June 9, 2020

We Now Have Time…Time to Get Back to the Basics

Ed Connolly Insurance Agency Banner

The Westford Common is constantly buzzing with residents enjoying annual festivals, concerts and parades. Quite the bustling community center dotted with essential buildings, including the former post office (now Northern Bank’s local branch), town hall and police station. One cannot make a visit to the Common without seeing a main fixture of this area, a charming yellow Victorian that once housed the J.M. Fletcher general store, circa 1855. Here residents could go for necessities such as coffee grounds, flour, sugar and of course a wardrobe staple, overalls.

The store was in operation until the late 1950’s. In 1964, the Edward M. Connolly Insurance Agency, a family-owned business, moved in. Ed Connolly Jr. took over the business in 1986, after his father’s sudden passing, and in 1997 he purchased and renovated the building to make it their place of business and family home. This year marks a major milestone for Connolly Insurance. They have been providing insurance to the residents of Westford and surrounding communities for 60 years! Unfortunately, just like the town’s beloved Apple Blossom Parade, celebrations for the company’s anniversary have been postponed. But Ed believes that soon we will come out of all this stronger than ever, and ready to enjoy all the events this tight-knit community has to offer.

Deemed an essential business, Connolly Insurance has continued to work throughout these unprecedented times. The team consists of Ed, his three full-time employees, and his wife, Gail, who handles all the behind the scenes work. “She could run a small country” Ed relays with so much appreciation. Of course, keeping the doors open and their services available to the community, did require some creative workflow adjustments. “People are still buying cars or in the process of buying homes, they need insurance,” he told Northern.

The top priority for Ed and Gail is that their employees and family feel safe and comfortable as they are all under one roof. Therefore, they put in place critical safety precautions, such as only one customer can be in the office at a time, as well as reconfiguring desk setups and utilizing painter’s tape to mark eight feet of separation from each employee. If a customer does need to come into the office, they are asked to wear a mask as well as use a new pen and take it with them. Connolly Insurance has really been promoting the use of their curbside drop box to allow for contactless transactions. Also, a considerable amount of time is spent throughout the day meticulously sanitizing all office equipment, doorknobs, rugs and any other common areas.

Ed recognizes that his employees need a little more flexibility to take care of their family obligations right now. “To eliminate the tension and anxiety of running errands that usually are done on weekends during normal circumstances, I have given one paid day off, every week since March, to my employees.” Ed said his team can select the day that works best for them to tend to those chores or errands. His employees are an extension of his family and he is committed to #StayTrue to the values that the company was built on. 60 years later, and he still maintains a family business.

A positive takeaway from the pandemic has been the gift of time and reflection. Connolly Insurance has reduced their business hours to allow for more time to take care of their loved ones. “It’s all about getting back to the basics,” Ed explained. Whether it’s taking walks with your family, having dinner together, or playing a board game, we should all cherish this time.

Caring for the more vulnerable, such as the elderly or those in need, is also very important to Ed. Although his business remains open, he makes sure to take time off to deliver groceries to his mother and mother-in-law. He also stressed that food pantries “need our support and sponsorship right now,” so he has been making donations to various Westford, Lowell and Boston organizations.

Ed is incredibly pleased with the insurance industry’s response to the pandemic and gives kudos to the large companies that are voluntarily returning premiums because people aren’t driving. Another company offered to donate masks to Ed’s customers that desperately need PPE. Again, it’s about saying thank you to your customers, giving people help when they need it and being there to support one another.

Thank you, Connolly Insurance, for reminding us that since the world has slowed down, it’s a rare opportunity to focus on what matters most to us all, our family and friends both near and far. “Serving others as we would be served” is the Agency’s motto and golden rule; Ed practices what he lives by.

Are you interested in reading other stories like this? Check out the Small Business Spotlight Series and see how local businesses are pivoting in this time of need.

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Northern Bank is a full-service bank dedicated to providing practical, common sense financial solutions to help our customers live their lives and grow their businesses. From deposit products to loans to payment and collections services, we work hands-on with our entrepreneurial customers, both locally and across the country, to provide the financial support they need to realize their personal and business goals. Founded in 1960, Northern Bank has assets of $2.87 billion with 13 locations serving communities throughout Middlesex County. Northern Bank is a Member of the FDIC, and an Equal Housing Lender.

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