By Louie Graves
“About the only thing different is that he’ll be signing my checks instead of me signing his.”
Nashville’s Shelter Insurance agent Greg Tate can afford to be humorous about the change in the agency located on South Main in Nashville.
“I’m going from Number One to Number Three.” He explains that by saying that in the agency’s computers, son Steve will now get the Number One designation, and Greg will drop to Number Three. That’s behind Number Two who is Rose Dean, another agent who has been there for the past 15 years.
The senior Tate is quick to note that he is not retiring after 38 years. Steve will be the lead agent, and will continue his active role in the community — on the chamber of commerce board; and on the Nashville Parks and Recreation Commission — but Greg will move his desk into another room in the modest brick building. Steve gets the big office.
Tate began his agency here in January 1978 in a small building he shared with a barbershop on the east side of South Main. “We began with a 10-key adding machine and a bunch of No. 2 pencils,” he remembers. For awhile he operated out of a rock building ‘up the hill’ from Nashville Drug on Howard Street. Then he moved to South Main.
One night while playing cards with friend who was on the fire department, he heard the agency’s address called on the fireman’s radio. Someone who was trying to break into the building had also managed to set it afire. While he was building a replacement building at the same location, Tate temporarily located the agency in a spot in the middle of downtown. Those are the only places the agency has ever been.
“It’s been really good,” he says of life and a career in his adopted hometown. “Good community, good people, good competitors.” He explains the latter compliment by saying that local insurance agencies all get along well and have the community’s best interest at heart.
Tate is a Union County native, he played football for the El Dorado Wildcats, but he’s a Scrapper through and through now. Steve was a Scrapper letterman.
He looks around at the walls covered with company awards. “I’ll be here; I’m not going anywhere,” Greg says.