FORT MILL, S.C. — Business partners, Stephen Aldridge and Robert Osteen, who together operate Stanly Funeral and Cremation Care in Albemarle, N.C., are going into business together once again. On Monday, May 21, the two will open the doors to Brightway, The Osteen & Aldridge Agency in Fort Mill, S.C. The insurance agency is licensed to sell Homeowners and Auto insurance and much more to residents in North Carolina and South Carolina.

“Robert and I have worked together for 16 years, and he has helped me build a successful business based on trust,” said Aldridge. “As Brightway Insurance Agency Owners, we look forward to this new venture and being able to help residents in Charlotte, N.C., and nearby communities protect their families’ finances.”

In addition to owning and operating a funeral home, Aldridge founded Uwharrie Pet Cremation Service and Southern Piedmont Cremation Service in Albemarle. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and holds a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He recently served as a member of the Board of Directors for Uwharrie Capital Corp and currently is a board member of Hospice of Stanly and the Uwharrie. Aldridge and his wife, Deborah, have been married 17 years and have a son.  

A licensed insurance professional with 30 years’ experience, Osteen was an agent for Farm Bureau Insurance. He earned an Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service Education from Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, N.C. He and wife, Katherine, of 34 years have two children and a grandchild. Osteen is a member of Lakeview Baptist Church in Albemarle N.C., and the Albemarle Optimist Club. During his leisure time, he enjoys rooting on the N.C. State Wolfpack at baseball, football and basketball games.

Mark Hess will serve as the Principal Agent at Brightway, The Osteen & Aldridge Agency. He comes to Brightway from SouthLake Insurance Services, brings more than 20 years’ industry experience and looks forward to providing expert counsel and more choice in insurance brands than anywhere else to friends and neighbors as a Brightway Agent.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Stephen Aldridge, Robert Osteen and Mark Hess to the Brightway family,” said Brightway President, Talman Howard. “We have hundreds of insurance professionals standing behind them to ensure their customers receive world class service and to help them grow their business and enterprise.”

Brightway Agency Owners enjoy comprehensive business support including customer service, carrier relationships, marketing, accounting and technology. As a result, Brightway agencies consistently outsell other insurance agencies three-to-one.*

Brightway, The Osteen & Aldridge Agency is located at 3071 HWY 21, Suite 106 in Fort Mill (next to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles). The agency offers customized Home, Condo, Renters, Auto, Flood, RV, Motorcycle, Boat, ATV, Life and Umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Appalachian Underwriters, Bankers, Burns and Wilcox, Dixon Wells, Foremost, Progressive and Safeco.

About Brightway Insurance
Brightway Insurance is a national property/casualty insurance retailer selling through a network of franchised independent stores throughout the country. With more than $521 million in annualized written premium, the company is one of the largest personal lines agencies in the United States. Brightway provides its franchise owners with access to more insurance companies than any other agency, along with a comprehensive system of support that frees them up to focus on customizing policies that meet their customers’ needs.

Brightway began franchising operations in 2008 and has since grown to more than 800 people in 19 states serving customers in all 50 states. Forbes has recognized the company as America’s No. 1 Franchise to Buy. Additionally, the company was named a top franchise three years in a row by Entrepreneur magazine and one of the fastest-growing private companies in America nine consecutive years by Inc. 5000.

For more information about Brightway, The Osteen & Aldridge Agency, visit or call 704-837-7554. Learn more about franchise opportunities with Brightway at

For media inquiries, please contact Don Foley at 904-490-8649