At 62, Allen Broach is showing few signs of slowing down. That’s because Broach & Company, the advertising agency he founded in downtown Greensboro in 1983, won’t let him. Neither, it seems, will anything else.
In the midst of the Great Recession, the agency is still continuing to grow; still continuing to demand his attention for 12 hours a day. Not having nearly enough to do last year, Broach created and opened Studio B at the Broach (www.studioB-GSO.com) an urban-chic event space, which he continues to manage.
Then, there are the rental properties to oversee, the volunteer activities to arrange; the gardening to look after; the friends and family to visit and keep up with.
That’s what he does. Who he is is far more complex: A civic leader, an openly gay man who brought two Purple Hearts and two Bronze stars back from Vietnam, a man who believes so strongly in caring for others that he advocates for at risk youth, for those with mental disabilities and for those willing to stand against bigotry.
“My mother said one time that with everything I had going on, if I didn’t have way too much going on, that I would go out and stir something up anyway,” said Broach.
Broach says that that’s part of the influence of the 1960s, when people were passionate about their beliefs. He says he believes there’s a movement back to that now, following a generation in which people were essentially self-centered. He says he strived to raise his sons to be self-sufficient instead.
“I think the (children) of today expect that more will be done for them, but we didn’t have that expectation,” says Broach. “My dad paid for books and tuition and our joke was that when we turned 18, he would break our plates. Of course, if we were really down and out, we could always come back home.
“For a couple of days.”
For Broach, the idea of family and of others around him has been his anchor.
“The importance of family and friends has always been so important to me,” he said. “I have been very lucky to be close to my grandparents and it has added a depth to my life that I don’t think as many people get today because of families that don’t live close together. I am lucky that my two sons and their families and three grandsons live here in Greensboro and close to their grandparents.”
And from that family, he has apparently inherited a high energy level.
“I don’t feel any different than I did when I was in my 20s,” said Broach. “I have as much energy and drive as I did back then. But I am 62 and in 20 years, I will be 82. I will find it quite interesting to see what I am like then.”
The predictions? He will be older, perhaps slower, but probably not by much, if genetics come into play. His mother died in 2005 at the age of 86. She drove herself to the hospital, a week or so before she died.
“I’ve had relatives who have lived up into their 90s,” said Broach. “Nobody lived to be 100. Maybe that should be my goal.”