Carrie Rengers

M&M Insurance owner calls off sale to Wood-Dulohery Insurance

Jim Newhouse and his vintage cars will remain at M&M Insurance, which he decided he wasn’t ready to sell.
Jim Newhouse and his vintage cars will remain at M&M Insurance, which he decided he wasn’t ready to sell. The Wichita Eagle

The closing of M&M Insurance’s sale to Parsons-based Wood-Dulohery Insurance got pushed back a month, which was enough time for M&M owner Jim Newhouse to reconsider things.

“Well, I killed the deal,” he says.

“I may be 85, but I don’t feel like I’m 85, and I’m not ready to retire,” Newhouse says. “I just couldn’t do it.”

In August, Newhouse told Have You Heard?

that he figured it was probably time to sell.

With the extra time before the deal closed, though, he got to figuring something else.

Why do it?

“I don’t have anything to do if I don’t come to work,” Newhouse says. “I don’t golf. I don’t gamble. … I come to work, and I enjoy it.”

He broke the news to Wood-Dulohery management in person.

“I went down to their office, and I told them I was sorry, I just couldn’t sell it,” Newhouse says.

“They were very disappointed, and they tried to talk me into changing my mind, but I already had my mind made up. I’m just going to keep it a family business.”

Wood-Dulohery president Bob Wood says he has “to respect that he’s been there a long time.”

“He needs to be comfortable when the time comes,” Wood says of Newhouse.

“It was a great opportunity. May still be. You never know.”

Wood says he’s not sure if he’ll explore other opportunities for entering the Wichita market.

“Haven’t really crossed that bridge,” he says. “If an opportunity arose, we’d be all ears.”

With no sale, that means M&M’s attention-getting cars will remain in the second-floor windows at the business at 1700 E. Douglas.

The building was built in 1930 for a Studebaker dealership. Newhouse rotates four vintage automobiles – Model As, not Studebakers – in the windows and has car photos in other parts of the building.

There’s another bonus with not selling, Newhouse says.

“I just cheated the government out of a lot of money.”

He says he doesn’t feel that clever about it, though.

“They get it in the end anyway.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers