When you think of visible business people in the North Shore community who also do good deeds and are always trying to help others, chances are, you think of Celeste Gullo.
After moving to Long Island from Queens when she was in the eighth grade, Gullo’s family made their life in Manhasset. She lived there until she met her eventual husband, Vinny, who lived in Glen Cove—where they decided to settle.
“I always say I’m from the city,” Gullo said.
But Gullo wasted no time in making an impact on the surrounding North Shore community through her business as well as her community-oriented conscience. While she wanted to start her own Allstate agency in Glen Cove, the insurance company indicated that too many Allstate offices were already located in Glen Cove. Luckily for Gullo, a longtime Allstate agent with an office in Glen Head was, at the time, preparing to move to Florida. Gullo bought that agency, originally located near Bottle Buys on Glen Head Road, moved up the road and opened in January 2016.
“There was just no other way to do it except to work for myself,” Gullo said. “It should always be the natural progression. It’s mine! I’d have to sell it if I left. It’s something my children can take over.”
Gullo moved up the ladder to agency owner with Allstate after starting her journey with the company at just 18 years old.
“I was part of a team in Roslyn, scanning and faxing and answering phones,” Gullo recalled. “I worked there for 13 years and then another for five years and another for three years.”
While she maintained her loyalty to Allstate, Gullo worked for a different company for a brief period of time. “I had to keep trying to find my fit,” she explained. “When I came back, I had a greater appreciation for this company.”
In her agency today just as on its opening day in 2016, Gullo strives to provide unparalleled customer service. “I want people to have the feeling they get when they walk into Disney World,” she said.
Gullo offers all personal and commercial lines policies, but places a particular focus on policies that affect the lives of families—the house, the cars, the kids and life insurance.
Additionally, she also offers products based in retirement needs, 401K rollover, disability insurance and investment planning.
However, when asked what sets her agency apart from other insurance agencies offering similar products, her answer was enthusiastic: her team, made up of Kai Hui, Katherine Kearney, Meagan Kearney and Mario Marin.
“They are the people who answer the phone every day, six days a week, until 6 p.m.,” Gullo said. “They go over discounts and renewals. Kai does life insurance and financial services. Katherine came to me through an ad on LinkedIn, and her daughter Meagan does what I did when I was 18. Mario does our photo inspections, answers billing questions and helps with claims. We’ve had some crazy claim situations and we’re helping people. You don’t get a team like this other places.”
Within the community, Gullo is a member of North Shore Biz Network as well as the Gold Coast Business Association and the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce. However, she is most well-known in our community for her charity and goodwill projects.
“My favorite projects are food drives,” Gullo said. “My dad grew up in poverty. He always had a fear of returning to it, and [as a child] he would take me into the city to give food to the homeless.”
While Gullo maintains that she is “from the city,” her roots are firmly planted on the North Shore. “I just love the location and the people—but the people first,” Gullo said. “If you need something, you can go online and say, ‘I need formula,’ and 10 people would offer it.”
—Written by Gracie Donaldson for the North Shore Biz Network