PAXTON — Ryan Galey spent 30 years working in restaurant management before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in 2020, resulting in a change in careers.
“Honestly, when COVID hit, the whole idea of restaurant service had kind of gone sideways with working for corporate restaurants, and I wanted to find something to where I could still be of service and of use to people and use my customer service skills,” said Galey, a longtime Paxton resident who is now in his third year as a licensed insurance agent for Farmers Insurance and entering his sixth month operating his own agency.
Galey opened his Farmers Insurance office in October at 222 N. Market St., Unit A, in the downtown Paxton building immediately north of Coffee & Friends that for decades contained Paxton Printing Inc. and more recently a yoga facility. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, the Ryan Galey Agency offers a wide range of insurance products, including auto, home, life and commercial/business insurance, plus annuities and Medicare supplements.
Galey previously worked at the Michael Rumsey Farmers Insurance Agency in Champaign, where Galey completed the agency’s “protégé program” to help him learn to operate his own full agency.
“There’s already been three protégés out of that (Farmers agency), which has helped us increase our footprint in Central Illinois,” Galey said.
The Farmers agents in the area have “a lot of cooperation” between each other and work together whenever needed to meet the needs of their clients, Galey said.
“If there’s ever something I don’t have or don’t have access to, I can always reach out to my network to try to find something somebody needs,” Galey noted.
Galey said his agency takes pride in its “great customer service, industry-leading products and competitive rates.” Galey said he is always available to review policies with clients and answer any of their questions to help them better understand the details.
“You can come and see me here (at the office) five days a week, or you can call me on the phone and we can talk,” said Galey, who can be reached at 815-424-6096 or [email protected].
Two other agents work at Galey’s agency: his 20-year-old daughter, Lucy, a 2020 graduate of Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School; and his wife of seven years and partner of 13, Amy, who works as an agent mostly remotely and on weekends when she is not working at her job as a scheduler/coordinator II at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.
“We are going to be hiring new agents soon to help expand our business,” said Galey, whose other daughter, 19-year-old Gina, lives in California and is an aspiring singer and songwriter.
Galey said he loves being an insurance agent, especially knowing that he is providing a service that people need and that can make a difference in their lives.
“I can always feed you,” the former restaurant manager said, “but this is something that’s a constant — everybody needs insurance. … It’s really about helping people, and it’s filling a need that’s going to be there no matter what. … Insurance is just not something that people generally have a lot of interest in, but I actually do. It’s really interesting to me.”
Meanwhile, Galey said he plans to continue to operate his own DJ business, as he has done for 30 years, while operating his own insurance agency.
“I have two shows a week right now in Champaign,” said Galey, who provides a show at Pipa’s Pub at 604 S. Country Fair Drive in Champaign every Wednesday and karaoke at the VFW Post No. 5520 at 609 Edgebrook Drive in Champaign every other Tuesday. “That’ll be fun.”