Valdosta Daily Times

February 9, 2014

Focus On

Kelly Barr State Farm

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The road that led Kelly Barr to opening a State Farm office is long and rich with experience.

Born and raised in Quitman, Barr set her sights on Florida State University’s vocal performance program after high school.

There, she studied opera, but a visit to her brother who was living in Nashville, Tenn., convinced her to move.

“Nashville was such an awesome place. I had to figure out how to get there,” said Barr.

She transferred to Belmont University in Nashville, ultimately earning a degree in music business.

After graduation, she worked on Nashville’s famed Music Row. With BME, she worked as a creative director, working with songwriters and pitching those songs to record labels.

She moved back home in 2004 to start graduate school at Valdosta State University for music education.

“I was just looking for a change. I got to a point in my life where I could keep working at Music Row or I could do something that helped more people.”

During the day, she’d take care of her ill grandparents in Quitman, while going to graduate school at night.

When her grandfather passed, she started having second thoughts about music education, deciding to study cosmetology.

“It has nothing to do with music, but it’s still in that creative vein,” she said. “It fulfilled that creative side of me, but it also gave me an opportunity to touch a lot of people’s lives.”

Kelly and her husband, Michael, had moved to Columbia, S.C., for Michael to pursue a master’s degree in jazz studies at the University of South Carolina.

There, she met a State Farm agent.

“She was telling me about a check she had delivered to a family where the father had passed away. She couldn’t bring this woman's husband back to life, but she could help her pay the bills ... That’s when I thought, wow, it would be amazing to provide that for somebody.”

Barr decided to take some time off to start a family, having her daughter, Dylan, and her son, Spencer.

But being a State Farm agent stayed on her radar. After working as an agent intern and training in Atlanta, she opened the doors of a State Farm office in Valdosta at the beginning of February.

She and her team offer a full range of insurance products: automobile, home, life, health and renter’s insurance, as well as retirement planning, vehicle loans and mortgages.

“A mortgage is the largest purchase most people make in a lifetime. If I can be there with them throughout that complicated, scary process, and make it a little less complicated, a little less scary, that’s exciting.”

Barr also has a passion for retirement planning.

“Coming from the service industry, most service-industry workers are working with people who are not providing retirement. If that’s something I can help with, that’s what brings me great joy.”

It’s been a circuitous route for Barr, one that arced from opera singing and the country music business all the way to insurance agent, but she’s happy with this route.

“Everything I’ve done up until now has truly prepared me for this experience. I cannot imagine being anywhere else but here.”

Kelly Barr’s State Farm office is located at 3310 Inner Perimeter Road, Suite A. It’s open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, and evenings by appointment. The office can be reached at (229) 244-2285.