Author: Ken Crumpton

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Customer Spotlight – All Health

For this month’s customer spotlight, we’re focusing on All Health, here in Hattiesburg. This store is truly a gem in town.  They offer tons of natural supplements as well as many other natural products and unique gifts.  However, you won’t feel uncomfortable if you’re not wearing sandals, flowers in your hair, and smelling of patchouli when you walk in.  Rather, All Health strives to help you examine their various products and not feel out of place.  I was just fine in cowboy boots and a button down shirt.

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One of the top-selling items are various Tom’s products.  This brand rose to fame a few years back through their shoes and their One for One idea.  In short, they donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair they sell; and that is a great thing.  One of their newest offerings is Tom’s sunglasses.  Also, the Tom’s company donates an eye exam and appropriate treatment for each pair they sell.   This idea charges their products with strength beyond being simply a trend; they really do provide a service to individuals in need.

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These are just a sample of the products offered at All Health.  Christi Patterson, owner, is a great advocate for natural products and provides great customer service.  They’re a small, locally-owned business.  The store is truly a labor of love of Christi, and it shows.  Give them a try for natural supplements, gifts, clothes or shoes.  It’s a unique store in Hattiesburg and stores like this need our support.

See You At The Top – Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar’s See see-you-at-the-topYou at the Top…one of my all time favorites.  My humble review can’t begin to do the book or its author justice.  But hopefully I can turn you on to it.

To begin with, I believe everybody should read this book.  I refer to it constantly throughout the year and have since I first read it, circa 2012.  Is it hokey?  Yep.  Is it awesome?  Yep.  More importantly, is worth your time?  You betcha.

The book is split into 6 categories, or “Steps” that Ziglar claims vital to climbing to the top of your field, regardless of your profession.  It’s steeped in the self-help tradition, a category that I don’t necessarily believe is “bad” in any way.  We’re all spiritual beings and God gave us the ability to “help ourselves.”  In my opinion if you don’t do anything to “help yourself,” then you’re being irresponsible with this life you’ve been given.  So, part of that responsibility, is to read good works and improve yourself.  And this book will help you do it.  Your self image, your relationship with others, goals, attitude, work and desire: these are Ziglar’s 6 steps.  Again, some of the content may seem fluffy or hokey, but there’s nothing to lose by giving it a shot.  And rest assured, you will walk away with at least one valuable lesson from this book.  But, like any book, you’ll have to spit out some of the bones and just swallow the meat.  For the most part, this is good and practical way to be youautographr best.  Give the book a read, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Sidenote: I ordered my copy from a used bookstore in Hattiesburg in 2012.  I was surprised to find it was an autographed copy by Zig, himself!! (Despite it was autographed to Rick and Debbi, whoever that is…)

The ‘Sport’ of BBQ

Mississippi summers are brutal.  They usually consist of high temps, high humidity, little wind and  long days.  So when the first hints of fall weather begin to sweep down, it does something great for the soul.  This weekend, we experienced some of that weather along with another soul-enriching experience—a bbq competition.

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Photo: Team Smok’n Magnolia

I had the privilege of competing in the 5th Annual BBQ Downtown Showdown in Hattiesburg this weekend.  Our Team, Smok’n Magnolia (John Burkes, Bo Hrom, Charlie Bevon, Jason Lee, JT Tisdale and myself), provided a stellar performance.  We participated in all four categories, which were chicken, brisket, pork butt/shoulder and pork ribs.  The highest we scored was in the Smoked Chicken category, where we placed 9th out of 28 teams (shout out to Charlie Bevon here; he produced outstanding smoked chicken).   This may not sound very impressive, however, in my opinion, this was quite a feat given the level of competition and strict rules of the event. Apparently, bbq competitors are a subculture with a lifestyle unique to this “sport.”  There were several travel trailers completely outfitted for smoking, grilling and frying ALONG WITH living quarters.  Furthermore, some of the smokers looked more complicated than a small nuclear reactor.  But in the end, it comes down to 1 simple principle: slowing cooking meat.  And that’s what is so great.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your equipment.  2 of our 4 smokers were basic Weber smokey mountains.  There were guys cooking on 50 gallon steel drums.  And they turned out some great BBQ.

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Photo: Selecting brisket and chicken for judging

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Photo: Our set up — two Weber smokey mountains and Jason’s red box smoker. Not pictured: Bo’s Myron Mixon

If you have any interest whatsoever in smoking and grilling, do yourself a favor and go to one of these events.  This was a serious KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) sanctioned event. The mission of KCBS (which I greatly appreciate) is “To recognize barbeque as America’s cuisine and celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbeque as a culinary technique, sport and art form.”

Also, Brian Saffle of Signs First did a great job in organizing this event.  It is great for Hattiesburg and for people who love to smoke meats.

Independent vs. Captive

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One of my most frequently asked questions is: “What is an independent agent?”   Generally, this takes the wind from my sails, as I subconsciously expect everyone to innately know the differences in insurance agency types and realize the benefits of both.  You know, general and riveting everyday knowledge that the public, at large, devotes all their spare time to understanding (heavy sarcasm implied).  In reality, very few people know the difference between an independent agency and a captive agency.  Nor do they want to.  Rather, it’s our job to help you understand the main differences in an easy-to-digest, succinct and interesting manner.  In so doing, you’ll see some of the benefits of what I believe are with the independent agent.

In short, there are two main types of insurance agencies:  Independent and Captives.  This post will give you a brief description and illustrate the benefits of each.

  • Captive Agencies:  Generally speaking, captive agencies are brands that you recognize (think Barm Fureau, Fate Starm,  and Helter, to name a few totally hypothetical, non-copyright-infringing examples).  These agencies are appealing because their brands and logos are easily recognizable. However, the local agent in your home town that represents these companies have few options for you.  For example, if your homeowners insurance dramatically increases, they only have their one company for your coverage.  Therefore, the agent is “captive” to that company; they can only sell that company’s approved product.
  • Independent Agencies:  Independent agencies have options.  Depending on the contracts they’ve acquired (see a short list of our companies here), we have several companies through which to shop your coverage.  AND, WE DO IT FOR YOU!  Give us the necessary info one time and we’ll find the best fit for your coverage and budget.  In the previous example, if your homeowners insurance increases with one of our companies, we have several others to try.  Furthermore, the companies we use are also FINANCIALLY STRONG companies—in short, they pay when you need it.

So what’s the trade off?  For the agent, the main difference is marketing (which really doesn’t benefit you, the consumer).  The big brands spend a lot of money sponsoring major athletic events and advertising during prime television viewing hours.  You recognize their names and logos for a reason; they do a great job at advertising.  (A notable exception is Travelers.  They are usually channeled through Independent agencies but also advertise a lot.  See a great Travelers ad here, just have tissues handy).  For the consumer, YOUR trade off is that you are limited in your options with the captive agent.

Give our list of carriers a view and you’ll see that you may recognize some of those brands too, plus, you’ll still get additional excellent options with us.  Even America’s extremely popular money-saving guru, Dave Ramsey, endorses the independent agent as his #1 money saving tip!  

If you haven’t already, give the independent agent try.  You may be surprised at your number of options.  Remember, it never hurts for US to shop your coverage…