Jimi Honochick didn’t intend to mirror his father’s life and career as a traveler and then insurance agent, but it seems to be turning out that way.
His father, Jim, was born in the Lehigh Valley, but described himself as a corporate nomad living in Atlanta and Mississippi while traveling the world for business. Feeling he was missing too much time with his family, the elder Honochick, now 61, took advice from his brothers who worked in the insurance industry in the Lehigh Valley.
They trumpeted the region as a great place to raise a family and running an insurance agency as a great career, so Jim acquired the Yutz-Merkle Agency in Stroudsburg, a stone’s throw away from his parents and brothers, and moved his wife and two sons to the Poconos.
Ten years later he acquired the Lehigh Agency in Bethlehem, bringing his business even closer to his family.
Jimi Honochick started on a similar path, with wanderlust taking him away from the Greater Lehigh Valley to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He lived in Los Angeles, New York and Delaware working on game shows and reality TV.
But with a wife and three children, the 34 year old was beginning to see the appeal of living closer to family and working in an industry that could help him be active at home and in the community.
Jimi’s uncles also talked to him about the joy of working as insurance agents in the area and convinced him he should give it a try.
“We were all together for Thanksgiving 2019 and all my uncles are involved in the insurance industry. Hearing them all talk about being involved in the community and raising a family here got me thinking,” the younger Honochick said.
First, Jimi talked to his wife, Patricia and she agreed to the change.
“With the pandemic we were already pretty set on moving and the Lehigh Valley had a lot to offer,” he said.
He then approached his father, who was starting to think about retirement, about moving back to the Lehigh Valley and joining the agency with the goal of eventually taking it over. He thought his father would be thrilled at the notion.
“My dad actually discouraged me,” he said. “Right up to the day before I resigned he was on the phone asking me ‘are you sure?’”
His father worried about whether the insurance industry would be the right fit for Jimi. His other son, John, had already tried it and found that it wasn’t for him. He was concerned that Jimi, after living in Los Angeles and New York and working in the entertainment industry, would find working at a hometown insurance office boring.
It had been an adjustment for him when he left a high-ranking position with a global firm to operate his own insurance office, he said.
“I went from a big corporate office in the kind of company where you could pick out the art you wanted for your décor, to a little office by the train tracks where you had to stop talking when the train came through,” Jim said. “It was an ego check.”
But Jimi disagreed.
“I think the Valley has so much to offer it will keep it exciting for us. We’ve found there’s a microcosm here that has a lot that big cities have and there’s great restaurants,” he said.
So now for Jimi the next adventure begins, back at home at his father’s side, learning the business and reacquainting himself with his hometown as he prepares to be the next generation of Honochick in the family’s insurance agency.