The big day is almost here! The Greater Gibson County Chamber’s Business and Industry Appreciation Day is set for September 6 at the Pines Golf Club in Dyer. It will start at 8 a.m. with an 18-hole, four-person golf scramble and climax with the announcements of the “Industry of the Year,” “Small Business of the Year,” and “Person of the Year” at the 6 p.m. membership banquet.
Eddie Sturgeon, owner of Eddie’s Pharmacy, is a nominee for the
“We’re going to have a great time,” says Dan Rodamaker, Chamber board president. “If you haven’t registered for the golf scramble, call the Chamber office today,” he said. “We’re giving away cash prizes for first- and second-place finishes in each flight, as well as savings bonds for the par-three holes. Players will even have a chance to win a new vehicle.”
Awards for scramble winners, “Person of the Year,” “Small Business of the Year,” and “Industry of the Year” will be presented at the banquet. Tickets for the banquet are only $15 and are available at the Chamber office.
The 2007 “Person of the Year” nominees are Sherry Scruggs, administrator of Gibson General Hospital; Hugh Deaton, owner of Deaton’s Market Place, Trenton; Ken Pullias, State Farm Insurance agent, Dyer; and Joel Reynolds, president of The Farmers & Merchants Bank, Dyer, the Farmers & Merchants Bank, Trenton, and The Bank of Humboldt, Humboldt. “Small Business of the Year” nominees are Eddie’s Pharmacy, Eddie Sturgeon, owner; Highway 54 Salvage, Terry and Tony Parks and Tony and Jan Kirk, owners; and Siler Thornton Agency, agents Keith Siler and Chuck Thornton. Nominees for “Industry of the Year” are Gibson General Hospital, Sherry Scruggs, administrator; Trenton Light & Water Department, Bret Fisher, general manager; and Dyer Nursing Home, Jerry Park, administrator.
Eddie’s Pharmacy is owned by Eddie Sturgeon of Trenton. He and his wife, the former Cathey Crim, have three children: Clint-26, Madison-19, and James Tildon-12.
Sturgeon has provided caring and professional service to the people of this area since he moved to Trenton in the fall of 1984, when he opened Fred’s Pharmacy. In 1999, Sturgeon went to work for Super Sav-On Drugs, which later became Family Meds. After the closing of Family Meds in April of 2007, he decided to open Eddie’s Pharmacy.
“I wanted to take care of folks with a non-chain hometown pharmacy,” he said. “I worked every day of the week on some aspect of reopening as soon as possible.”
Of course, during this time he was still answering patient questions about medication at the grocery, ballpark, church, and home.
During construction of Eddie’s Pharmacy, Sturgeon says that customers called to offer their help in any way they could.
“We had folks stop by to bring us drinks, feed us lunch, carry sheet rock, set up shelves, provide generators, and the list goes on-just to get us open again,” he says. “Nothing was ever asked in return, just friends helping friends.”
Eddie’s Pharmacy opened in late June.
“On your first day of business, you always wonder if the phone is going to ring,” Sturgeon says. “Due to a customer base that had been building for over 20 years, the response was almost overwhelming. The phone started ringing at 8 a.m. that day and hasn’t stopped yet,” he says.
Sturgeon says that Eddie’s Pharmacy filled more prescriptions in its first two days than most new pharmacies fill in a month.
“I was repeatedly told by executives of a large drug store chain, ‘don’t try it, you’ll never make it,’” he says. “Obviously, they didn’t know the people of Trenton.”
Sturgeon says that he has particularly enjoyed the freedom private ownership has given him to contribute to the community. “We’re able to be more involved and give back to the local community more now than ever before,” he says. “I think what sets us apart is that I won’t let Eddie’s Pharmacy be just a business in the community. I want Eddie’s Pharmacy to be a service to the community and our customers can tell it.”
Highway 54 Salvage
Tony Parks, Terry Parks, Tony Kirk, owners of Hwy. 54 Salvage, are among nominees for “Small Business of the Year”.
Highway 54 Salvage is an automotive recycling business located just outside the Trenton city limits. It began in the early 1950’s as the James Ezra Kirk farm family’s wintertime attempt to supplement their income by collecting, sorting, and selling scrap metals.
Kirk’s son, Billy James Kirk, and his wife, the former Peggy Ledsinger, fine-tuned the business into a used auto parts business and officially opened Highway 54 Salvage in 1954, when their first building was constructed. With expansions in 1958, throughout the 60’s, 70’s, and with the addition of a foreign car division in 1980, the business grew to serve beyond Trenton, and Gibson County, to West Tennessee and the Mid-South.
The next generation, Tony Wayne Kirk and Terry Kirk Parks, grew up in the business and became full-time employees soon after finishing high school. The brother and sister team bought the business from their parents in 1993; they continue to run it “family style” today.
Highway 54 Salvage is a member of the Automotive Recyclers Association, where it has been “CAR” Certified (the industry standard of excellence) and recently became a member of Quality Replacement Parts of the Midwest, a nationally recognized organization of salvage yards that share inventories to better serve their customers.
Highway 54 Salvage not only provides Trenton and Gibson County with quality auto parts at a reasonable price, but it also delivers to all of West Tennessee and ships parcels and freight throughout the United States on a daily basis. Highway 54 Salvage also provides jobs for 17 area families. It is a family run business that has served Gibson County well for more than 50 years.
Siler Thornton Agency, Inc.
Camilla Langston, Mae Beth Reed, Chuck Thornton and Keith Siler stand by a sign in front of Siler Thornton Agency., The agency has been nominated for “Small Business of the Year.”
Siler Thornton Agency, Inc. is an independent insurance agency located at 334 South Main Street (in the old Central Control building), Dyer. The exact starting date of the business is unknown, but records show that in 1924, the late G. W. Marrs purchased a small general agency from M. L. Hudson; and the business has been in operation ever since.
Kyle Bugg owned the agency from 1966 to 1997. The staff now includes Keith Siler, Chuck Thornton, Camilla Langston, and Mae Beth Reed, who recently celebrated her 50th year of employment with the business. Loyalty also extends to Siler Thornton Agency’s customers; many have been customers for 40-plus years.
Keith Siler and Chuck Thornton bought a share of the agency in 1998 and purchased the remaining shares in 2001. From day one, Siler Thornton Agency has made a point to be heavily involved in the community. Everyone in the office serves in some capacity.
“We feel strongly that there is a higher purpose than simply making money,” says Siler. “We want to make a difference in people’s lives.”
On April 2, 2006, Siler Thornton Agency got its chance to make a difference. The devastating tornadoes that struck Gibson County affected hundreds of its customers.
“It was awful,” recalls Thornton. “We pretty much worked around the clock for weeks.” In the end, Siler Thornton Agency’s companies paid over $4 million in tornado claims in the Gibson County area.
Siler Thornton Agency offers all types of life and health insurance products, including home, auto, farm and commercial insurance. Its companies include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, AFLAC, Auto Owners, Safeco, Progressive, and AIG. Siler Thornton Agency’s goal is “to always offer quick, valuable personal service to its customers,” They refuse to use an automated phone system because they say they want their customers to feel appreciated.
Camilla Langston sums it up saying, “We don’t refer our customers to someone else for answers. They have trusted us with their financial protection and we’re going to do the work for them.”
Nominations for “Small Business of the Year” were made by Chamber members on the basis of community and civic involvement, high moral character and dedication to the growth of the Greater Gibson County community.
“Trenton is truly blessed to have these businesses,” Rodamaker said. “Our community is a much better place because of their ongoing contribution.”