Winston Realty & Insurance celebrates 60th anniversary
The Zuver family is celebrating the 60th year of their business, Winston Realty & Insurance.
Elton Zuver started the company in 1958 as Modern Insurance, then changed the name to Winston Realty & Insurance when he added a real estate division a few years later. His daughter, Judy Zuver, took over in the mid-1970s and passed it on to her son, Robert Zuver, in 2002.
With photos of a giraffe, elephants, zebra and lions on the wall, the safari-themed office is located at 70 SE Main St., Winston. The company manages personal and commercial real estate and insures businesses, commercial trucks, autos, homes, ATVs, boats and more.
Robert Zuver said it’s been a good experience working with his family. Judy Zuver continues to work with her son as a principal real estate broker and insurance agent.
He said the biggest change in the 60 years has been the advances in technology, as much of the business happens on computers. But while insurance options are available online, he said his clients value the personal service of an agent.
“An insurance company gives you the product, but an agent gives you the service,” Zuver said. “We’re a family business, we’re local and we know the area for both real estate and insurance.”
Customers come in and talk with the agents and develop personal relationships, and Zuver said the agents help customers get better coverage because they understand what they want.
He said the independent agents at Winston Realty & Insurance are not beholden to the big insurance companies, and if they don’t agree with a corporate decision they can drop a company.
Zuver grew up in the Winston area, left for about four years to manage Western Insurance Associates in Spokane and returned to buy the business from his mother.
“I had been planning to come back and retire here,” he said. “I like the Douglas County area, it’s close to the ocean and mountains.”
Robert Zuver’s sister, Julie Zuver, retired as a judge in Douglas County and opened up a law office inside the Winston Realty & Insurance building.
Robert Zuver said it’s helpful to have an attorney on hand for any legal questions.
“We’re really blessed to have been able to serve this community for many years, starting with our grandparents,” Julie Zuver said. “It’s been one of the cornerstones of the community for a long time and we’re blessed to be part of that and keep it going.”
Robert Zuver said he hopes the company will go on to serve the Douglas County community for another 60 years and more. His assistant, Mikayla Carter, is also a licensed insurance agent. She said she plans to take on the business after the Zuvers eventually retire.
“I really like working with people,” Carters said. “It’s a great job and when I can help save people money and teach them what their insurance means, that’s great.”