Bissaillon, an Adams native, said he wants to further the good work of Smith Bros.-McAndrews, or SBM, and continue to bring a personal touch to the firm.
"It is really exciting for me to have a chance to lead an agency that has literally been on Park Street for 100 years. I am proud of that," Bissaillon said. "You work in your career all of these years and it is exciting to have the opportunity to run your own business with good people ... we help a couple of thousand people and that is very satisfying."
The certified insurance counselor joined SBM in 2011 but has a total of 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. He said he had a history with longtime owner Bernie Pinsonnault, who retired after 29 years in the business.
"We had been friends and friendly competitors for years and when I joined he told me he was planning on retiring at some point," Bissaillon said. "We worked together for seven years and talked out some terms and I am very fortunate, thankful, and very excited about all of this."
Bissaillon said SBM has been operating in Adams since 1896 and for more than 100 years has provided customers with options on home, renters, auto, business, and life insurance.
He sees no reason to make any major changes to a business that has already stood the test of time.
"It has been a great agency for 100 years so I don't need to come in here and ruin that record," Bissaillon said. "Sure there are some things we may look at doing differently because this business demands it with so much more online activity and what not."
On a personal note, Bissaillon said he is proud to have offices on Park Street and noted his father once operated a shoe store on the same street.
"I am running a business on Park Street in my hometown like my family did back in the early '70s," he said. "R. Bissaillon & Sons Shoestore was on Park Street so it has all come full circle ... I am really proud to be on a Park Street running a business."
As a smaller insurance agency, Bissaillon said it can tailor service to each customer. He noted this personal touch is harder to come by with larger agencies.
"What we bring is immediate, personal, responsive service and usually when something happens with insurance someone has had a bad day," he said. "That is where we shine the most ... you can always go online and find a less expensive option but when something goes wrong and you need some help that is when it is nice to have people who know you."
Bissaillon added that this doesn't mean SBM cannot connect its customers to an array of insurance services. He said along with 10 other agencies in the state, SBM is part of Alliance Main Street and that gives them a bit more weight.
As a smaller, nimbler agency, SBM employees do not just "take orders" but can really sit down with people and help them find the appropriate insurance, he said. He noted that he often will personally visit homes and businesses.
SBM offers auto and homeowners' insurance, renters' insurance, various life insurance options, and business insurance. Its partners include Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Cos., Progressive, Travelers, The Andover Companies, Liberty Mutual, Commerce, Bunker Hill, Mass Property, Nationwide and more.
Bissaillon said SBM has a proud history of giving back to the community which is something he most definitely wants to continue. SBM has made numerous donations over the years as well as made efforts to support education and youth sports teams.
He noted volunteerism is important to him personally and said SBM is and will continue to be part of the community.
"Because of all of that work and support in the community people get to know you and they trust you. This has always been an agency that has done a lot for the community," he said. "That is what being part of a community is all about."
The agency's hours are weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30 and the phone number is 413-743-1216. It can also be contacted through the website, including requesting a quote.
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Suffrage Centennial Committee Kicks Off Yearlong Celebration
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
Cassandra Peltier as Alva Belmont Vanderbilt, a prominent figure in the suffrage movement.
ADAMS, Mass. — About 75 people filled The Manor on Saturday afternoon for the kickoff event of a yearlong celebration of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
The event at St. John Paul II Parish's Italianate mansion was organized by the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee. The committee serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen.
Anthony was born in Adams and was a social reformer best known for spearheading the women's suffrage movement. She was also involved in the anti-slavery movement, collecting signatures for petitions as a teen, the temperance (prohibition of alcohol) movement, and women's financial rights.
Retired school teacher Mary Whitney, committee member and host for the day, shared why Anthony's work was so important.
Only two candidates will be interviewed Thursday for the Adams Cheshire Regional School District superintendent position with candidate Martin McEvoy withdrawing his name from consideration. click for more
The Parks Commission on Monday took care of most of the fall requests for field usage. Four separate groups were represented and although a few issues cropped up, all requests were approved. click for more
Adams Conservation Commission praised the use of an organic herbicide on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
At Thursday’s commission meeting members discussed the process that resulted in an organic herbicide being applied along the trail to knock down some overgrown vegetation. click for more