“I live down here. I’m downtown more than I am ‘home.’
I’m not normal in the sense of, ‘I work a nine to five job. This is what I do.’ I have made wax-scented pinecones and kids toys and shipped them all over the world, which is how we started in downtown Macon with the building that my office is in now. Um, all the way to an audio visual company, one of the largest vinyl siding companies from Atlanta to Florida which has nothing to do with audio/video or pinecones…to a coffee shop to development of lofts and saving historic houses to having houses in North Macon to working at a church to…and I still do a lot of that…still.
But, yet it all goes to…seeing kind of where there’s a need for something and feeling like that something would be good.
You can talk about wanting to make change, or you can make change.
It was a pain…didn’t know anybody…my first lofts, it took a year to even drive the first nail. I mean, just the process was a pain.
People kept going, ‘I’d just give up. I’d quit.’
And, I said, ‘You know what? People would quit. That’s why there’s no development.’
But we have to survive through it and keep going. And then we have to fight to make it easier for the people in the future. You know?
So my first lofts, the Warehouse Lofts, nine years ago…nothing was really going on.
And, I was just told I’m crazy. ‘Nobody’ll ever live there.’ It was the buzzard’s roost.
I said, ‘No. I believe people will.’
Well, there was people fighting over the units when I was done. Oh yeah, always at capacity.
It won a National Historic Preservation Award. And I had to fly to Capitol Hill and receive the award and all that kind of stuff and then lobby for historic tax credits and why it’s important and all that kinda stuff.
That was a risk.
Then with Joshua Cup closing…which are friends of mine…matter of fact, Jon and Rita Beachy are hanging speakers [out here] right now.
When they closed, it was a sad day because it was such a great place in the sense of environment.
You know, we have a lot of bars, a lot of restaurants. But not a place that everybody can come and feel comfortable.
So, we decided that maybe we should put a coffee shop in.
And we know coffee shops don’t make money…
We knew that. But, we decided to put one in on Poplar Street where there was no development to see if we could help spur development.
So, we took the risk once again.
We went all out. Then a lot of the restaurants started goin’ all out. Everybody started making things bigger and better and making the environments a lot more upscale and nice.
But we believed that we could. Because you can’t talk about change if you’re not part of the change.
It don’t matter what you do. If you do it with the right intentions, it will work. I’ve just always believed that.
I thought, you know, we’ve got to have something that draws in people, not just downtown people, not just people who already know what’s goin’ on, and not just people from Bibb County.
I thought, ‘Well, if we do Christmas lights, people drive…they’ll drive an hour to see Christmas lights for a few minutes.’
It don’t matter if you’re rich, poor. Don’t matter if you’re black, white…don’t matter anything about it. You like to go see Christmas lights. This, this crosses every type of divide that there is.
So…I thought…it would have to be really big and really good.
Well, of course. Who can you get to do that? There’s not…there are companies. But, they’re booked two and three years out. That’s how popular this stuff really is.
City blocks have never been synced before, to music.
So, I called the manufacturer of all the products.
There’s a whole different group of people in this world that I didn’t know existed. They are Christmas fanatics.
I love Christmas, but no. No, I’m not like them.
I’ve already had phone calls wanting this done other places. I promised my wife…’No I won’t [create another business].’
I’ve done a little bit of everything. Don’t try to. But always end up…
We’ve always done things that have never been done before. Not on purpose. Then I figure out how to make it happen.
So, we took the risk and decided to try it.
But, if you’re really passionate about something. It’s going to turn into a job whether you want it to or not. If you’re really good at it, it’s going to take you somewhere.
So, that’s how I keep gettin’ myself into all of these predicaments.
We did not know until two hours before last night whether it was going to work.
Everybody’s been fantastic. Bibb County has been fantastic. I haven’t been able to ask for help because how do you get help doing something that you don’t even know what you’re doing.
It takes about 14 hours per song…[to sync the music to the lights].
Since I know how it works, it’s unlimited.
The thing that would make me sad is if other organizations didn’t take advantage of it.
I don’t not finish. It’s going to be as good as it can be or nothing.
I don’t believe in starting something or doing something if you’re not going to do it all out.
You’ve got to do it all out or don’t do it. Or don’t waste your time or everybody else’s. Or their money.
It’s just the way I’ve always been.
I guess the way I was raised, all I can figure. That’s my mom over there. I don’t know how to not do something right, the right way.
A rock climbing gym, that’s next.
If we worry about all the what if’s, we’ll never do anything.
Why don’t we go full force and do everything and deal with everything that happens when we face it?
Just like I tell people all the time about problems, people’ll say…they want to complain… ‘We got a huge parking problem.’
I say, you’re saying it wrong… ‘WE GOT A HUGE PARKING PROBLEM!’
We do! That’s a great thing. Now, will we solve it appropriately? That’s a question.
You got a good problem and bad problem. You got to pick which one you’re going to deal with. Well, I’d rather pick the good problems which are growth and all of that, than deal with bad problems because we’re not growing.
It really is about perspective and how you see what’s going on.
We’ve got a lot of change…some good, some bad…We are not the same city. We are so far ahead.
Everybody’s workin’, they care about stuff when it happens.
I didn’t ask for trash cans. I didn’t ask Parks and Rec. for things. I didn’t ask the city electrician to come by last night and check on things.
But, they’re collaborating.
Everything that happens benefits everybody.
Macon-Bibb is a huge place, it’s not just downtown. You know, if there’s somethin’ happening in North Macon it benefits the people downtown. If there’s somethin’ happening downtown, it benefits people in North Macon.
We truly are one community.
No, we’re Macon-Bibb. I believe we are a county that really does work together…Hats off to the Mayor and to the different ones that have really worked hard to push for things.
Because of that, that makes you want to do something. If I’ve got to fight a battle every time I turn around, I might not want to. It does get old.
What frustrates me? Very little. I can only control what I can control.
What feeds my soul? My faith in God. I’m not worried about tomorrow. I don’t worry about finances. I don’t worry about anything. It’s not because I have ‘em. Because whether I have ‘em or I don’t, I’m fine. I don’t worry about what I’m gonna do tomorrow. What’s it gonna be like? What’s my next project? I’m not concerned with any that…
God’s in control of all things, not just a few.
I get asked all the time, ‘Where you goin’ today?’ ‘I don’t know. I’m going to get in my truck. We’ll see where it takes me.’ I might think I’m going somewhere and not make it until the next day because of all the things that happen by the time I get in my truck.
That don’t frustrate me, or bother me.
Things happen. Stuff happens. People change. Good things and bad things happen all day long.
If you dream it, you can do it. But, you have to do it. People will dream it and maybe even start doing it, but the minute they hit the first obstacle, they’re done.
You gotta get outta bed. Because people have a tendency to be dreamers but not doers, especially in the new generation.
But they don’t ever get out of bed. It might mean getting up at 5. It might mean stayin’ up ‘til wee hours of the night. But, you gotta get up and go do it in order for it to be a reality. And then you have to follow through.
People don’t finish…It drives me crazy when people don’t finish.
Finish it, because then you’re proud of it. ‘I did that.’ Not, ‘Y’all look what I did.’”