Sweethearts now at the helm of Warwick family business
A NEW name marks and exciting business venture for two high school sweethearts, but Hayley McKenzie Horne has been doing this job since she was seven years old.
When the time came for Warwick Peter McKenzie to retire, there were two people he could trust with the loyal clients he built over the past 27 years since starting Darling Downs Insurance Brokers with business partner Paul Munson.
On Friday, Mr McKenzie left his office on 70 Grafton St for the last time knowing everything was in capable hands.
Mr McKenzie's daughter Hayley McKenzie Horne and her husband Nathan Horne are the bright young couple at the helm of a business that has been around Warwick for decades.
Operating under a new company name 'NH Insurance' the pair will act as authorised representatives of Darling Downs Insurance Brokers.
But Mrs McKenzie Horne wants clients to know it's going to be business as usual.
"They are clients I have looked after for years now with dad," she said.
For as long as she can remember, Mrs McKenzie Horne has been helping out in the office that has become like a "second home" for her.
"I have been around these offices since I was seven years old," she said.
On holidays and weekends, Mrs McKenzie Horne would help out with filing and odd jobs for pocket money.
But when she turned 17 and became a full-time employee of Darling Downs Insurance Brokers it wasn't long before she was breaking into the big leagues.
"I think I started out as a receptionist but it was really only 12 months until I was doing domestic insurance," she said.
A few years and a couple of kids later, Mrs McKenzie Horne is back in the office and forging an exciting new path with the Moree man she married.
"It's not something we ever thought we would do but it's exciting and a bit daunting," Mrs McKenzie Horne said.
Mr Horne is also no stranger for the company, having worked for Darling Downs Insurance Brokers for a number of years.
The pair, who met in high school in Warwick, said they had big shoes to fill but were looking forward to the new chapter.
"I am very proud of dad and Paul - to think they started from nothing have grown a really successful business. I really look up to dad and how hard he worked," Mrs McKenzie Horne said.