Cofer’s Household and Backyard garden Showplace in Athens is celebrating its centennial birthday this calendar year.
“It’s kind of surreal to feel about,” mentioned owner and Oconee resident Stuart Cofer. “If my grandfather could walk in here currently, he would have no clue that this is the firm he established, mainly because it’s not even near to what he commenced.”
The Cofer loved ones business was initially established in 1922 by Stuart Cofer’s grandfather, Hal Cofer Sr. The keep opened on Lumpkin Avenue in Athens but moved to Wide Road in 1926. In the 1950s, the shop moved a several doors down to East Broad Road.
The 1950s also noticed Hal Cofer Sr.’s a few sons come into the organization: Hal Cofer Jr., Richard Cofer and Donald Cofer. Hal Cofer Jr. and Donald Cofer ran the small business from the 1950s until eventually 2000.
Stuart Cofer and his brother, Phillip, were being the sons of Hal Cofer Jr., and they arrived again into the household enterprise in the course of the 1980s and 1990s. The brothers experienced labored at the enterprise as young children and as college or university pupils.
Stuart Cofer usually realized he wished to a single day run the household enterprise.
“My mom discouraged us from coming into the company, simply because she realized how tricky my father and my two uncles worked,” Cofer said. “They struggled in the ’60s and early ’70s when making an attempt to elevate family members and operate the enterprise.”
But Cofer was undeterred.
“It’s [about] the love of operating with relatives customers and being in your own business enterprise,” Cofer explained. “There’s a great deal of benefits for it.”
Cofer’s Household & Back garden Showplace commenced out as a feed and seed and was a most important provider for the agricultural field in northeast Ga. At just one point, it was providing the orange concentrate for The Varsity’s frosted orange drink. And Hal Cofer Sr. essentially bought the University of Georgia the grass seed that was used to go over Sanford Stadium when it was initially developed.
When Athens turned more urbanized as UGA expanded, the Cofer relatives business enterprise shifted to offering components, which include drills, hammers, pots and pans, seeds, fertilizers and chemicals.
“My grandfather and my uncles [and] my father modified the nature of the business to meet what Athens had grown into,” Cofer explained.
In 1987, the small business turned a “full-blown back garden center,” and in 1993, Cofer’s Property & Backyard Showplace moved to its recent locale on Mitchell Bridge Road.
Cofer claimed his son, Stephen, plans to occur into the family business enterprise soon after graduating from the University of Georgia, which will mark the fourth generation to operate the business enterprise.
According to Cornell University, only 3 p.c of relatives-owned organizations make it to the fourth generation or further than.
For Cofer, the most satisfying aspect of getting a business proprietor is seeing the community filled with crops from his shop.
“I guess you could say we’re the modern-day working day Johnny Appleseed for the reason that we assistance beautify the community we are living in,” Cofer stated. “It does give you a large amount of pride that your household held the enterprise heading for that extended, since most family members companies really do not make it this very long.”
To rejoice the anniversary, Cofer has erected a memorabilia wall that showcases the heritage of the retail outlet. Sure items in the retail store will also be on sale and shown as 100th anniversary specials.
There will also be a seminar on Feb. 24 at the retailer entitled “Remembering the Past 100 Yrs of Record in Athens.” Speakers consist of Tommy Valentine, the government director of Historic Athens Peggy Tucker, president of the Back garden Club of Ga and Brad Davis from the UGA College of Surroundings and Design.
Cofer stays grateful for the aid the retailer has received about the many years.
“It’s mainly because of the neighborhood assist that we’re nonetheless in this article,” Cofer said.
For more on this story, see the Feb. 17 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at usefulness retailers and grocery stores and newspaper packing containers throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, simply call (706) 769-5175 or check out the tab on our site.