A few thoughts come to my mind as I sit down to write this. First, great things do come from humble beginnings, and all things are possible with God.
With that said, it all started in the small town of China Grove, North Carolina. I remember as a young boy, I would go around the neighborhood asking the people that lived on our block if they needed any yard work done. Borrowing the tools from my dad’s garage, as well as using some of the tools from the people I worked for, I started trimming shrubbery, raking leaves, and planting small plants. It was during this time that my love of gardening and landscaping began.
My family moved to Gastonia, North Carolina about the time I was entering high school. When we moved into our new neighborhood, I began making fliers and passing them out. My Mom and Dad helped me buy my first riding lawn mower and I began to take care of quite a few lawns in the neighborhood. Before I knew it, I had ten or so people I was working for regularly. I have fond memories and great appreciation for the people that trusted me as a young teenage boy to cut their grass and trim their hedges.
After high school, it was on to college. I found my perfect fit at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, NC. They have an incredible Horticulture program that I was privileged to attend. If you are ever in the Pinehurst area, visiting the gardens at the college is a must for any plant lover. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
After graduating from Sandhills, it was onto my next great adventure. I was hired as an intern to work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida on their horticulture staff. Wow, what an experience. I learned so much, and had loads of fun being a part of all they had to offer. But I wasn’t ready to sit still. I really wanted to travel out west before I settled down somewhere. So, I applied for another intern position with Monrovia Nurseries in Azuza, California. I was accepted and so packed my things and headed out west. Again, this was another incredible work opportunity that I was privileged to experience. I am a big supporter of the Monrovia brand. Today, at our garden center, you will find a large selection of Monrovia plant material and soils, because I know they offer superior products.
Eventually, the time came that I felt North Carolina was calling me home, so I said goodbye to California and headed back. We do live in a beautiful state! Once I moved back to Gastonia, I worked for a local nursery and several landscape companies before I decided it was time to go out on my own. By this point, I had met my future wife and business partner, who, I must take the time to say, has always been one of my greatest supporters, and my closest friend. So, with her encouragement, and that of my parents, Southern Roots was born. For the next twelve years, I ran a small landscape design and installation company where we did everything from building retaining walls and patios, constructing water features, installing irrigation, and maintaining the lawns of some of my first customers I established as a teenager. It was during this time that I realized this was what I was supposed to be doing, and that North Carolina was where I was meant to be.
In the fall of 2005, I approached a family who owned a garden center in Belmont,NC and asked them if they had ever thought of selling the business. To my surprise, they said yes! The previous owners were ready to retire, and I was eager to take the reigns. After careful negotiations we purchased their garden center and renamed the business “Southern Roots Garden Center”. For the past three years, my wife and I, along with an awesome group of employees, have worked hard to build upon the success of the business that the owners before us had established. We love the people and plants, and I know that when you come to visit our store, you will enjoy your time here.
Let me finish with these final thoughts. I didn’t accomplish any of the goals I set or get to where I am today because of me and me alone. I must give all the glory to My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who makes all things possible. He gave me two wonderful and supportive parents. Without them, I would not be the man that I am today. He gave me the most beautiful, incredible and hard-working wife that any man could ask for. Countless other family members and friends have believed in me and invested in my dreams. God placed all these wonderful people in my life, and without them, Southern Roots would not exist. I am simply a southern boy who still loves trimming hedges, mowing grass and playing in the dirt.
The journey continues…
Thomas H. Joyner