Stuart Cofer: Homegrown – Georgia Magazine

When Stuart Cofer BBA ’81 drives all around his hometown of Athens, there are two items he can issue out: the bouquets purchased from his family’s plant nursery and all the improvements that have been created because he was a kid.

Cofer, an Athens indigenous who graduated from UGA with a diploma in tiny organization management, adopted in his family’s footsteps, which is a common matter to do in the Cofer house. Cofer, his father, and his brother all graduated from UGA—with his son closing the circle as a senior in the Terry University of Company.

Past sharing the Ga genes, the Cofer relatives is extensively acknowledged domestically for their plant nursery, Cofer’s Home & Yard, launched in 1922 by Stuart’s grandfather as a seed and feed offer retail store in downtown Athens. The flagship retail store is now on Mitchell Bridge Road on the city’s west side. They promote special crops, shrubbery, and outdoor furnishings. The target is on yards and gardens fairly than catering to what was then an agricultural financial state.

“From a younger age, my brother and I had an curiosity in coming to the family business. That is where our hearts normally were,” Cofer suggests.

While he expended a handful of yrs after faculty in Los Angeles, doing the job his way up the chain at Organization Hire-A-Car or truck, Cofer always knew he’d return to Athens.

This 12 months marks the family’s 100th in small business. “It’s surreal,” says Cofer, president and self-proclaimed stock management manager. “It’s rather a milestone.”

Stuart Cofer with his son Stephen, who is at present a college student in the Terry Faculty of Small business. A photograph of Stuart’s father sits around their shoulder. The memorabilia on the cabinets dates back again to the store’s opening in 1922. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

By some estimates, only 13% of family-owned organizations make it to the third generation, with the exceedingly rare 4% surviving to the fourth. Cofer’s Home & Backyard, now sitting at the third-generation stage, will be that exception: Cofer’s son, Stephen, will start out easing into the task in the decades that comply with his UGA graduation.

As the Cofer relatives business enterprise has been around for a century, it’s not surprising that they have a little bit of Athens’ historical past in their roots. The warehouse on Spring Street, wherever Cofer spent his childhood jogging all-around with his brother and cousins, is now UGA’s Delta Innovation Hub.

“It’s neat to know that this warehouse is now a hub for business people and startups,” Cofer claims. “That’s what my grandfather was, and right here we are 100 yrs afterwards and that building is nonetheless staying employed for business people.”

Cofer credits a couple crucial points to the business’s good results: responding to the requirements of the nearby economic climate, for occasion. “If my grandfather was to walk in the retail outlet right now, he would have no clue that this was the business he started out in 1922,” he jokes.

While he hardly ever pressured his kids into becoming a member of the small business, Cofer enjoys bringing his 7-calendar year-outdated granddaughter to the retail outlet and exhibiting her the importance of difficult do the job.

“There’s a great deal of strain concerned in possessing your own small business, but you choose excellent satisfaction in what you’re ready to generate, what you are in a position to mature, and how you position on your own and your organization in the group,” he claims. “People realize you for that. There’s a great deal of delight in becoming in a position to attain individuals things.”

This story will surface in the Drop 2022 difficulty of Ga Journal.