A Clay County family business is celebrating 50 years of entrepreneurship in 2018 with a special public event on Oct. 27.
“It has been 50 years since my dad started manufacturing mop and broom handles in 1968,” said April Smith Patterson, daughter of the late Doug Smith, who along with her mother, Janie, and brother, Shane, own several Moss-based businesses. “Last year, Honest Abe Log Homes introduced a new 10” round log style, so we’re calling our 50th anniversary “Coming Back Around.”
In addition to Honest Abe, the Smith companies include Barky Beaver Mulch and Soil Mix, GF Hardwoods, Happy Trucking, Green Forest Products and Southern Timbercraft and Moss Sawmills. Moss Sawmills is a consolidation of six sawmills that the Smith family operated throughout the region. Last year the family sold three other businesses, Swan Ridge Lake Resort, Rockcastle Farms and Mitchell Creek Marina
“We are and have been for many years the largest employer in our local community, allowing people who love and want to live here be able to work and provide for their families,” Patterson said. “This is something my family takes very seriously, and are continuously working to create jobs in this area.”
The spirit of entrepreneurship is strong in the Smith family. Shane owns McFarland Creek Outdoors, a turkey and whitetail deer hunting ranch, and while April and husband, Nick, have founded three new businesses – Acres of Grace Farms, The Mill Storehouse and A Southern Marketplace Barn Sale – since Doug Smith’s 2011 death.
“The businesses have changed and evolved, adapted to the times,” April observed, noting, “Business was great before the economic downturn hit and most businesses like ours went out of business. It was through the Lord’s good graces and our amazing team members that helped us work hard, get lean and survive those times.”
The Smith family is inviting the public to Moss in Oct. 27 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for food, door prizes, tours and live music. The first 100 visitors will receive a commemorative T-shirt.
“I believe folks would love to see how someone from a rural community starting out making broom handles managed to build the businesses we see and operate today,” April said. “We’ll also be having informative speakers about forestry and how we work to preserve and cut sustainably while being good stewards of the land. The tours will demonstrate how we recycle and use every part of the logs.”
In addition to providing jobs the Smith family believes in giving back. Over time the Smith Family companies have supported numerous projects and events that benefit veterans, schools, the fire department and the community. For example, many years ago Janie and Doug donated the log structure that houses the Clay County Museum. Beginning in fall 2018, Honest Abe Log Homes will sponsor the Dave Ramsey financial curriculum for Clay County High School Students. Through Barky Beaver they donate soil and seeds as well as volunteering to help plant community gardens.
“We also have had a lot of impact bringing in tax dollars for the local county that has helped it grow too!” April said. “The economy is getting better, and we are now able to do and offer more to our county and community. We have employees that love this place and want to see the companies continue on another 50 years from now. Our plan is to continue to build upon the great foundation laid before us.”
April said that the Oct. 27 event is a free and open to the public with no reservations required.
“50 years in business is a huge milestone for our family, and we simply want to share it with everyone,” she said. “We are looking forward to a great day sharing our history, heritage and passion for what we do.”