NORTH SYRACUSE - Eastern Shore Associates Insurance (ESA) has been growing its Syracuse-area work force since moving its local office from the town of Camillus to the village of North Syracuse in February.
The independent insurance agency hired two new employees for the North Syracuse office, and one worker transferred there from the firm's Watertown location. Three more employees moved to North Syracuse from ESA's headquarters in Fulton.
A total of 13 employees work at the new North Syracuse location, which is at 401 S. Main St. That's up from seven who were in Camillus.
"It gave us enough square footage for us to move in here and give us some room to grow," says ESA President Martha Murray, who splits her time between North Syracuse and Fulton. "It was perfect for what we needed."
The North Syracuse office is about 4,400 square feet, according to Murray. She says it is larger than ESA's former Camillus location, but does not know that previous office's exact size.
The Camillus office was located at 5415 W. Genesee St. It was in a predominantly medical building without any walk-in traffic, Murray says.
ESA wanted its new location to have better visibility, she adds. So it leased the space in North Syracuse, which is on the corner of South Main Street and Wells Avenue East. The office is in a building owned by FJM Office Corp., according to the website of the Onondaga County Office of Real Property Tax Services.
"We decided that we wanted to have a place with more foot traffic," Murray says. "It's sitting right in the middle of North Syracuse, and the visibility for the building is wonderful. We have a very large sign that's out in front so that it makes it even more visible."
Another of the new office's advantages is that it has a large parking lot with about 30 spaces, according to Murray And several of the insurance agency's employees who live in the Cicero-North Syracuse area now work close to home, she says.
ESA's employees performed cosmetic work on the North Syracuse offices interior before the agency moved in, Murray adds. They had to work quickly, as the agency only took control of the space Feb. 1 and had to move in by Feb.23.
"We're an employee-owned organization, so we all pitched in to do the things that we could do," Murray says. She did not have a cost estimate for work performed, since much of it was done internally.
The larger office handles a range of business and personal insurance: property, liability, automobile, boat, farm, recreational vehicle, workers' compensation, and bonds. It had only dealt with personal-lines of insurance when it was in Camillus.
The office generally covers an area stretching north to Watertown and east to Camden, where ESA has another office. Its territory continues south to Cortland and west to Phoenix.
ESA is headquartered at 101 Cayuga St. in Fulton. In addition to its North Syracuse of fire, it also has branches in Oswego, Pulaski, Phoenix, Camden, Waterloo, Rochester, and Walworth.
The agency employs a total of 64 people. About 25 of them work in Fulton.
Murray declined to share ESA's revenue for 2011. But the agency is targeting 5 percent growth this year, she says.
"The market has been pretty soft in the insurance industry for quite a few years, but we do see some tightening this year," she says. "It does make companies take a look at their insurance when their prices start inching up a little bit, so we get our foot in the door a little bit more."
In addition to insurance, ESA offers financial planning and risk-management services.