The Smith Companies, based in Moss, celebrated its 50th anniversary on Oct. 27 with a community event attended by more than 200.
“My heart was so full seeing so many people from our community and our employees, past and present, come out for this event,” said April Smith Patterson, who along with her mother, Janie Smith and brother, Shane Smith, own and operate the family of companies launched by her late father, Doug, in 1968. Shane owns McFarland Creek Outdoors.
The Smith Companies currently include Honest Abe Log Homes, Barky Beaver Mulch and Soil Mix, GF Hardwoods, Happy Trucking, Green Forest Products, Southern TimberCraft, The Wood Store and Moss Sawmills.
The celebration began with the Clay County FFA conducting a flag raising ceremony. Patterson’s husband, Nick Patterson, President of Barky Beaver, opened the event with a prayer.
“Nick thanked the Lord for all his blessings and for allowing us to be stewards over these companies that have had such an impact on our the community and the families in this region,” Patterson said, adding that following the prayers, she, her mother and brother welcomed their guests.
“It was a great day to celebrate a legacy that started from such sweet and small beginnings,” Patterson observed, explaining that her father’s first business was manufacturing broom handles.
In honor of that endeavor, each guest received a miniature reproduction of Smith’s original wooden broom handle. A broom maker was on hand to demonstrate the making of brooms as well as use some of the reproduction handles to create truly incomparable keepsakes. The tag on each handle is pictured below.
“We had customers and suppliers from our various companies who came for the day,” Patterson said. “There were even people who drove three hours who had seen the feature story announcing the celebration in Farm Bureau’s summer issue of Home and Farm Magazine.
A highlight of the day was remarks by Sen. Mark Pody, who presented a proclamation from the Tennessee State General Assembly honoring the history and impact of the companies. Also offering remarks about the company’s importance to Clay County was Clay County Mayor Dale Reagan.
David Arnold of the State Forestry Division spoke about the importance of stewardship of the land, a practice to which the Smith Companies have exhibited strong commitment over the decades.
Honest Abe Log Homes revealed its new logo, kicking off the 1979 40-year anniversary of the company’s operation. A video retrospective was presented, and guests took guided tours of the manufacturing facilities at the Smith Companies’ Moss complex.
Guests were fed and entertained, and everyone left with a goody bag containing gifts, cups, t-shirts and a special commemorative magazine, Smith Family Traditions, filled with stories and interviews that celebrates the history and legacy of the companies.
“We had a packed house for the celebration,” Patterson said, adding, “It was just the best day!”
P R O C L A M A T I O N
WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this legislative body should recognize and commend those exemplary businesses that, through an abiding commitment to excellence, have contributed greatly to this State for many years; and
WHEREAS, Smith Family Companies, with its corporate offices in the town of Moss in Clay County, is one such outstanding business, which will celebrate fifty years of dedicated service to the good people of Tennessee on October 27, 2018;
and WHEREAS, founded by Doug Smith, a Clay County native, and his father, Lemuel Smith, the company started production of broom handles in 1968 and converted to pallet production shortly thereafter;
and WHEREAS, in 1973, Doug Smith married the love of his life, Janie Smith, and the couple enjoyed many years of marital bliss before his passing in 2011;
and WHEREAS, today, Smith Family Companies is owned and operated by Janie Smith, along with Doug and Janie Smith’s children, Shane Smith and April Smith Patterson;
and WHEREAS, a highly successful enterprise, Smith Family Companies has created more than twenty businesses over the past fifty years, some of which have been sold, consolidated into other family businesses, or closed;
and WHEREAS, the impressive roster of businesses currently owned by the Smith family includes Honest Abe Log Homes, Southern Timbercraft, Barky Beaver Mulch and Soil Mix, GF Hardwoods, Moss Sawmills, Happy Trucking, Green Forest Products, The Wood Store, McFarland Creek Outdoors, Acres of Grace Farms, The Mill Storehouse, and A Southern Marketplace Barn Sale;
and WHEREAS, robust growth and economic vitality have been the hallmarks of Smith Family Companies throughout its illustrious fifty-year history; since its inception, the business – 2 – has created 1,000 jobs, bought and processed 1 billion feet of timber, shipped 100,000 trailer loads of lumber, and processed and sold 50,000 loads of bark and chips;
and WHEREAS, combined sales of all Smith Family Companies exceed $1 billion and provide an economic impact on the local economy of $100 million, with purchases ranging from fuel and batteries to general supplies;
and WHEREAS, the company has evidenced the highest levels of dedication and commitment to the communities it serves, contributing millions of dollars in charitable donations and providing generous community support;
and WHEREAS, Smith Family Companies has operated with acumen and integrity for fifty years, and the members of this legislative body find it appropriate to acknowledge and applaud this outstanding business for its ongoing commitment to excellence; now, therefore,
I, Randy McNally, Speaker of the Senate of the One Hundred Tenth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, at the request of and in conjunction with Senator Mark Pody and Representative Kelly Keisling, do hereby proclaim that we honor and congratulate Smith Family Companies on the celebration of the company’s fiftieth anniversary, applaud its ongoing legacy of integrity and commitment to excellence, and wish it much continued success in the future. Proclaimed in Nashville, Tennessee, on this the 18th day of September 2018.
Randy McNally Speaker of the Senate
Mark Pody, Senator 17th Senate District
Kelly Keisling, Representative – 3 – 38th House District
Download Smith Family Traditions, the 50th Anniversary commemorative magazine compiled in 2018 to celebrate the heritage and legacy of the Clay County-based businesses operated by the family of Doug Smith.
Announcement for 50th celebration…
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.”
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 2 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.”