VIENNA — The attractive building at the corner of Coffey and Third Streets in Vienna will no longer be a business location as Hutchison Bonds Insurance Loans, LLC is closing its doors in …
VIENNA — The attractive building at the corner of Coffey and Third Streets in Vienna will no longer be a business location as Hutchison Bonds Insurance Loans, LLC is closing its doors in Vienna.
The Hutchison Insurance Company will continue to operate, but from a home office at Brian Auten’s home in the Vichy area. The office in Vienna will be open when Vern Hutchison comes to town to check the mail and host visits with his many friends.
Hutchison closed the office at the end of 2020 as he is retiring from selling insurance, bonds, and loans. He says he’s keeping the building and will continue to use it to do things and will hang out there. But now he can go home whenever he feels like it. He has retired from some of his past endeavors.
For 30 years Hutchison was a bail bondsman. He and his father, Fay Hutchison, began the bail bonds business together and he says, “We made some money along the way, and lost some, too.” He says their clients generally were “good people who made some bad decisions.” They made people happy when they would do a bond to help get someone’s kid out of jail. He had a couple of people skip bond on him and run away, and he also had some funny experiences. It was good.
“I won’t write bonds anymore, but there are those who do,” he said, adding if he’s called he usually refers the potential clients to Tony Tynes who writes a lot of bonds in Maries County. Hutchison said he won’t miss the late night phone calls when he’d be roused from his bed to go to jails in Vienna or in Phelps, Pulaski, Osage and Gasconade counties. He was good at it and learned to know what to ask when he was called for help. The main thing was, “Where are you?” He laughs as he says the client’s first statement to him usually was, “Hey, come get me out of jail!”
He said he won’t miss the payday loan business much as it was not as profitable as he would have liked. “There are too many people who will rip you off,” he said. “They don’t have any money.” Plus, payday loans “get bad mouthed” because of the high interest rate they have to charge because so many people rip them off and don’t pay. Hutchison said there are legitimate customers, people who are down on their luck and maybe need a battery for their car to get to work or a couple of tires. He’d make the loan and they would work all week and when they got paid, they’d come and pay off the loan. Still, it was the bad ones who left a taint on it. He’d see them out in the community or in a restaurant and they’d look at him like he owed them money.
The Hutchison family has many irons in the fire, so to speak. Auten has taken over the insurance business for some time. Auten works hard, too on the Individual Supported Living (ISL) homes they have in St. James. These are buildings that look like regular houses and they fit well in the community. The residents have disabilities and staff is on site 24 hours a day.
Hutchison’s wife, Mary Hutchison, is an RN and a very hard worker. She’s the head of the operation of the Residential Care Facility (RCF) in St. James, which is a family business. “Mary’s a good hearted woman, and always taking care of people,” he said.
During his retirement, Hutchison will continue to take care of his cattle, of which he has a lot of. He does farm work in the morning, then gets cleaned up and comes to town to take care of the mail, pay bills, and he helps with the nursing home or whatever else needs to be done. He’ll still be busy.
He likes his building on Coffey Street and plans to keep it. It’s a comfortable meeting place where his many friends come to visit. This will continue. Some of those friends who are regular visitors include John Barnhart, Steve Deaton, Charlie Buntsma and Ron Thornton. Hutchison knows everybody and he is a consummate host.
There will be a new sign on his building, too. It will be a painting of his Venus Park Ranch brand. He plans to keep flying the American flag.
His family has lived in this area of Maries County for a very long time. His grandfather, Henry Hutchison, was born July 4, 1888. Henry always teased that on his birthday there was always a big party with fireworks. “He was a character,” Vern says.
He remembers his grandmother, Eve Hutchison, taking him to the Old Jail Museum when he was a young boy. There would be a lady outside the building doing needlework. He thinks it may have been Madolyn Baldwin, but he was too young to really know. His grandmother would pay a dime and they’d look at the collection inside the old jail.
His parents, Fay and Lorene, were life-long farmers and community members. They both died in 2011, his mother in the spring, and his father at Christmas-time.
Vern and Mary are close with their family. Their grandchildren are a great joy to them. Kay and Matt Helton’s one-year-old daughter, Lily Fay, is a delight and is their “Baby.” Brian and Abbey’s kids are Cooper, Chaney and Carty, and daughter, Sarah Buschmann’s kids are Allison and Hunter. They are all good people. Vern said they had a really nice Christmas holiday with all of the children and grandchildren sharing a T-bone steak dinner, a few gifts, and a nice family experience. “It was a good Christmas for me,” Hutchison said.
As he closed his business at the end of 2020, Hutchison’s was not the only Vienna business to turn out its lights for good. Weidinger Chevrolet closed on Dec. 31. And with the death of Harry Swarthout, Gold Nugget Rare Coins and Jewelry also closed. Harry sure is missed. The people who are used to doing business with these Vienna businesses will have to find new places to trade. They all were big Vienna supporters and will be missed.
Hutchison said Vienna will survive just fine. There are new businesses that will be opening, such as the marijuana cultivation place, and the Farmer’s Meat Market, both on Highway V. There’s a lot of activity in the old Chambers building on Highway 63 and even a new tattoo place. Jason Crum renovated the old Methodist Church and has a state-of-the-art gym with Eagle Fitness.
“Vienna will survive just fine. Its always been dear to me,” Hutchison said. “I’ve been here so long I can’t leave. I’m proud of the whole town.”