The Woodburn Insurance company will mark its 50th anniversary with an open house Oct. 15

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Lindsay Keefer | Woodburn Independent
Brown Insurance, founded by Dan Brown (back right) now employs six: (back row, from left) bookkeeper and co-owner Laura Brown, agent Eric Brown, agent and co-owner Carl Brown, (front row, from left) agent Becky Halter, customer service representative Melinda Orozco and agent Rachel Contreras.Brown Insurance is celebrating its 50-year presence in Woodburn this month, making the multi-generational business one of the longest-running insurance firms in the community.

Brown Insurance will celebrate the milestone by hosting an open house, which will include light refreshments, on Tuesday, Oct. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The business was started in January 1963 by Dan and Peggy Brown out of their home, and current owner Carl Brown remembers those early years growing up in the business.

“They were supposed to start Oct. 15, 1962, but that was three days after the Columbus Day Storm,” Carl Brown remembered, referring to a hurricane-like storm that swept through the Willamette Valley, resulting in millions of dollars in damage.

It was ironic, since Dan Brown had left the farming industry because of the weather.

“I thought doing this would be more reliable,” he said. “You didn’t have to count on the weather.”

The house, which was picked up and moved to a different block, used to be where Brown Insurance sits today, at 979 Young St.

“It started out as a small husband and wife operation, and now we have six people on staff,” Carl Brown said.

In 1968, the business moved out of the family home.

Carl Brown fought joining the family business for years, but when he lost his job, his dad brought him on board in 1975.

“That’s when we changed from Dan A. Brown Insurance to just Brown Insurance,” Carl said.

When his father retired, Carl continued the business, but Dan maintained his licensure.

“I kept my license up just in case,” he said, admitting it’s been a few years now since he’s been a licensed agent. “I still come in when they’re shorthanded.”

But he still is partial owner, along with Carl and his wife, Laura, who is the bookkeeper.

The business has done so well all these years because of customer service, both father and son said.

“You can get insurance anywhere, but service is what we sell,” Dan Brown said. “I’ve been out there in the middle of the night when someone’s house is on fire. My neighbor got in a car wreck and called me up at 2 in the morning. It was a hit and run. So I went to pick him up and we drove around that residential neighborhood until we found the car that did it. It was a drunk driver and we turned him in. To do something like that was not unusual for me.”

And that tradition has continued through Carl and even the third generation of the Brown family, Eric Brown, who works as an agent in the company.

“But we’re all family here,” Carl said about his entire business team.

Brown Insurance covers all lines of insurance, from homeowners to life.

“We provide service through a quality insurance product and competitive prices,” Carl Brown said. “Here, you’re a person, not a policy number. We’ve always held ourselves to that promise and we still have a few original clients.”

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