*This article was originally published in Neighbors magazine and at AlfaFarmers.org.
By Brooke Foster
Crafting pottery from hand-dug Alabama clay is an art. Alfa Insurance agents use a similar eye for detail to create policies for artisans and entrepreneurs, including Brown’s Pottery & Sons in Hamilton.
Owner Sandra Brown said good service goes a long way in business. That’s why she insured the nationally renowned family pottery business (founded by her late husband, Jerry) with Alfa in 2019.
“Jerry and I always had Alfa Insurance,” said Sandra, who carries on her husband’s pottery-crafting legacy with son Jeff Wilburn. “Several years ago, we had a new roof put on our house because of hail damage from a storm. The customer service we received from our local agent and claims adjuster at Alfa was just awesome, so when our agent, Matt Brasher, asked about moving our business insurance over to Alfa, it just made sense.”
Brasher said he’s known the Brown family as long as he can remember.
“Growing up in Hamilton, everyone knew about the famous pottery shop based right here in our small town,” the Alfa agent said.
Alfa’s business owner policies offer coverage for property, liability, automobiles, workers compensation and commercial umbrella protection. With local agents and adjusters serving every Alabama county, Alfa caters to small businesses. Among the company’s clients are barber shops, restaurants, retail stores, photographers, plumbers, landscapers and even churches.
“Alfa makes it easy for us to do business with them,” Sandra said. “Not only did we receive a great rate for our small business, but we’ve also received exceptional customer service every time we walk in the local office just up the road. If I need anything, I can call Matt, and he’ll get everything taken care of in a timely manner. It’s hard to find that kind of service in other insurance companies nowadays. That’s what makes Alfa different.”
Alfa’s Senior Vice President of P&C & Life Operations Rex Seabrook said protecting small businesses is part of Alfa’s heritage.
“We know how important these businesses are in our communities, and it’s our job to help keep them protected,” Seabrook said. “Matt Brasher is a great example of how our agents work to go above and beyond to make sure our customers get the best rates possible. Alfa agents, claims adjusters and customer sales representatives want to see their hometown, its businesses and community members flourish.”
Jerry opened his pottery business in 1982 after nearly 20 years working as a logger in the northwest Alabama woods. He converted a small hay shed into a shop, bought an electric kiln, ordered a pottery wheel and tapped into skills learned from his father, Horace.
The ninth-generation potter specialized in face jugs (decorative jugs sculpted to resemble a human or character’s face) and experimented with glazing and painting techniques.
“Jerry had a chicken pen behind the shop,” Sandra said. “Something got into the pen one night, and chicken feathers were all over the place. Jerry picked the feathers up, brought them to the shop and started dipping them in cobalt. He dabbed the feathers on the pottery, and we’ve done it ever since.”
His unique art earned numerous awards, such as the Alabama Folk Heritage Award. He was also named a National Heritage Fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts. The pottery shop quickly became a top destination for tourists, including social media cooking sensation Brenda Gantt of Andalusia, who uses Brown’s Pottery and Sons bowls when making biscuit dough.
Brasher said it’s been an honor to serve the Brown family through the years.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to protect their business,” Brasher said. “Whether filing a claim, making a payment or updating a policy, our customers are going to receive the personalized service they deserve. That’s the Alfa difference.”
Learn more about the Browns at JerryBrownPottery.com.
For information about Alfa business insurance, contact your local agent today!