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Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, we thought it was time to pause in the rush of this “Retail Focused Week” and write a post about the things that we are thankful for. Howard Brothers has had one of its best years ever in 2012. As small business owners, we understand that you could go practically anywhere for many of the products that we sell. First of all, we are so grateful to you, our customer, for giving us a chance every day. We love seeing new faces come in our stores, and we love getting caught up with the lives of our longtime customers.

As we all know, the economy has been down over the last few years. However, we are beginning to see signs of economic growth. New homes are being built, and there are lots of restoration projects taking place. Many of our industrial/commercial maintenance customers are returning on a regular basis for their product needs. Some folks would look at our business over the years and see the changes that have taken place. We believe that many of these changes are for the better for our communities and those we serve. There are always areas to improve, and we welcome comments from you regarding any area of our business. Many of the efficiencies that we have built and product/inventory decisions that we have developed, will only serve us and you better in the coming years.

This year the landscaping industry in Atlanta and North Georgia was phenomenal. We have to recognize that God blessed us with some incredible months of grass and vegetation growth. This has impacted many of our customers who serve in the Atlanta Landscaping community. All three of our locations did well this year with new customers and old. Folks who had heard of Howard Brothers, but had never been here, tried us out. Others who had downsized their businesses, were able to expand this year as well. That is great news for all.

We are so blessed and thankful for our employees. They are the best. We are constantly amazed by the level of expertise that they have. They are not just trying to “make a sale”; they truly are in the relationship building business. Our employee family has grown this year as we look forward to the future. More about that later, but all this to say that we feel our people are some of the most knowledgeable in the industry. We always look for employees who have been there in the trenches. The longevity of our people means that we are able to help with almost any problem, and if not, we’ll tell you and work with you to find the best solution.

We are growing. Early next year we will be opening up in our fourth community. We are coming to Alpharetta and will be able to serve the landscaping needs of both commercial landscapers and homeowners in that area. We are excited to open the doors to Alpharetta, Milton, John’s Creek, Roswell, Crabapple and Cumming folks. There is so much potential in this area. It is an area that we’ve wanted to expand to for years, and we are thankful for this new opportunity.

Let’s face it, homeowners are researching the best product for their needs, and the educated consumer knows that price of a product from a big box retailer isn’t the only consideration in the purchase. They need a partner who they can trust with maintaining that piece of equipment in the long run. Our team that is going to Alpharetta is very excited to build relationships in that area, and we are excited to see them do it.

We are thankful to our families who support us. The retail business isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have long hours and hard labor. Being such an important piece to the Atlanta commercial landscaping community can make it that much more difficult. Our spring and summer months are very busy, however, our families are important to us, and they are supportive of the business that we are building.

Last, and certainly not least, we are thankful for our God. We treat this business as if is His, because it is. He blesses us in innumerable ways on a daily basis. Over the years, He has allowed our little company to impact many lives in a positive way. When our dad started this business, he emphasized that we needed to treat others like we would want to be treated. He instilled in us a level of integrity and reminded us to do right and that God would bless the business. That has been true over and over again.  Sometimes, we might be seen as slow-moving, but often it is because we are seeking His will for our company before we act.

We hope that everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving. Take time with your family, and consider all that we are blessed with as people. Eat a lot of turkey, love on your families and we will see you soon.

John and Doug Howard