EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 9, 2013

Landmark Port business to move, expand

NEWBURYPORT — Chase & Lunt Insurance, a fixture in the downtown for over a century, is moving to a new location near the city’s industrial park that will allow it to expand and provide better parking and access for its customers.

The insurance company is expecting to move into its new facility at 65 Parker St. around the end of 2013.

Jay Howlett, who has owned the firm since 2006, said the decision to leave the State Street location was a tough but necessary call.

“Emotionally, it was a bit of a difficult decision for us,” he said, noting the company’s 134-year presence in Newburyport’s downtown. “But we simply outgrew that space.”

Chase & Lunt has occupied its distinctive location in a brick building at the corner of State and Essex streets for about 40 years. In the past decade, Chase and Lunt has expanded from 16 employees to 26 employees, Howlett said, and the 3,700-square-foot building was getting tight.

“We’re doubled up in here,” he said.

Parking has also been an issue. The business is located in the heart of State Street, where onstreet parking is in high demand, and the city’s parking lots are a block or so away.

“It’s difficult for our employees to find parking,” he said, adding that the new location will solve that issue.

“We think it will be better for clients; they will be able to find ample parking,” he said.

Howlett said the plan to move has been in the works for some time. The business purchased the 65 Parker St. location last month. It’s a building with about three times as much space as the current location. It’s currently being renovated.

The State Street building is owned by Josiah Welch, a former owner of Chase and Lunt. It is currently being offered for lease.

Chase & Lunt is one of the city’s most charitable businesses, giving significant amounts of money every year to local causes, charities and organizations. Howlett said the business remains committed to Newburyport and to being “involved in the community.”

“There was never any doubt that we wanted to stay in Newburyport, it was just a matter of finding the right place,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to be in a great community.”

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