Prudential's first satellite office turns 135
Prudential's first freestanding insurance agency outside Newark marks its 135th anniversary this week, according to the current head of the office.
Opened at 114 Ellison St., in Paterson, on April 28, 1877, the office — still known by its internal company code name of "Pat One" — has moved several times, settling in East Hanover in 2001.
"With Paterson being the next-biggest city closest to Newark at the time, it was a very industrialized city. All the silk mills were there, so it seemed the likely place" to open a satellite office, said Bob Formato, managing director, who heads up what is now Prudential Insurance Co. of America's West Essex agency, in East Hanover.
When the office first opened, workers could buy life insurance or "last expense" policies. The agency moved several times, with stops along the way — including Fair Lawn, Saddle Brook and Bloomfield — before moving to East Hanover.
The business has evolved since the 1870s. The agency now offers the company's line of financial services, and its territory covers Paterson, Woodland Park, and the lower parts of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic counties.
Formato said he did not know the number of employees at the agency in its first year, but that 70 agents now work in the Eagle Rock Avenue office.
"One of the things that has not changed since back in the 1870s — clients still come in to what we refer to as our public window, and they can pay their premiums here," Formato said.