Every successful business has to keep up with industry trends or be left behind. But some industries don’t necessarily see much change or technological advancement. Commercial and residential fence construction is one such industry.
The standard for wood fences has always been to use treated yellow pine pickets and posts. However, studies have shown that one out of eight treated pine fences constructed will warp and twist within a few years.
Joe Everest, CEO of Ozark Fence, wasn’t happy with these numbers or results and rather than keep up with industry standards, he decided to change them.
While Ozark Fence still offers wood fencing, the planks are cedar and the posts are steel. This change eliminates the possibility of twisting and warping altogether. In fact, Everest sees this change sweeping the industry and becoming the norm for even the largest fence companies within the next five years. “We made the decision to set a new standard in the industry so when people see our trucks pull into the driveway, they know that they’re getting quality. Period.”
Joe Everest takes being part of a legacy seriously. Ozark Fence has been around for 62 years and was once owned by both his father and grandfather. Since he’s been head of the company, he’s implemented changes in quality standards and upped the business’s community involvement.
“When you’re a 62 year old company, you get a really long look on things,” says Everest. “There are cheaper ways of building fences, but there aren’t any better ways. And that’s what’s important to our legacy.”
Joe Everest has also made a commitment to use as much American made, regionally sourced material as he possibly can. The ornamental iron the company uses is made in Tulsa from American mined and forged steel and comes with a lifetime warranty. The cedar boards come from a family owned and operated mill in Arkansas. Galvanized nails come from Poplar Bluff. “We’ve made a commitment to keep our dollars as close to home in the Midwest as we can,” he says.
Another way he likes to keep the company’s dollars as local as possible is to sponsor charitable events in the community. Ozark Fence was a water station sponsor for the recent Habitat for Humanity Homerun and also sponsored the giraffe feeding area at the Kids’ Fair at Dickerson Park Zoo. And there are many more sponsorships on the horizon at events throughout the Springfield area.
The company is also heavily involved with One Sole Purpose, which provides new shoes for the children of Springfield’s Title One schools. “This community has taken care of my family’s company for the last 62 years, I feel indebted to them for helping us get to where we are today,” says Everest.
Joe still shares the office with his father and grandfather and when he thinks about the future of his family’s business he sees no end in sight for the legacy. “I want my son, when he’s building fence in thirty years, to be proud of the fences we built.”
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