Fayetteville As someone who used to hide in the backyard when insurance agents would come knocking, the last thing Nick Roppo thought he’d be doing was working in the insurance business.
“I hated insurance agents! A lot of agents I knew back then were too persistent, they were overbearing,” Roppo said. “And I knew I never wanted to be like that when I first started – I wanted to be the nice guy. So that’s basically what I did.”
Roppo was born and raised in Eastwood and got his associates degree in accounting from the Central City Business Institute in Syracuse. He was working as an accountant in the late 1960s when his former brother-in-law told him how he had been offered an interview with Allstate insurance and announced he’d be going into the insurance business. A few days later, Roppo’s brother-in-law decided to back out of the interview but encouraged Roppo to go in his place.
“So I went in for the interview, and they said, ‘Hey Carl, how you doing?’ and I said, ‘I’m Nick, not Carl – he’s my brother-in-law and he decided he didn’t want to go into the insurance business, but I’d like to give it a shot,” Roppo said, smiling. “So they interviewed me and hired me on as an Allstate agent.”
He began his insurance career working in a booth at a local Sears store for two years, where he discovered that he had a knack for the business and quickly became one of Allstate’s most successful agents. It was around this time that Roppo decided he wanted to move into his own office, and he had heard that State Farm offered opportunities for independent contractors.
He applied to State Farm and was hired. In the early 1970s, State Farm had only one office in the entire Fayetteville-Manlius area – most of its local agents were located in and around the city’s northern suburbs. But Roppo, who likes a challenge, said he was eager to head east.