After more than two decades in the hospitality industry, Damon Priddy is pursuing a new business venture. He will be opening his own State Farm office, Damon Priddy Insurance & Financial Services, at 2951 Montvale Ave. on June 1.

“I’ve been in the hospitality industry for 20 years; that’s the only thing I’ve ever done. But I felt like it was time to look for something different,” he said, noting that turnover in the industry is a challenge, especially now.

Most recent, Priddy managed two hotels in Lincoln, the Hampton by Hilton and Comfort Inn & Suites, on behalf of Hotel Ventures Management of Illinois, owned by the McGraw family. He previously spent almost 10 years as general manager of the State House Inn in Springfield and has stayed in touch with a previous co-worker, Jenifer Sellers, who went on to open her own State Farm agency in Sherman.

“I watched her launch her agency about six years ago and was kind of intrigued,” Priddy said. “I wanted to own my own business and be able to build my team from the ground up.”

With Mike Sauer, a State Farm agent of 47 years, retiring and closing his office on Iles Avenue, “that’s the open opportunity for new agents to come into the territory,” said Priddy. He chose a nearby location on Montvale Avenue for his office to be convenient for Sauer’s former clients and is in the process of hiring staff. “I have three people on board now and still hoping to hire one additional person before opening, with the intent to grow from there,” said Priddy.