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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New Food & Wellness Vision Planned for Historic Mausert Block
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
Stephen Stenson and Heather Cachat, left, give the board an update on the new plans for the Mausert Block.
ADAMS, Mass. — The owner of the Mausert Block is assuring the Selectmen that there's progress being made at the former Woolworth building across from Town Hall.
Stephen Stenson provided the board with a project update on Wednesday after remarks were made at a past meeting about the slow pace of work over the last six years.
He said the renovation of 10 apartments in the upper floors are nearing completion and there are plans for a shared restaurant and kitchen space as well as wellness collaborative on the first floor.
"This is not the end but the beginning of the end and I think we are moving forward and wrapping up the apartments," Stenson said. "We are going back to reinvest more money into the restaurant area and we hope that is the first step in developing these ideas."
The Cemetery Commission appointed two residents to take care of two historic Cemeteries.
Last week the Cemetery appointed residents Allen Mendel and Johanna Maxwell as the caretakers of Daniels Court Cemetery and Bowens Corner Cemetery. click for more