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Finding the recipe for small business success depends on the ingredients you cook with. For one entrepreneurial couple who made the Metroplex their home nearly seven years ago, their latest venture will bring their Lone Star State investment full circle. Johnnell and Rolonda Worthen will be opening Brightway, The Worthen Agency insurance office in Forney January 31.
As the owners and operators of Southern Social Eatery in Kaufman County, the Worthens, both 38, know the secret ingredients to a well-done business in Dallas-Fort Worth. For this native South Florida duo, it all begins with the first bite. Johnnell, their restaurant’s chef, began heating things up in his grandmother’s kitchen when he was only eight years old. It was that homecooked process of learning how to create step-by-step that has landed them where they are nearly three decades later.
“Johnnell walked me through how to make gravy on a phone call when I was 15,” Rolonda said. “Today, the menu at the restaurant is inspired by Johnnell’s grandmother. Being able to provide what our neighbors here in Forney need is just a calling.” Whether it be one of the “Eatery” favorites like a Salisbury Steak, Smothered Pork Chops or even Braised Ox Tail, or possibly a quote on a life or auto insurance policy, the Worthen’s adventure across the south has resulted in learning how to savor what’s important and what it takes to be there for their neighbors.
High school sweethearts since their freshman year at South Florida’s “South Fork” High School, the Worthens have been providing a smorgasbord of services to help serve their neighbors throughout their careers. Owners of their restaurant, as well as Worthen Catering, Cutter’s Gentleman’s Lounge Barbershop and JJRJ Logistics, the Worthen’s found their inspiration to launch their insurance franchise thanks to one of the area’s most active realty offices. The Worthen Realty Team, complete with 16 agents, has serviced East Texas and beyond for the past five years.
“It was just a logical move for us to provide insurance services to our realty customers,” Rolonda said. “With small business really heating up, we wanted to be sure that we could provide what our customers needed, when they needed it.”
Both graduates of the Business Management program at Florida’s Indian River State College in 2007, the Worthens’ have spent more than 15 years growing their catering and realty businesses. And now, with a full staff operating at both and a base of customers that keep coming back for seconds, the Worthens are excited about opening their insurance agency to help streamline the realty process for their future home buyers. Ranked one of the best suburbs to move to in America in a Homes.com 2021 survey, Forney has become a hotbed for business and families.
“We started our catering business when we were fresh out of high school in Port. St. Lucie, Florida,” Rolonda added. “And now, here we are in North Texas with our four children, our businesses and a hometown we are proud. Right place at the right time.” Administrators of Forney-oriented Facebook groups for small business and first-time home buyers, more than 11,000 people are following the Worthens and the blueprint they are creating to live, work and play in Forney.
Brightway, The Worthen Agency offers customized Home, Flood, Auto, Boat, Condo, Renters, Personal Articles, RV, Motorcycle and Umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance companies. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST) and Saturday/Sunday by appointment. Visit them at their office at 724 East U.S. Highway 80, Suite 200, in Forney, online at BrightwayWorthen.com or call 214-764-9060.
Brightway’s corporate office staff provides expertise and support in areas including customer service, technology, accounting, marketing, distribution and business analytics. In addition, Brightway handles carrier relations and appointments, as well as support with personnel hiring, licensing, onboarding, training and retention. The company’s signature after-the-sale service empowers Agency Owners, like Johnnell and Rolonda, to focus on new business sales and provide customers the personalized service they deserve.
About Brightway Insurance
Established in 2008, Brightway grew to become one of the largest privately-owned property/casualty insurance distribution companies in the U.S. with more than 300 franchises in 34 states and over $900 million in annual premiums. Recently, Brightway’s success led to a private equity investment that has infused the company with financial and human capital, and data and analytics access, to accelerate growth and deliver new and exciting market opportunities.
Brightway produces winning outcomes for franchisees and their customers by offering access to customized coverage solutions from a range of insurers paired with full back office and marketing support. This winning model allows agents and producers to focus on addressing the needs of their customers to become trusted advisors and grow their businesses.