SBA award recognizes tradition and transition
By Ann McCreary
Melbourn Insurance Agency, with offices in Twisp and Winthrop, has been named the Family-Owned Small Business of the Year by the Small Business Association (SBA) Seattle district.
Melbourn Insurance is owned by Kelsey and Korrie Bourn, who took over the business last year from their mother, Melinda, who founded it in 1976.
Keeping family-owned businesses in the family is vital to small, rural communities like the Methow Valley, said Kerri Hurd, director of SBA Seattle District, which covers most of Washington and northern Idaho.
“The importance of business succession in rural towns cannot be overstated,” Hurd said. “Transition of the Bourns’ family-owned business to the next generation saves critical local jobs while retaining the character of the community by connecting its history to its future.”
The Family-Owned Small Business of the Year award honors a family-owned and operated business that has been passed from one generation to another and has been in operation for at least 15 years.
After 41 years in the business, Melinda Bourn was considering retirement, but wanted to keep Melbourn Insurance in local ownership. She approached her four daughters about transitioning the family business and Kelsey and Korrie, her two youngest daughters, took over as co-owners last July, along with business partner Rebecca Gebbers.
“To see my daughters taking over a business that I built is amazing,” Melinda said. “Not only are they getting to continue on something that I put so much work into, but now they are able to stay in the Methow Valley area and contribute to the community in which they were raised. It just lights me up and I love that they are able to stay and work in the town they grew up in.”
“It means a lot to our family that the SBA awards team recognizes Melinda’s long career of serving the Methow Valley residents over the past 40 years,” said Kelsey Bourn. “My sister and I can only hope to continue her tradition in serving the locals while adapting to an ever-changing valley.”
Melinda plans to continue working at the agency for a couple more years before fully retiring to make a smooth transition for the new owners and the longtime clients.
Melbourn Insurance Agency provides residential and commercial insurance in northeastern Washington. The company was nominated for the Family-Owned Small Business award by Lew Blakeney from the Small Business Development Center in Omak, the SBA in Seattle said.
“We are honored that the Small Business Administration has chosen our family business among such a qualified pool of companies throughout Washington state,” Kelsey said.
Melbourn Insurance donates to several local nonprofits on a regular basis and has a strong commitment to “shop local” to keep revenue within the local community, the SBA said in announcing the award.
The Bourns will receive the award May 3 at a celebration of SBA winners from Washington and northern Idaho during national Small Business Week.