Hutchinson & Associates has relocated its Grand Island office to the historic 1906 house at 822 W. First St. that was the former location of Plum Thicket.

The business, which has locations in Grand Island, Kearney and Holdrege, has been in operation for eight years and was formerly located in the Eagle Run shopping area along Highway 281.

Hutchinson & Associates, owned by Michael and Wanda Hutchinson of Doniphan, is a financial planning firm offering New York Life products. The business is staffed by a team of professionally trained financial advisers experienced in law, taxation, accounting, business, insurance and financial and philanthropic planning through the Nautilus Group.

They are also experienced in faith-based planning including bringing family values, legacy, strategic planning, charitable goals and objectives, unique to each individual family, into financial planning.

“We are kind of like a financial doctor or financial coach,” Michael said. “With our team approach, we can help take a lot of burden off our customers when it comes to financial or estate planning by bringing the information that they need to their planning.”

Wanda said they loved their former location in a fast-growing area of Grand Island’s retail and business community, but “we wanted to help revitalize Grand Island by bringing more businesses down to the downtown area and get it to be more alive again like it used to be.”

“When this location opened up, we really loved the home and the history to it, and it was close to the downtown area,” Wanda said.

Both Wanda and Mike love history.

“We loved this home because it is beautiful,” she said.

The Hutchinsons have worked hard to turn the house into a business but keep the historic integrity of a turn-of-the-20th-century Victorian-style house typical of the homes found in Grand Island in 1906.

Both Wanda and Mike said the old house is also a fitting metaphor that reflects the enduring tradition and foundation of New York Life, which was founded in 1845.

“That was one of the reasons we were drawn to this house — great roots, great foundation,” she said. “They built homes so strong and beautiful back in those days at the turn of the century, and it is still standing today, and it is still beautiful.

“We wanted to keep true to the home and yet still have it so, in the future, when we are gone or no longer working, someone else can come in here to live or have their business,” Wanda said.

On the ground floor, both Michael and Wanda have their offices, and there is also a kitchen space. Upstairs, the bedrooms have been converted into offices and a conference room, along with a bathroom.

While it is a working business, the Hutchinsons’ new office has a “warm and home-like feeling to it,” Wanda said.

“When people come here to do business with us, we want them to feel at home, and we want it to have a warm atmosphere so it doesn’t feel so sterile as some businesses,” she said. “It is very personal.”

Michael said he “appreciated the fact that the opportunity arose where we could come into a well-built home to really show what true financial strength is.”

New York Life Insurance Co., a Fortune 100 company, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurance companies in the world with combined sales of insurance and investment products exceeding $34 billion.

New York Life maintains operations in all 50 states and eight overseas markets. New York Life and its affiliates’ products and services include insurance products (life, annuities and long-term care) and asset accumulation products, such as mutual funds.

“This house has been around for a long time,” Michael said. “When you are planning, you have to have a great foundation. It doesn’t matter what kind of money you have, whether it is a little or a lot, the planning process is the same and unique to everybody’s needs.”

Michael said, “If I can bring them (their customers) into a home where they feel extremely comfortable, where they can provide me with their complete personal life, whether they have a special-needs child or an estranged relationships with their children, how they want their estate to flow at the time of death or what type of legacy they want to give while they live or pass on.”

With people living longer, Michael said, the No. 1 fear people have is whether they will run out of money.

“If we can bring them into an environment where they feel extremely comfortable, they will feel relaxed, and they will understand that we are just sitting around a table, and we are going to figure out what is best for them and their situation,” Michael said.

With their move, Michael said, they are now “in the central part of Grand Island.”

“That gives us the opportunity to be more involved in the community,” Michael said. “We do a lot of giving back to the community. It is just a part of our natural process. It also gives individuals easier access to us.”

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I cover business, ag and general reporting for the GI Independent.

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