pam Hammock.



Enlarge photo

Owens Insurance was formed in 1952 by Riley Owens and the business continued through his son, Don. Chris Christ and Shane Lynn bought into the business in 2009-10 and 

Jim Fair

Owens Insurance was formed in 1952 by Riley Owens and the business continued through his son, Don. Chris Christ and Shane Lynn bought into the business in 2009-10 and 

Chris Christ and Shane Lynn told the gathering at the Small Business of the Year dinner Thursday night they were just there to have a great time together.

“We are very shocked to win,” Christ and Lane, brothers-in-law and owners of Owens Insurance said when announced winners of the annual Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce award.  They were just as surprised Friday morning.

“I couldn’t be more completely surprised that we won,” Lynn said.

“I am overwhelmed of the things we have done to earn that,” Christ said.

“It’s not an award we won by ourselves. It’s a combination of three things,” Lynn said. “It’s the people who work here, the supporting cast we have as carriers and the community with their utmost support.”

Christ and Lynn were talking this morning how to market the prestigious award. “Even though we are greater Greer, our tent peg is also planted in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia,” Christ said. “We consistently compete with the big boys. It’s not Shane and I, we have an incredible team.”

Lynn acknowledged the competition for their mostly health and insurance products. “We respect our competitors. To be picked as Small Business of the Year lends credibility that we are doing things right.”

The award comes at a strategic time for the company, Christ said. “This is the starting point where we will see a major structure change in next six months.”

“We see a lot of Greenfield development (planned communities on undeveloped land) and opportunity coming into the area with the Inland Port,” Lynn said.

Owens Insurance was created by Don Owens in 1952 and carried on by his son, Riley, until Shane and Chris bought 25 percent of the company in 2009 and 2010, respectively. They bought the remaining 50 percent in 2012. The business is located at 408 W. Poinsett Street.

“The first thing Riley told us was he built the business through the Chamber and said we must get involved,” Christ said.

“We have a little different philosophy,” Shane said. “It’s the right thing to do to help the community and help kids.” Christ is the varsity girls soccer coach at Blue Ridge High School and Furman United Soccer and Shane is a youth football coach with the Blue Ridge Youth Association.

"Sixty-five percent of our nation’s jobs are created and maintained by small businesses, they are the backbone of our nation,” Allen Smith, Greer Chamber President/CEO, said. “We are honored to be able to serve and support small businesses. It is often said that small business owners risk a lot in order to live their dream. We are grateful that they take these risks and are we want to continue to support them."

Greer’s celebration coincides with the 50th anniversary of the National Small Business Week that recognizes small business owners, their contribution to the economy, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Mayor Rick Danner presented McLeskey-Todd and B.A. Bennett Insurance with his Mayor’s Awards and proclamations for each. Both celebrate 90 years of business in Greer.

Three main prizes were won at the dinner. 

• 1-carat diamond valued at $4,500 by Jennifer Humphrey.

• 2 Dallas Cowboys tickets and airline vouchers by Hutch McClain.

• BMW for a weekend by Ken Paris.

Dakota Fitzgerald contributed to this story.

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