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.”