In 1873, J.M. Staebler was working as an insurance broker in the newly named village of Berlin, Ontario from an office in his own home on Queen Street.
By the First World War the population of Berlin was over 15,000 and the community came under pressure to change their name to avoid the appearance of disloyalty to the war effort. A contest was held and Lord Kitchener inspired the selection of the new name.
J.M. Staebler died in 1906 leaving the brokerage to his son, H.L. Staebler. The business was incorporated in 1923 and the third generation of Staeblers, Keith, soon afterwards joined the business.
A rather catchy slogan coined in 1935 has played its part and become a well known phrase in insurance circles in this community: “BE WISE – STAEBLERIZE”
By 1955, after a purchase of Carl Kranz Insurance Agency, the brokerage became the largest in the Kitchener area. It was also the year the Keith’s father died and Keith assumed the role of President. He remained in that position until 1963, when the business passed out of the family’s hands and was purchased by Messrs. Selwyn Sangster & Don MacPherson.
Staebler moved into a ‘new’ building at 618 King St. West in 1964, which became their home for over 40 years, until 2005 when the office relocated to Staebler Place at Victoria Street North & Coronet Lane, a long familiar Kitchener landmark!
In 1978 the business was sold to Lorne Philpott & Richard Forler. On Mr. Forler’s death in 1980 Lorne Philpott became the sole owner of the brokerage and President until his retirement in 1995. His son Stephen took the helm as President from 1995 thru 2006.
In 2007 Stephen moved out of the front line operations role and into the role of Chairman. The mantle of responsibility for the operations then transferred to Kim Philpott, President.
After Kim and Stephen retired in at the end of 2018, the third generation of the Philpott family to take over the business was Kim and Stephen’s children, Russell and Joanna. Russell took on the role of Executive Vice President and Joanna took on the role of President, and the brokerage continues to grow alongside the community.
Many things have changed since 1873, when Kitchener was Berlin, and King Street was a dirt track running between two villages. Service is still of great value to our society – that has not changed. What has not changed at Staebler is the understanding that the link between community and company IS service.