After 56 years with State Farm, Keith Inwards has stepped down as the agent for the insurance business on the 700 block of Washington Avenue. Nick Christenson has taken over the reigns, and he says the transition has been going just about as good as he could have imagined.
"He (Inwards) has built a super loyal clientele. They've all been absolutely sweet and amazing. It's been very, very nice," said Christenson, excited to now call Detroit Lakes his home.
Originally from Cambridge, Minn., Christenson went to school for Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) golf management. After graduating college, he moved to California and spent much of his time teaching and playing the sport. Eventually, he moved back to Minnesota, which is when he happened to meet his hometown's State Farm agent.
"He invited me in to visit. That was four years ago, and the rest is history," said Christenson of his start in the insurance business.
While he knew he wanted to work with the agency, he and his wife weren't exactly sure where they wanted to settle down. Christenson says they did their research, knowing they wanted to find a town that resembled Cambridge in size, and they settled on Detroit Lakes.
"We drove through Detroit Lakes - I had played golf here throughout high school and college - We drove around, saw the town and decided this is the place we wanted to be, and we were going to wait for it and, all of a sudden, two months later, it opened up," said Christenson, adding, "It's been a sprint ever since."
Christenson officially took over on April 1 of this year, and the place has stayed much the same. He says Inwards employees have been gracious enough to stay with him, and he plans to hire two more before the summer gets going.
The office space is also undergoing some renovations and will see more as Christenson's ownership continues.
"We did a whole renovation," he said. "We just started adding in office spaces and just did a full renovation. It turned out great."
The space is more opened up and updated; the signage is fresh. Christenson says they will also be getting new doors.
All in all, Christenson is settling into his new role, and he says he believes he chose wisely with Detroit Lakes.
"The town of Detroit Lakes, everybody has been absolutely the sweetest, and that's exactly what I expected coming to a town like this that's very similar to Cambridge. It's been an even better transition than I thought, so it's been absolutely awesome," he said.