With its giant white pillars, two floors and nearly 15,000-square-foot space, the new Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance building is a spectacle to behold.
During the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours on Thursday, May 2, people got a closer look at the headquarters.
The Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance staff officially moved into the building — which lies adjacent to the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center — toward the end of January 2019. The agency previously had its headquarters in downtown Gainesville.
Danae Smith, who has worked at the agency for three years, said the previous building was around half the size of the current facility and only contained one floor.
The first level of the new headquarters accommodates the personal and commercial employees, while the second holds the life, health and benefits staff.
Debbie Sanders said she has seen a lot of change while working at the agency for the past 46 years.
“It has been a family here,” she said. “I love the people because they’re always there for me when I need them.”
Megan Hulsey, who works in the benefits department, remembers the older building never having enough chairs or space for meetings in its conference room. Now she said meetings are a breeze.
“I love the new building,” Hulsey said. “I’ve been here for 12 years and this is a huge upgrade.”
She said the agency built the headquarters with enough space for staff growth. A couple of cubicles and offices remain empty for the potential new hires. Hulsey said the agency currently has around 40 staff members.
Philip Wilheit, president of Wilheit Packaging LLC, said he has already attended a couple of meetings at the new headquarters and finds it highly functional.
“It’s a phenomenal building and I’m impressed with it,” he said.
Joe Wood Sr., who died April 27, formed Turner and Wood Insurance Agency with partner Paul Turner as a successor to the Whitworth Agency that started in Lula in 1905.