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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kaden Quinn Leathers Insurance owner Jerrod Leathers stands at his soon-to-be new place of business, located at 603 Pinto Lane.

Business owner Jerrod Leathers is moving his Leathers Insurance location in California from 101 East Buchanan Street to 603 Pinto Lane.

After some time growing his business, Leathers said it is finally time to move his location to a wider and more accommodating space.

Leathers has offered independent insurance services — selling interpersonal insurance such as house, car and health — to the residents of California for about six years, and he said that a lot of his work has paid off. As his clientele began to grow, so did his business. While Leathers said the new move will take some time to adjust to, he said he is very grateful for the opportunity and for the loyal customers that helped him along the way.

"I would really like to add my gratitude to the people of California and surrounding areas for supporting my business," Leathers said. "Almost all of the clients I started with when I opened Leathers Insurance in 2016 are still with me today, and they have referred their friends and family to my business many times over. Without the support of the community I could have never started my business, much less build a new office space."

Leathers said he is glad to continue serving the California community from a new venue. Moving to a new building has its pros and cons compared to renting and owning an office space, Leathers said. However, he said as a business it is always an advantage because you can still rent your business.

Leathers said he will somewhat miss operating in a small space with himself as his only employee. While he has had some part-time help, he said he would be content to continue working in the area he has been, but with the expectation of growth from contracted companies, moving up is always inevitable.

"(In insurance) you can't just stay stagnant," Leathers said. "You always have to grow, so we have to bring on employees. The main thing that sets me apart from other insurance agents is that I have the ability to use multiple companies. That's what sets an independent insurance agent apart from a captive agent."

Leathers said as an independent agent, he has the ability to do work with multiple companies instead of only one that a captive agent would do business with. He said this allows clients to find their niche with whatever company best suits their situation. After seeing growth in this area of his business, he said it would be an appropriate time to build his new place of business.

"I looked at several buildings in town, and I really liked the idea of buying something old, fixing it up and making it look nice," Leathers said. "But with the cost of construction labor a year and a half ago when I started this project, the cost of materials (meant) it was actually quite a bit cheaper just to start from scratch and build a brand new building."

Overall, Leathers said he is very happy with the construction and is looking to move in very soon. As construction gets closer to being complete, Leathers said he's become more eager to let the community know about the move. He said with this new growth, he hopes to bring a new venue that can be of service to the California and Moniteau County community at large.

"The main thing is I wanted to make something that looks nice, that adds value to the community and doesn't take away from it," Leathers said. "My goal is to make California the nicest town that it can possibly be, and part of that as a business owner is keeping your business nice."

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