By EMILY HEIDELBERG
Lauren Still knows first-hand the experience of working for a family business, Still Family Farm.
Still Family Farm LLC exists as a community-focused business in Powder Springs, Ga., with a desire to share a passion for the land. The Still family values family, the land and its history, and protecting the farm’s rich history.
The land Still Family Farm is located on is from the third original land grant of Georgia. Viola Walden Still and her husband inherited the 140 acres of land in the 1920s. They left the land to their children, including their son, Glenn Still. Glenn Still and his wife act as stewards of the land.
Still Family Farm introduced its first business venture last year, Corn on the Cobb – a family friendly attraction open during the fall season. Some of the attractions include hayrides, zip lines, tractor parade, a small corn maze for younger children, food trucks and local honey for sale.
Lauren Still, a 22-year-old grandchild of the Glenn Still, worked as an attractions monitor, in ticket booth sales, promotions, and as a corn planter. She was raised with a sense of pride in the land and where she comes from. Working as a part of a family business, there is a common interest of success. Everyone is working toward the same goal.
“We all have the same sense of pride for our land to bring these people on and show them what we’re about,” she said.
Around 25 members of the Still family work together at Corn on the Cobb. The workers are part of the sixth, seventh and eighth generation family members.
“It was a family effort to get everything ready from building bathrooms, planting corn, arranging picnic tables, building ramps for the hay ride, grading the hayride trail, and making signs,” she said.
Ethan Still, a 19-year-old grandchild of Glenn Still, worked to plow the land prior to opening and drove a tractor for the hayrides once Corn on the Cobb opened.
The inaugural year for Corn on the Cobb was extremely successful. Corn on the Cobb opened for its first day on Sep. 14, 2013, and the family was pleased with how well the attraction did in its first year.
“There’s not really something of this magnitude or something along these lines nearby,” Lauren Still said.
Business picked up gradually as the season went on, especially closer to Halloween and when the air became colder.
“Our first season was more successful than we anticipated,” she said.
The initial business proposal for Still Family Farm was pitched to the entire Still family on Christmas 2011 by Jeff Still and Leslie Oubre Still, Lauren Still’s cousins and the current managing members. The idea was put to a vote with everyone agreeing to support and stand alongside the new venture.
Lauren Still says she was excited about the new business because she loves corn mazes. She does not feel pressure to work for her family because they had a chance to vote.
“I enjoy working with them because it is an environment I’m comfortable working in,” Ethan Still said.
Still Family Farm is not the first business operated by the Still Family. The family also has a long history operating Still Construction, a grading business that relies heavily on the housing market for construction contracts. Due to the recession and the downturn in the housing market, the Still family decided to create Still Family Farm as a way to supplement its income while enjoying the business and having fun.
“In our case, the money we make from it helped to pay the property taxes,” Ethan Still said.
There are plans for further business ventures from Still Family Farm in the future. The family hopes one day to plant Christmas trees and even host a wedding venue. Further down the road there are plans to open a sit-down restaurant.
When Corn on the Cobb opens this fall for its second year, there will be even more attractions than last year. They plan to add a corn maze and a 5K race called “Run to the Corn.”
As a harvest time attraction, there were plans to have the corn maze up and running last year. However, the weather can’t be controlled which is something the Still family is familiar with since they have a long history with the land since the 1920s. Due to a heavy rain season, the corn maze had to be postponed until this year.
“Despite planting the corn three different times, it just did not happen, so this year we look forward to introducing the giant corn maze,” Lauren Still said.
Working in a family business has taught Lauren Still many valuable lessons. She has learned how to work together within a family despite their differences and she has learned the importance of time management. These skills will help her in future endeavors as well whether she is a part of the family business or not. Working with her family members can sometimes be a challenging task because of the large amount of time they spend together.
“You don’t have to like them, but you have to love them,” she said.
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