ROCKLAND — The oldest continually-owned family business in the city has become part of another company.

E.C. Moran Insurance Company became a wholly-owned branch of Atlantic Insurance & Benefits on Jan. 1. Patti Moran Wotton, the fourth generation to own and operate the family-run business, is stepping away after 45 years.

Founder Edward C. Moran.

 

The Moran Insurance office will relocate in mid-February from its 425 Main St. location in Rockland to 4 Bartlett Lane in South Thomaston. Tori Manzi, who has worked at the office for the past 18 years, will remain with Atlantic.

“It’s a good fit,” Moran Wotton said.

Moran Wotton said customers should see little change and there will be additional insurance carriers to serve customers. She noted the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that businesses run and few people stop in person to the office to make payments. And documents are now largely signed online.

The 425 Main St. building is under contract to be sold. Details are not being released until the sale is completed. The building has a lower level heated garage, the Main Street retail space, two floors above and an attic. The third floor was converted by her father in the 1960s to a residence where he lived.

U.S. Rep. Carl Moran.

Moran Insurance was founded in 1896 by Edward C. Moran and was located where Camden National Bank is now located. He operated the business in the back of his father’s (an Irish immigrant) tailor shop. The family purchased 425 Main St. in 1926. The insurance company founder’s son, Edward (Carl) Moran was elected to two terms in Congress (1932 and 1934) and helped create the original Rockland city charter and served on the City Council. The former Congressman took over the family business in 1940 and continued as president of the company until his death in 1967.

His son Paul Moran took over the business before eventually turning the company over to his daughter Patti. Paul Moran died in 2017.

The family has a history of public service. In addition to Carl Moran’s service to the city and country, Patti Moran Wotton has served the city. She served two three-year terms on the Rockland City Council (1986 and 2002). She also represented the city on the regional school board during the conversion from SAD 5 to RSU 13 and served on the Planning Board and Personnel Board.

The city named a street in the Industrial Park about 30 years ago as Moran Drive to recognize the family’s service.

Paul Moran

Moran Wotton said she wanted to get away from the 9-to-5 work routine that she has had for 45 years but acknowledged it was difficult to see the end of the era. She noted that during this past Christmas she was fielding many calls from customers with claims stemming from the wind and rain storm. She said she seldom took vacations, maybe once every two or three years.

“The hard part is that I’m retiring and it ends four generations of my family running the business,” she said.

Moran Wotton and her husband Sherwood Wotton Jr.’s two children Haley and Nikolai went in other career paths — one a teacher and the other a computer programmer.

The change in ownership passes the baton of the oldest continually-owned family business in Rockland to E. L. Spear.

E. L. Spear was founded in 1900 by Everett L. Spear. It was originally opened as a general construction firm and building supplies store at 615 Main St. He was a mason and built many buildings in the Rockland area, some of which form today’s iconic Main Street, the company states on its website.

Office workers in 1947.

A sign outside the insurance office in the 1930s.

Photo postcard showing the storefront of P. Moran Co. Tailors and E. C. Moran Insurance, 306 Main St., Rockland, circa 1908 – 1910. Photo courtesy of Rockland Historical Society