End of an era: Draper Insurance changes owners
For the first time in 26 years, Draper Insurance will no longer have a Draper in charge of the local insurance agency.
In mid-November, Cody Draper, the son of Draper Insurance founder Marv Draper, will officially sell the business to Steamboat investors Paxton and Susie Jones, as well as long-time Craig resident Kaci Doolin, who currently works at Draper Insurance.
Despite the sale outside of the family, Cody Draper, Doolin and the Joneses made it clear it will be business as usual internally, while also extending business hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. without closing at lunch. The long-time local business won’t be going anywhere, but Cody Draper said its time for change.
Wanting to move closer to family on the Front Range led to the decision to sell for Draper.
“All my family lives on the Front Range and in Nebraska,” Draper said. “I’ve spent my time here. It’s bittersweet leaving here. We have customers here that I’ve known since ’93, so that’s hard to leave.”
Draper, who has been in insurance his entire life, came back to Craig from Fort Collins in 2003 to take over for his father. Through the last 17 years, Cody has owned and operated the company, but now Doolin and the Joneses will run the show while also looking to make it grow locally.
“It’s super important to me to keep this business here in this community,” Doolin said. “I think that Draper Insurance has been a staple in the community all these years; it’s important because we have a lot of community members that have their insurance here, so I want to continue to give them the best services possible and hopefully expand our business.”
Ironically, the sale to the Joneses and Doolin brings the Draper Insurance business full circle. In 1993 the Drapers moved to Craig from Steamboat Springs to open up a branch of Alpine Insurance. Then, in 2003, Marv Draper bought out his portion of Alpine Insurance and changed the name to Draper Insurance. Incidentally, the business moved into a building built in 1914 that was originally slated to be the Draper Store, which didn’t have a connection to the Draper family.
Now, the Joneses come in from Alpine Insurance in Steamboat Springs. That’s the circle of life in the insurance industry.
“I have a ton of respect for Marv and Cody,” Paxton Jones said. “My respect and admiration for Marv, who helped me get started in the insurance industry, was a big reason why I came down here to help out. I like Marv, I like the way Craig is towards local businesses, and I want to carry that on.”
A small town and a family business also pushed the Joneses to invest completely.
Jones’s brother, Trent, and business partners found 40 acres and the infrastructure needed for a sawmill about 13 miles north of Craig on Colorado Highway 13 when they purchased the old Cox family sawmill. That purchase led to the development of Mountain Pine Restoration in early 2018.
“Seeing how this community treated my brother and his business, and all they did for him when he opened his business, that drove me to want to do business down here,” Paxton Jones said.
That small-town feel of support, and the fact that the community is already familiar and comfortable with Doolin as their insurance agent has pushed the Joneses to keep things status quo.
“I think the continuity is important, especially in a small town,” Susie Jones said. “I think people have established their loyalty to Marv and Cody, and everyone has been pretty happy with Kaci, so we want to make sure we maintain that and make sure that we’re not coming in and changing everything.”
The only real change that will likely happen with Draper Insurance under Doolin and the Joneses is the inclusion of commercial insurance for businesses, which is something the Joneses have implemented in Steamboat Springs all these years.
The official sale is set to go through on Nov. 15, allowing Draper to move closer to family on the Front Range, while giving Doolin and the Joneses the opportunity to grow the business here in Craig.
“It’s going to be business as usual, but it will be better in a sense,” Doolin said. “We’ll be able to bring in some bigger companies, in terms of insurances. Our goal is to get to a 50-50 split with home and auto and commercial. I want to see us pick up a lot more commercial clients here, and with Paxton and Susie providing mentorship, we should be able to do that.”