When H.S. Shaffer started selling Insurance out of the Shaffer Building in Merced, little did he know that it would be a business that stayed within his family for 5 generations. Judge Shaffer was born outside of Merced County. His family wanted him to get an education, and back then, the nearest High School was in San Francisco. So, Shaffer packed up and moved north for a while. After High School, Shaffer decided he wanted to pursue a career in law. He went to the best law school there is, Harvard Law.
When Shaffer returned home to Merced, he became a District Judge. But that didn’t stop him from being busy in and around Merced. Judge Shaffer and his brother C.R Shaffer opened Shaffer Insurance, located in Downtown Merced. Just a walk from the courthouse.
In the year 1934, Shaffer hired his son-in-law to help with the family Insurance business. John J. Fluetsch had married H.S. Shaffer’s daughter, Helen. It didn’t take long for John to work up the ranks. By the end of 1934, Shaffer Insurance became “Shaffer and Fluetsch Insurance.”
John J. held the reigns, and helped Shaffer and Fluetsch Insurance grow. Soon, the name Shaffer would be dropped from this Independent Insurance Agency. With the name “Fluetsch Insurance” now it’s title, it opened the door for the next generation to start their careers.
In 1949, John hired a young fella by the name of Ralph Busby. Ralph, a recent college graduate, joined the team and made an immediate impact. Soon after Ralph was hired, John’s son Peter Fluetsch started his journey in Insurance. The team of Ralph and Peter has since left a lasting mark on the Merced Community. So much so, that the name had grown once again, to “Fluetsch and Busby Insurance”.
For many years, Peter and Ralph helped build up Merced to what it is today. Pete would dress up as Santa Clause and deliver small toys to children around the county. Fluetsch and Busby Insurance helped write the bond to get the first McDonalds in Merced. Peter wrote the bond for the Exchequer Dam. They both had to watch the Merced Hotel burn down in the 1980’s. They both helped the community when Merced flooded in the 80’s and 90’s.
Pete and Ralph were a great team. And soon, this small Insurance agency started to gain some family members. Pete hired 3 of his 5 kids, Jeannie, Christine, and Doug. He even brought on one of his 6 brothers, Chris Fluetsch, from Stockton. They took notes and watched the leaders, because they knew, one day it would be their family business.
In 2012, after 100 years of business, we celebrated. The laughs and joy as Pete and Ralph walked around and greeted people who they had done business with… for 50 years. Families whose grandparents originally bought Insurance from Judge Shaffer himself. History filled the room, and you could feel the nostalgia. Pete and Ralph were doing a victory lap, as the new leaders, Jeannie Fluetsch-Bliss and Doug Fluetsch enjoyed the view.
Today, you can find us a block away from where Judge Shaffer first started, on West 18th Street in Merced. Doug has been the President, and Jeannie is the Vice President and Office Manager. Doug is just as involved as the leaders before him, serving on the Hospital Board, working with the city on various downtown projects, and even playing Santa Clause…. Once. Jeannie sees the day to day operations of over 15 employees, who all have a positive, helping take on Insurance.
Fluetsch and Busby Insurance isn’t a normal Insurance Agency. Insurance isn’t all we think about. Our first and foremost concern, is the community and the relationships within it. Clients who have been clients since before World War 1. Neighbors who have been neighbors since the Great Depression. Friends who have been friends since The Beatles topped the charts. And Fluetsch and Busby Insurance has been right there with you along the way. We aren’t just insurance, we’re part of your family.