As the troops began to return home from World War II, Howard Noble was driving the Creemore countryside, knocking on doors and talking to local people about protecting their property with insurance. It was a tough go in the winter, because rural roads weren’t ploughed back then. Cell phones were decades in the future, and there were few pay phones along the country lanes. But no matter how difficult it might be to reach a client or a prospect, Howard operated on a philosophy that the company has steadfastly adhered to since: “One customer at a time, and don’t move on until you’ve taken care of them.”
From the back roads of Nottawasaga Township, to the little Avening general store, to the first office in Creemore, to the 2006 opening of the Barrie office, Noble Insurance has flourished and expanded. It has extended its signature expertise and client service standards to people throughout the greater Georgian Bay region. One employee recently retired after 45 years — a testimony to the sense of continuity and confidence the company has established in the community for more than six decades. Friendly service, old-fashioned values and honest commitment to customers have remained the guiding principles.
In 1945, Howard bought the small general store in Avening, a village south of Stayner. The business became the hub of the community, the place to go for groceries, gas, mail, cement, fencing — and insurance. He couldn’t have managed without his wife, Vivian. As a stenographer, she could “take shorthand faster than I could think,” said Howard. His son Wayne worked alongside his parents, and the family lived in quarters above the store. Wayne left home to study Economics at Waterloo Lutheran University (now Sir Wilfrid Laurier University), but returned to the family business in 1966.
In 1985, Wayne Noble took over the business and became president of the company. “There are so many automated options out there now,” he says, “but I can’t count the number of times people have told me how important it is to have a face behind their insurance. We’ve been bricks and mortar in this community for almost 65 years.”