Community is About Helping-Matthew Thornton
Courtesy Photo Matthew Thornton Farm Bureau Insurance
Matthew Thornton is a Farm Bureau Insurance agency owner. Thornton has been in the people-helping business for quite some time. "I opened my own agency about three years ago," said Thornton. "The ability to help people properly protect themselves is vital to me."
Besides being on the financial frontline, Thornton also writes his own lyrics, “MCs,” and opens up for other musicians. To drop names, he has opened up for Bone Thugs and Harmony in Detroit, Aaron Smith, better known as Shwayze at Small Planet in East Lansing, and Rich Boy Throw Some D's at Northern Michigan University to mention a few gigs. "That life is in me," said Thornton. "Hip Hop has been a big part of my life."
Courtesy Photo Footprints of Michigan(L to R) Matthew Thornton, Elvin Caldwell Jr. , Geronimo Lerma
Recalling when he first fell in love with music, Thornton remembers he was a freshman in high school. "It's when I wrote my first verse," said Thornton. As a sophomore, he continued to write. Thornton wrote some lyrics for a class, and other students clowned his efforts. Thornton put the lyric writing down for a while. After high school, his new friends were in the Hip Hop scene, and Thornton picked up his pen and paper. Thornton also got a job in the music industry, where he credits that job with his rubber-meets-the-road education.
Aside from being an Insurance entrepreneur, Thornton gives back to his community by partnering with local nonprofits. He has a partnership with the Umbrella Sock Company. The partnership with umbrella sock company is developing sock fundraisers for nonprofits.
Thornton is also on the board of directors for Footprints of Michigan. Footprints of Michigan is a 501c 3 that works to get new or gently used shoes to families in need. The Soles4Vets program, under Footprints for Michigan was created to provide as many veterans as possible who are homeless and in need with new footwear and socks at stand-downs across the State of Michigan. These stand-downs, typically one or two-day events, provide supplies and services to veterans in need, such as food, shelter, clothing, and health screenings.
Happendance is another partner organization for Matthew. "They are another nonprofit that's near and dear to me," said Thornton. Happendance works its magic through offering the gift of dance.
So, the question arises, how did you wind up in the Insurance business? Thornton explained that he was selling jewelry at Fred Meyers in the Meridian Mall. A potential customer came into the Mall who happened to be a trainer for State Farm. "I sold him an engagement ring," said Thornton. "We also became friends and played some basketball together. One thing led to another, and Thornton was offered a job. He soon found himself taking and passing the Property & Casualty Insurance exam. The State Farm trainer had started his own agency. He worked for his new boss for two years and realized this could be his new path. At this point, in April 2018, he opened the Matt Thornton Agency.
The top three things Thornton learned about starting your own business are as follows: one-nothing is going to happen on the timetable you want it to, two- all things come through persistency and consistency, and three- integrity. "It's imperative to keep your word," said Thornton.
The Matt Thornton Agency’s specialties are selling auto, home, life, and business insurance. "I am developing more knowledge in the business end of insurance," said Thornton. "I really enjoy learning about fine tuning and learning new skills to better educate residents of Michigan.” His agency's most popular product is homeowners insurance.
Thornton took a moment to reflect on his career choice as a child. “At one point, I thought I would grow up to be “Puff Daddy,” smiled Thornton. “A lawyer and hockey player also made the top of the list. I couldn’t even skate at the time. But hockey player seemed like a cool thing to be.”
Reflecting on life and what makes Thornton happy, he replied, “spending time with my family and helping people definitely tops the list.” Working out topped the lists as Thornton’s favorite pastime. Favorite destination, Mecca. “One of the holy cities would be so cool,” said Thornton. A pearl of business wisdom to share, “make sure you stay adaptable and be like water.”