There is something so special about living in a small town like New Smyrna Beach. From residents to business owners to visitors, there is a strong sense of community that holds us all together. A place where locals genuinely support locals, and the passion about protecting our little piece of paradise is at the top of everybody’s list.
It’s the type of small town where people stay actively involved, donating time and money, to better serve our community. If you have ever watched the children compete at the Kiwanis Fishing Derby at Manatee Park, or danced the night away at the annual Margarita Ball, maybe attended a Utility Commission meeting, or heck, even just driven east on State Road 44, then you are probably familiar with the name Buddy Davenport.
Buddy Davenport of State Farm Insurance
Buddy moved to New Smyrna Beach in 1974, after graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Pre-Law degree. He opened his State Farm office on November 15, 1975 and is now celebrating 47 years in business. What an achievement! Especially since the New York Times published an article on small businesses stating, “The average lifespan is eight and a half years.”
State Farm encourages their agents to participate in community outreach, and helps guide them to create a successful career by providing business advice and support along the way. Buddy followed the formula and continues to grow his company and his volunteer efforts year after year. It’s actually pretty impressive when you start to list the organizations and companies he is involved with on a regular basis.
Buddy Davenport’s Role in the NSB Community
When it comes to non-profits, the one he is most proud of is being a founding member and 2021 Chair of the Margarita Ball Society of Volusia County, which has raised millions of dollars in toys for underprivileged children in our community. He is a founding member of the Marine Discovery Center, an active supporter of Habitat for Humanity, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Daytona State College Foundation and donates to Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, gifting them with thousands of dollars in kitchen equipment to update the school’s cafeteria.
Buddy is an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Southeast Volusia, whose volunteers focus on changing the world one child and one community at a time, the Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach Elks Lodge, who support local veterans and children, and the NSB Shrine Club, whose focus is to raise awareness about Shriner’s Hospital for Children.
Staying involved in community affairs is just as important to him as giving back. He is currently the Vice-Chair of the Utilities Commission for the city of New Smyrna Beach, a board member for the AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach Foundation and was recently appointed by the governor to the Florida Inland Navigation District (F.I.N.D.) as a Commissioner for Volusia County.
Just like any business, Buddy had to recently adjust to the new way of life forced upon us by COVID-19. He, like the majority of businesses, closed their office to the public for several months, during which time he began connecting with customers virtually. His office also conducted a telephone outreach campaign to their current client base to check on them and offer help in any way they could. They did reopen their office after installing protective barriers and instituting a face-mask policy and limitation on the number of visitors that can enter at one time. The office is also sanitized regularly to keep employees and clients safe. Buddy received his vaccination as soon as he could and staff gets tested whenever necessary.
I asked Buddy to tell me something most people don’t know about him. He stated, “Probably my spiritual side. I have been a supporter and participant of churches here in NSB and also in my hometown of North Little Rock, Arkansas, assisting with prison ministries, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for hundreds of our less-fortunate members, and many other programs.”
Owning a business for 46 years is an accomplishment in itself, but I guess when you have a Fortune 500 company backing an individual who truly supports their community, it makes perfect sense. Thank you Buddy for everything you do for our community.