April Fool’s Day may mean fun pranks, but for Greg Young and his son Bryant, there’s no fooling about it: The holiday marks firsts for their multigenerational family business. For Greg and his late father, Bill, April 1, 1981, was the closing date on a loan to buy an insurance agency. For Bryant, April 1, 2012, was the day his parents, Greg and co-owner Beth, offered him a job with the family business, Insurors of the Ozarks.
Greg and Bryant chuckle about charting the same work anniversary, even if their reasons for going into the industry—as well as their business approaches—differ. “I basically bought my way into this business, and Bryant has been selling his way into the business,” says Greg.
A Drury University business major in the early 1980s, Greg was unsure what to do after graduation when his father Bill, a Lincoln National Life Insurance agent since 1933, more or less pushed him into his own line of work. At the time, Bill was working in a Plaza Towers office just down the hall from Joe Kastendieck. Kastendieck would later become a well-known Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise owner, but was then working in insurance, too.
On first attempt, Bill failed to buy Kastendieck out of his insurance business. But, once Kastendieck discovered his interest in the chicken business, Greg was pulled into the family business and found himself, just a 20-year-old man, putting the family home down for collateral on the loan used to purchase Kastendieck’s insurance company. “When we walked out of the closing, my dad handed me the keys and said, ‘Don’t lose my house,’” Greg says. “So for the next year I went to school full time and ran this little tiny insurance agency. And I did not lose my dad’s house.” That was the company that became Insurors of the Ozarks.
Greg’s son Bryant says he always intended to go into insurance, even though his father didn’t offer to make Insurors of the Ozarks his training ground. Though Bryant eventually joined the family business, he was determined to make his own way. By age 20, the 2007 Glendale High School graduate was a State Farm agent in Fayetteville completing a bachelor’s in marketing at the University of Arkansas.
For a “brief second,” Bryant says he considered law school and even took the admissions test, but his heart was in sales. Finally, there was an opening back home with his name on it—and not just because his name was Young. “I was ready to be back in Springfield, and the opportunity to come back to work for my family business was something I was very excited about,” he says.