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Candler Local Spotlight

New business on seasoned soil in Gooseneck

There’s a new business in Gooseneck, but it’s on VERY seasoned soil.

You’ve probably seen it by now on Highway 301 South as you travel into Glennville. Tim’s Mowers and More. The new venture owned by Tim and Karen Bland features Toro brand lawn mowers and provides service and maintenance for just about anything with a motor. The new business also has an interesting resemblance to what it looked like 40 years ago – a token of that part of Tattnall County in the 1950s and 60s.

The lawn mower franchise sits just a few yards from the busy highway in the same red building where the famous grocery store owned by Mr. Carlos Blocker used to be. Mr. Carlos passed away at the age of 94, but the homeplace, the adjoining grocery store, and all the land surrounding it has remained in the family for years despite most of the family’s migration to the metro areas.

(Pictured L-R) Will Newman, Karen Bland, Tim Bland, Layne Newman, Logan Bland

It was just back in February that the Bland family acquired the property. The building itself was in great condition. Karen Bland said not a single lightbulb had to be replaced before the opening of Tim’s Mowers and More – a true testament to the quality and longevity of products made back in the day. Tim and Karen, with the help of their three children Will Newman, Layne Newman and Logan Bland, renovated much of the inside themselves. New floors, fresh paint, an erected wall for the parts – the family worked together for six weeks to prepare the building. It didn’t hurt that Tim’s dad is a carpenter by trade and his brother, Stuart, is an electrician.

But much of the inside has the feel of the grocery store from what now seems like so ‘‘long ago.’ The shelves are used for the parts department while the display shelves are right in front of customers as they come in the store. Even the bathrooms have the feel to them with the restored sinks. A new addition was added on to the side of the building, with taller ceilings, to give space for the shop.

And the story of how the family-owned business came to be is nothing shy of Divine Providence. The Blands had been on the hunt for the right building, and while the search wasn’t aggressive, the Blands had told a few close friends they were in search for a home for this proposed family business.  It was a friend who connected Tim to Mrs. Carolyn Blocker Mobley who was instantly open to the idea of selling the property to the Blands. The sale went quickly and seamlessly and there was just one long term obligation: The well is on the store side of the property and though Mrs. Carolyn only returns to Gooseneck a few times a year, she wanted (and needed)  guaranteed water for life.

So, in March, Tim’s Mowers and More opened for business and it’s been great. Logan Bland works at the shop in the afternoons while he wraps up his last year in high school. He’s planning to go on to get certified as a small engine mechanic and will then work full-time at the store and shop. Their other son, Will Newman, is a certified small engine mechanic and helps out when his job in insurance allows. Tim, who is the Assistant Parts Manager at NeSmith Chevrolet in Claxton, has part help for when neither he nor Logan can cover the store, but it’s him and Mrs. Karen who work it on Saturdays.

The Blands hosted an open house Saturday, which was well-attended by people from all over the Evans and Tattnall County communities and, of course, representatives from Redmax/Jonsered, Rotary & Toro. Raffle prizes, hot dogs, and a general sense of community were enough to hold off the rain and turn an ‘open house’ into more of a party. The success of that was due, in part, to Layne Newman, a public relations specialist whose been helping with marketing and publicity.

Mrs. Carolyn Blocker just happened to be at her homeplace next door Saturday morning during the open house. She said she couldn’t be happier about the new business venture a rock’s throw from her front stoop. “Over the years, I’ve had other offers, but none of them seemed to fit just right. I prayed about it and I couldn’t be happier that it’s a local business that’s working with other family businesses in the area.”

She was elated to see the Bland’s had kept so many of the features of her daddy’s store from her childhood. She said she was pleased to see the type of business to go in the building too, as her daddy had an affinity for his grass, lawn mowers, and the maintenance of them in his later years.

So the old tradition of family business is carried on with a new family and a new generation.

You can follow Tim’s Mowers and More on Facebook or give them a call at (912) 654-1669.

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com.

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