HANCOCK COUNTY — When Bob Campbell moved to Greenfield in 1980 to open the city’s first Edward Jones branch, he worked out of his duplex along Candlelite Drive, bustling between businesses and farmhouses day after day to find new clients.
After he retires today, though, he’ll leave behind a network of 11 Edward Jones offices throughout Hancock County that all started with his determination. It’s been a long road, he admits, but he credits the community with his success.
“I used to go out and just drive from farmhouse to farmhouse, just hoping to make a face-to-face contact and let everyone know what we’re doing and what our goals were,” said Campbell, 61. “It was just me and a branch administrator at that point; then as time went along, we grew and grew. I think everybody knows about us now.”
He set a goal of meeting 1,000 residents and business owners during that first year, and within four months, it was complete.
“I think I opened about 40 accounts from the thousand people I’d met,” said Campbell, who was 26 at the time. “But a lot of it was just about building a relationship. That takes time.”
Some of his business relationships now stretch across several generations, he said.
“I have a client who started doing business with me many years ago, then had his two sons start doing business with me,” he said. “Now, they have their own children who we do business with, and they’ve even opened accounts for their grandkids. It’s those kinds of relationships that we’re most proud of at this office.”
Campbell didn’t always intend on working in the financial industry.
When he graduated from Ball State University in 1975, he had planned to build a career in broadcast journalism. After struggling to find a job in Connersville, his hometown, he ended up working as a manager at the local McDonald’s.
A few years later, he decided it was time for a career change. His neighbor at the time, Jim Weddle, had just opened a local Edward Jones branch and offered to train him. Campbell jumped at the offer and decided Greenfield would be a good place to spark his career.
Weddle, who has since risen through the company to become managing partner, the highest position at the company, said Campbell made a bold move in deciding to set up shop in Greenfield.
“The proximity to Indianapolis placed him closer to a large metropolitan market than our other branches,” he said.
Campbell proved the concept could not only survive but thrive, Weddle said.
“Bob built a successful business in Greenfield, and in doing so demonstrated that the business model of delivering investment advice and guidance with a highly personal touch worked as well in large markets as it did in small markets,” he said. “Our presence in the greater Indianapolis area today is due in part to Bob’s leadership and the great example he set.”
He opened Hancock County’s second Edward Jones office in 1996, and they’ve multiplied since, with seven now in Greenfield.
Campbell’s impact hasn’t been limited to the county, either. He helped pioneer a business strategy in 1996 that’s now been used at thousands of Edward Jones offices nationwide.
Linda Speziale, who’s worked with Campbell for more than five years, said his co-workers won’t be the only people who miss him.
“Bob and I have worked through good times and bad times (at the company), and he’s always been a great leader,” said Speziale, a branch administrator. “I’m certainly going to miss him, and I know his clients will, too. He’s set a great example and has shown how working with clients can be fun.”
Campbell plans to split his retirement between his home Greenfield and a condo on Marco Island, Florida. He’ll miss the work but is eager to spend time with his wife, daughters and grandchildren, he said.
“I’ve always enjoyed my work and certainly will miss dealing with the people I’ve met over the years, but the nice thing about Greenfield is that I’ll still run into those people,” he said.