In a business like the insurance industry, a personal touch can be the key to success.

That’s especially true in a small town, where being local with local roots can make all the difference.

The Gridley State Farm agency, owned by Maria Topete, is a great example of that kind of local focus.

Topete, a Live Oak High School graduate, is preparing to celebrate five years in her business.

The agency features the usual array of insurance and financial products, with a few twists: the agency also works with lenders on home financing.

Topete hopes the convenience of being able to get your mortgage and homeowners insurance in the same place will be a nice selling point.

Topete is assisted by Eric Vasquez and her boyfriend, Leo Moran.

On a recent midweek afternoon, the agency was buzzing, with a number of customers in and out.

Topete worked in customer service after college, and decided to try  insurance after being told she’d be good at it.

She feels she’s found her calling.

“It’s great to be able to be there for a customer when they need you,” Topete said with a smile. “You can be their hero in their time of need.”

The Maria Topete State Farm agency is located at 1487 State Highway 99 in Gridley.