Morris & Garritano feels an enduring passion to ensure local businesses and families are adequately prepared for their future. Our agency’s dedication is deeply rooted in the past. Thanks to our 131-year history in the community we serve, our team understands and respects the value of service with integrity. You are invited to learn more about the trailblazers, their families and shared local history that define who we are today.
In 1885 Archibald McAlister opened the “Lands, Loans, Rents & Insurance” office on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo, California. He quickly earned the community’s trust as a kind and upright practitioner. After being in business for sixteen years, Archibald was invited to participate on the committee to “bond and secure options from which a site could be selected” for the future Cal Poly.
A decade later, San Luis Obispo elected him to serve as Mayor. This same year the agency gained his son-in-law, Ernest Vollmer. Vollmer graduated early from UC Berkeley after President Roosevelt selected him to serve as vice-consul in China.
After a decade of collaborating with Vollmer, Archibald retired and Vollmer continued his tradition all while serving as an inheritance tax appraiser for the County of San Luis Obispo. The integrity they shared established the foundation of our core principles today.
In 1927, Vollmer recruits Pete Bachino to the business from the Santa Maria oilfields. Pete loves people and they respond in kind. His generosity and reliability serve as standards of excellence in the field today.
Fast forward to 1935 and Harry Morris enters the picture as a young field representative from the Hartford Insurance Company. Well respected and kind, Morris begins calling on Bachino and Vollmer.
In 1940, Vollmer decides to focus on ranching. Les Stockird of London and Lancashire Insurance joins the agency and the business becomes “Bachino & Stockird Insurance Brokers, Successors to Ernest Vollmer”. Stockird’s experienced underwriting skills enhance the agency’s technical expertise while Bachino’s outgoing personality lead to sales success.
While business is booming, all is far from well in the world. In the troubled years of World War II, the agency defines its identity as a reliable port in the storm.
In the throes of World War II, a few courageous citizens tend and protect the properties of Japanese Americans living in internment camps. Among those who stand up for their friends and neighbors include the families of Ernest Vollmer, Pete Bachino and Les Stockird.
After the War, the next two decades focus on family. In 1948, Harry Morris moves his wife Anne and sons Greg and Michael to the Central Coast from San Francisco. The family quickly becomes an integral part of the community. Morris, best known for his courtesy and integrity, earns ownership in the agency when Lee Stockird retires. In the late 1950s, Pete Bachino’s son, Robert, joins the business after serving as an officer in the Navy and studying at Santa Clara University.
The Sixties start with tragedy. The agency is dedicated to supporting Cal Poly football. In 1960, an airplane carrying much of the Mustang team crashes. Pete Bachino is among the lives lost. This heartbreak is a catalyst for change and evolution within the agency.
Harry Morris and Robert Bachino now partner with new contributors to the business, starting with Marvin Dee. Dee is a former Hartford claims adjuster. Great with people, he builds the business with drive and purpose.
In 1964, Greg Morris returns to SLO after graduating from Santa Clara University. This same year the agency moves to the Sinsheimer Trust Building and becomes known as Morris & Dee Insurance.
By the early 1970s, Morris & Dee purchase land for new offices near the corner of Pacific and Santa Rosa Streets.
1975 welcomes two future owners, Phil Chew and Gene Garritano, to the growing agency. Chew oversees inside operations, and Garritano, fresh from Hartford’s executive training program, tackled sales.
Marvin Dee retires in 1986 and Phil Chew follows suit in 1989. The agency’s expanding staff outgrows their space on Pacific Street and moves into its current 21,000 square foot home at 1122 Laurel Lane under the name Morris & Garritano.
1994 brought the addition of another Morris to the company. Greg’s son, Brendan, came on board after graduating from Santa Clara University with a degree in Finance. His focus is to bring on new clients and continue to build the strong business relationships that Morris & Garritano have become known for. With Brendan assuming the role of CEO in 2012, Greg Morris and Gene Garritano are able to take a step back from running the day-to-day operations to focus on their clients and their families.
Kerry Morris, Greg’s daughter, joins the family company in 2002 after graduating from Santa Clara University and later takes on the role of COO. Over the next decade, Morris & Garritano continues to grow as a company and as a pillar in the community by supporting numerous organizations and serving on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, French Hospital, Rotary, EVC, and several other associations throughout the Central Coast.
After acquiring two accomplished insurance agencies, Neal-Truesdale in 2014 and Gray & Troy in 2015, Morris & Garritano has grown to over 105 employees. The company is proud to be seen as a trusted and thriving organization where people want to work.
The Morris & Garritano family was heartbroken by the passing of Greg Morris in February 2016. As a man so involved in the community and so beloved by its people, his loss was felt throughout the San Luis Obispo area. Greg’s dedication and passion continue to resonate throughout Morris & Garritano, driving the company to provide unparalleled service with integrity.
The agency gained another Principal when Dan Troy joined in 2015. Together with Gene Garritano, Brendan Morris, and Kerry Morris, the Board of Directors works faithfully to propel the agency forward by focusing on the needs of their clients, the well-being of their employees, and the development of their community. Since 1885 Morris & Garritano has supported the Central Coast as a trusted advisor, a friend, and a neighbor and will continue to do so for generations to come.