Northeast Times

A ‘neighborhood’ guy with his name on the sign

Mi­chael Primavera has lived in pretty much every River Wards neigh­bor­hood. Now, he's a busi­ness own­er in Fishtown, and he says he's fo­cused on giv­ing back to the com­munit­ies that shaped him. 

Mi­chael Primavera with his wife and kids.

Just call him the comeback kid.

He came back to his roots, that is. Mi­chael Primavera calls him­self a product of “the neigh­bor­hood” — not just one place, but a few.

He was born in Port Rich­mond, grew up in Kens­ing­ton, was a soc­cer star at North Cath­ol­ic High School, and now, has opened his own busi­ness in Fishtown, the Mi­chael J. Primavera Farm­ers In­sur­ance Agency, at 601 Bel­grade St. 

At his of­fice, which opened its doors on Nov. 9 for a com­munity open house, Primavera said, “I had ten friends on the same block, we had soc­cer games and foot­ball games all the time, we knew all our neigh­bors.” 

Primavera talks about grow­ing up in the River Wards — prac­tic­ally all of them — with the pride and warmth that’s typ­ic­al of the neigh­bor­hoods. His fam­ily lives in the North­east, but his twins go to day­care in Fishtown, at Kid­die Garden.

He re­min­isces about his days at Nativ­ity School, and play­ing sports at the Co­hox and Shissler re­cre­ation cen­ters. 

That sense of pride, com­munity, and love for sports has car­ried throughout Primavera’s ca­reer. He’s sponsored three loc­al golf tour­na­ments and donates to be­ne­fits throughout the neigh­bor­hood, par­tic­u­larly sports team events.

“To be able to give back to this neigh­bor­hood, it’s money be­ing put to good use,” he said. “I know what it was like when I was at North and we had to raise money to buy uni­forms.” Primavera said he loves the loc­a­tion of his in­sur­ance agency, and likes that it’s less busy than a big street like Gir­ard Av­en­ue.

“This is a more neigh­borly spot,” he said. “People are al­ways walk­ing up and down the street, I can walk across the street and not worry about leav­ing the door open.” 

Of start­ing his own busi­ness, Primavera said it’s a great risk, but he felt com­fort­able in his train­ing at the State Farm agency in Port Rich­mond.

“You’ve got to take a shot,” he said. 

But it seems like it’s all been worth it so far, with the way Primavera talks about be­ing able to help neigh­bor­hood folks. He said even if he can’t help people pur­chase in­sur­ance, maybe, at least, he can edu­cate them. 

“Even if people don’t have in­sur­ance but just have ques­tions, I want them to stop by,” he said. “If our rates are too high, I’ll refer people to an­oth­er friend [in the busi­ness]. I’m just try­ing to do nice stuff so people re­mem­ber me.” 

One gen­tle­man, he said, a fel­low North Cath­ol­ic alumni, stopped in­to Primavera’s shop but ended up pur­chas­ing in­sur­ance else­where, at Primavera’s sug­ges­tion, be­cause it was cheap­er. 

“But I re­ferred him, and he came back in­to my shop to say thanks,” Primavera said. “That makes it worth it.” 

Vis­it Primavera on­line at farm­ersagent.com/mprimavera, email him at farm­ersagent.com/mprimavera, or call 267-428-1655.  ••

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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