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O n November 19th, 2015, Jeff and Barbara Orth celebrated the grand reopening of their business, Integrated Financial Benefits Network (I FIT) and the remodeling of the Holloway House. There was a festive atmosphere filled with music, laughter and champagne as dozens of friends and family gathered to watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony. For Jeff and Barbara, the celebration was more than just a new chapter for their business, it was a way of giving back to the community that they love. The spirit of giving has always been an important part of Jeff ’s and Barbara’s lives. Jeff first got involved in financial services because of an encounter with an elderly woman who had no choice but to work at a Burger King to support herself. From that moment, Jeff decided he wanted to help people have successful retirements so that they never had to end up in compromising situations. “I want people to be able to make a choice that isn’t driven by a lack of money, but by a desire to do something different or fulfilling with their lives,” he explains. His heartfelt dedication, combined with a knack for picking out winning investments for his clients, has led to a very successful business. When Barbara started working as his Director of Client Services 10 years ago, their business continued to grow. So much so that they needed to expand. From the moment Jeff and Barbara first moved to Gilroy 31 years ago, they fell in love with its community and its historical richness. They had always admired the Holloway House in particular and so they were thrilled when it went on the market. Built in 1903, the Holloway House has seen many people come and go over the century and it had reached a dip in its life road. Despite this, the couple instantly knew that it was the right house for them. “Even though the house was deteriorating, Barbara and I always saw the house more as how it could be again and not how it was,” Jeff says. For a year, they worked tirelessly to bring the house back up to its former glory and many people took notice. “I’ve had so many people who have walked up the steps and said they’re so excited to see GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN somebody fixing it up because they love this house. So it really does feel like it belongs to the community in a lot of ways,” Barbara says. Now that they are on the home stretch of renovations, Jeff and Barbara couldn’t be happier to share their vision and hard work with everyone. “This house was like the social scene in Gilroy at the time. This is where people came for big Christmas parties, this is where they had the big fundraisers. If you walk around the house you’ll see that it’s a party house,” Jeff describes. And what better way to kick off its remodeling than with a party! In keeping with this original spirit, the couple intends to have the house open for guests and events. They absolutely love that they are closer to downtown where they can participate in all of the fun activities and offer more to the people. Jeff and Barbara cannot say enough good things about all of the people who have helped them along the way. Being historic home owners themselves, Larry Mickartz and Mike Dorn had a lot of valuable insights to share with the couple. Their knowledge has been a tremendous help during the renovation process. Jeff and Barbara also really appreciate all of the cooperation, support, and love they have received from the Gilroy Historical Society, who recently sent them the plaque marking their house as one of the original historic buildings. “We’ve learned so much about the property talking to them,” Jeff says. Gilbert Garcia, who painted the house both this time around and 20 years ago, has been a great help as well. Like Jeff and Barbara, he has always loved the house and was thrilled to be a part of its renovation. He has told the couple secrets about the house that even the previous owners didn’t know. In so many ways, the Holloway House owes its new appearance to the hearts of the people who love it. The way everyone has come together to help the house’s renovation and express their excitement for it is a testament to why Jeff and Barbara love this community so much. The town may have doubled in size since the couple first moved to Gilroy, but it still has that small-town feel and a servant’s heart. Jeff and Barbara couldn’t be happier to reopen I FIT in their new location and they look forward to making great memories with their community. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 gmhtoday.com 83