Vinton native Don Childress has moved his business, Coastal Insurance Planning of Va., to Vinton. It had been located in Salem but he decided to become part of what Childress sees as a revitalized Vinton. He said he has opted to join the growing community and “Eat, Shop, Play, and Live InVinton.”
The firm specializes in Medicare Supplement and Advantage Plans, life insurance and annuity planning.
The new address is 137 Gus Nicks Boulevard, although the entrance is near the Vinton Farmers’ Market. Childress was drawn to the location in what has become the booming downtown business district with Twin Creeks Brewing, Macado’s and other new restaurants, the upcoming Vinyard Station and William Byrd Apartments nearby, and the busy Farmers’ Market.
Childress grew up in Vinton, played “every kind of ball from T-ball to Little League” on the ball field at the Vinton War Memorial and learned to swim at the Vinton Municipal Pool. He and Vice Mayor Keith Liles were neighbors as children.
He played basketball and baseball for William Byrd High School with the Class of 1994, serving as basketball team captain in his senior year.
Vinton Assistant Town Manager Pete Peters played basketball with Childress at William Byrd.
“I feel that I got to know Donald over our three years or so on the team pretty well through the many practices, school bus rides traveling to games and at team camps,” says Peters. “He was always such a sincere person, a great teammate and a friend to anyone he seemed to meet. The great thing is that no matter how long has passed between running into Donald over the years from time to time, he has always been the same sincere and down to earth teammate I knew 25-plus years ago. I am delighted to hear the news that he is moving his business to town.”
Childress went on to play basketball at Emory and Henry, where he majored in Business Management, graduating in 1998. After college, he worked in retail, managing Finish Line locations in Johnson City, Tenn., and Charlotte. He then turned his focus to the insurance business, working for AmeriLife from 2001 to 2008. In 2009, he ventured out on his own with Coastal.
He returned to live in Vinton in 2001 and now wants to offer his services “to the people right here in Vinton. This is a great opportunity in a community where lots of people already know me.
“We are growing and expanding and want to provide our agents and clients with a beautiful office in a growing and pleasant community” is the message.
Childress and his wife, Delaney Johnson (a 1995 graduate of Lord Botetourt), have a son, two daughters, and a granddaughter between them.
Their new office is now open for business with hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment after 3 p.m. and on Saturdays— although more often they visit clients and potential clients in their homes.
Childress describes Coastal Insurance Planning of Va. as “a full-service insurance agency dedicated to helping seniors make informed decisions on their Medicare Supplement Plans, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. We offer plans with carriers such as Aetna, Humana, Cigna, Anthem, United Healthcare/AARP, Mutual of Omaha, Medico, Equitable, and many other carriers.”
Childress says that Coastal has some of the top agents in Southwest and Central Virginia, all thoroughly trained and licensed in the state of Virginia. In fact, they are associated with 45-50 agents throughout Virginia with several in West Virginia and North Carolina, serving an estimated 3,500-4,000 clients through those agents. Clients are not charged by Coastal for their professional services.
“We strive to offer our clients the best plans available to them at the most affordable rates,” Childress says. “Not only do we provide great Medicare benefit plans, but our agents provide exceptional customer service to all of our clients. If our client feels they may qualify for Low Income Subsidy/Extra Help Benefits, we are able to help them apply online to see if they are able to get approved with Part D Prescription Drug Extra Help benefits. These benefits are a huge help for clients with low income.”
Childress wants to educate people about their choices. He says he likes to keep things simple for clients, give them options, and let them decide what best meets their needs– without pressure.
The company not only provides Medicare benefit plans, but also offers final expense/life policies as well as 401K rollover/annuity plans for clients who are retiring or want to invest in an annuity plan.
Childress also works as a marketing agent assisting independent agents in getting started in the insurance business with training and office space.
Childress and his company have earned several awards in their years in business including the Aetna Front Runners Achievement for Outstanding Commitment to Aetna Medicare Members award, the VIP Award for Outstanding FMO Production with Carilion Clinic Medicare Health Plan, and the VIP Award for Outstanding Group Production with Carilion Clinic Medicare Health Plan.
Annette Patterson, founder and president of The Advancement Foundation (TAF) and the renowned Gauntlet Business Program and Competition, has asked Childress to speak to students in the 2019 Gauntlet program to share how he became an entrepreneur. They became acquainted when she helped Coastal locate and acquire the new office space in Vinton.
Childress says opening his own business came about as a result of a discussion with a co-worker when employed with another company, who asked him if he could see himself “doing this 10 years down the road,” not in respect to the insurance business, but working for someone else rather than on his own.
While he previously had no intention of starting up a business, that question had a great impact and snowballed into his business today— “it happened by chance, lots of hard work, lots of long hours in the beginning, learning how to research the market, through trial and error, and even patience,” say Childress and Johnson.
The business started out in a bedroom turned into an office.
Johnson is the office manager. After high school, she worked in insurance, raised her children in North Carolina, then moved back home, met Childress, and “low and behold, here we are.”
“D.C. and Delaney not only live in, but now have relocated their business to Vinton,” said Vinton Facilities and Programs Director Chasity Barbour. “Their staff is always positive, upbeat and will be great advocates for the Town of Vinton. I think their living, working and playing in Vinton speaks highly of our town and I look forward to working with them both on events.”
They are planning an open house for their clients and the community later on in the spring, along with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce President Justin Davison says it was exciting to hear the news of the new business in Vinton.
“I think anytime that someone sees the value of doing business in Vinton and brings it here, it makes me smile,” said Davison. “In this particular case Donald is returning home to Vinton which makes it even more special. The Chamber and I can’t wait to work with him and his team.”
More information on Coastal Insurance Planning of Va. is available by calling 540-404-3098. You can also check out the Facebook page at Coastal Insurance Planning of VA.