Jason Kocher’s father, Jerry, was an Indianapolis firefighter for 37 years. His family knows all about the life of a first responder, coming face-to-face with disasters. However, these past two years have been about tragedies Kocher is all too familiar with.
Starting Tuesday, this former well-known Indy restaurant chief will find himself cooking up success and rising from the ashes as he fires up Brightway, The Kocher Agency insurance office in Brownsburg.
Kocher’s previous claim to fame closed forever in the fall of 2020 after rioters protesting in the streets of Indianapolis smashed through the windows of Dick’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Downtown Indianapolis. For more than 15 years, Kocher owned and operated the popular Indy lunch spot.
Dick’s would survive six months after COVID first went mainstream in the U.S. in March 2020. “When all of the downtown office buildings were full of workers and the arenas were holding ball games, business was booming,” Kocher said. “Once COVID hit, those workers went home. The games then came to a halt, so the fans were gone, too. Even our catering side of the business went flat when in-person events were indefinitely canceled.”
But Kocher believes it was all about timing.
It was shortly after closing his restaurant that his father would begin his own battle with Leukemia. “With the restaurant closed, I had more time to help my dad with doctor’s visits and hospice care before he passed in March of last year,” Kocher said. “Then, I needed time to assess where I was and where would I be headed as far as my career.”
While handling debt and insurance issues in connection with both his business and father’s estate, Kocher, 49, was dealing with insurance companies on a regular basis. That’s when he took the first steps toward his new future.
“I always had my eye on working in the industry. I actually turned down an insurance job right out of college,” Kocher said. “As I met with insurance reps involving the damage at the restaurant, I really felt like that was for me. Getting out there and helping people find solutions to protect everything important to them seemed perfect. It’s customer service and that’s what I love to do. That’s when I did my research and reached out to Brightway.”
Kocher, his wife, Katie, and their two children have lived in Brownsburg for the past seven years. After driving thirty minutes to Downtown Indy every day for years, opening Brightway, The Kocher Agency in Brownsburg is a welcome change in both a shorter commute and a chance to truly invest in his hometown. “I’m now getting to coach my kid’s sports teams and that’s an investment I can now make that is a true privilege,” Kocher added.
Kocher has an athletic legacy in Indianapolis amateur athletics as a former prep swimmer for Warren Central High School. Interestingly enough, it would be a collegiate swimming scholarship to Henderson State University in Southern Arkansas that first exposed the former Bar-B-Q guru to the traditional southern fare. “Bar-B-Q is everywhere in the South! It’s the comfort food of choice,” Kocher said. A Business Administration major at Henderson State University, Kocher had a desire to open his own Bar-B-Q restaurant back home. “It was a success that helped me raise our family and led me to where I am today,” Kocher said. “Getting to serve my neighbors when they need help the most.”
Beginning Tuesday, Brightway, The Kocher Agency will open its doors at 554 Pit Road in Brownsburg. The agency offers customized Home, Flood, Auto, Boat, Condo, Renters, Personal Articles, RV, Motorcycle, Umbrella, and Life insurance policies from numerous insurance companies. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT) and Saturday/Sunday by appointment. Visit them online at BrightwayKocher.com or call 317-548-5352.
Brightway’s corporate office staff provides expertise and support in areas including customer service, technology, accounting, marketing, distribution and business analytics. In addition, Brightway handles carrier relations and appointments, as well as support with personnel hiring, licensing, onboarding, training and retention. The company’s signature after-the-sale service empowers Agency Owners, like Kocher, to focus on new business sales and provide customers the personalized service they deserve.
About Brightway Insurance
Established in 2008, Brightway grew to become one of the largest privately-owned property/casualty insurance distribution companies in the U.S. with over 300 franchises in 30 states and over $900 million in annual premiums. Recently, Brightway’s success led to a private equity investment that has infused the company with financial and human capital, and data and analytics access, to accelerate growth and deliver new and exciting market opportunities.
Brightway produces winning outcomes for franchisees and their customers by offering access to customized coverage solutions from a range of insurers paired with full back office and marketing support. This winning model allows agents and producers to focus on addressing the needs of their customers to become trusted advisors and grow their businesses.