Aaron Myers got to work looking for a new job before he even finished the conference call that told him his mortgage company was closing.
Shortly after graduating from West Virginia University with a degree in operations management, Myers followed his high school sweetheart, Jeni, to Aiken.
He worked in the mortgage and finance industry for seven years before accepting the regional vice president position at Equity One, a retail mortgage company.
“It was a great job,” he said. “I could work at home and was able to travel throughout the Southeast.”
After four years there, he was forced to look for another source of income when the turbulent economy forced the company to shut down.
“I remember I was on a conference call when I found out. I started looking for jobs on Monster and CareerBuilder during that call,” he said. “The problem was that people that contacted you earlier were not hiring and lots of people were competing for the open positions that were available.”
He eventually opened F&M Mortgage Co.
“I already had contacts in place from the Aiken, Augusta and Columbia areas,” he said.
Myers, though, was able to see the writing on the wall.
“Regulations made it more difficult,” he said. “You had to spend more time on things for half the results.”
He was approached by Allstate about opening a new office from scratch. Though he liked the business plan, Myers felt there was a better way.
“As a businessman, I figured that starting from scratch may not have been the best option,” he said.
That led him to Harry Weigle, who, after owning his Allstate office since 1983, was looking to retire. Myers decided to purchase the office from Weigle in December 2010 and inherited a loyal client base.
“I support youth sports league and local businesses. I really believe in that,” he said.
That philosophy has worked, as Myers has seen his business expand since he purchased it.
“We increased our staff by two people,” he said. “There are four employees along with myself.”
He said his office is very flexible in how it communicates with clients and that operations manager Kathryn Fuller helps “keep it running.”
“Sometimes I will go on off-site visits,” he said. “Other times people may just want to be notified by social media.”
His commitment to his customers never waivers, though. Myers is always accessible and often holds customer-appreciation events.
He is also able to spend time with Jeni, whom he has now been married to for 18 years, along with their children Owen, Audrey Grace and Leo.
His plans include opening additional locations in the area.
“This has really been a blessing,” he said. “It is a great module. It can be lucrative if you work at it. It is something I will be able to pass on to my kids.”