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He's bringing his business back home

There's still a strong paint smell in Grant Beyl's new office, but he's happy to be back in Farmington. The office is located at 20700 Chippendale Avenue, Suite 9.

After eight years, Grant Beyl is bringing his business back to Farmington

On Oct. 1 Beyl opened a Thrivent Financial office in the Tamarack Ridge shopping center on Highway 3. After eight years away, the move is a return to the city where Beyl started out 20 years ago with a home office.

For Beyl, the homecoming is about reconnecting to the community where he started and about making his business more visible to the people he serves. The shorter commute is pretty nice, too.

Beyl started working with Aid Association for Lutherans, one of two companies that would eventually merge to form Thrivent, largely out of necessity 20 years ago. He had been laid off from a corporate accounting job at Sperry-Uniysys, the result of a downturn in the defense industry. He had an insurance policy with AAL, so, he called his representative.

"The next thing I knew I was working for them," Beyl said.

He spent his first 12 years or so working from a home office, meeting with clients around their kitchen tables. But when AAL merged with Lutheran Brotherhood eight years ago to form Thrivent, the new company moved to centralize and, Beyl said, to get away from the mom-and-pop image that came with those in-home meetings. Beyl moved into an office in Burnsville with three other Thrivent teams. That arrangement worked for eight years, but with the lease there up in October, he and the other teams started looking for other options. They talked about getting back to their communities.

Ultimately, three of the four teams moved out of Burnsville. In addition to Farmington there are new offices in Lakeville and Eagan.

The new location should be more convenient for some of Beyl's customers. But it won't change what the business does. The four people in the Farmington office will offer investment services and insurance, among other things.

"We do more than just the Lutheran households now," Beyl said. "We cater to everybody's needs."

It's a job that seems to suit Beyl well. For the past four years Twin Cities Business magazine has named him one of the top 100 wealth managers in the Twin Cities.

For Beyl, it's about connecting with people. When stock prices plummeted in 2008, he was on the phone constantly to let people know what was happening with their money, and to encourage them to stick things out. People appreciated the reassurance, and when the market recovered, Beyl said, referrals started coming in.

"I like to help people," Beyl said. "I think that makes a big difference in this business."

Beyl officially opened the Farmington office Oct. 1, though things have been a little hectic in the beginning. There were several days of trying to put files away and get things in the right place, even as they ran the office. There is still some decorating to do and some signage to put up, and the office still smells of paint and carpet glue. But Beyl is happy with the way things have gone so far. As he settles in, he hopes to be an asset to the community.

"Hopefully we can bring back to Farmington a lot of business," he said.

Thrivent Financial will hold an open house and ribbon cutting from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 4.