Service, dedication deserve recognition

Published 8:43 am Saturday, November 15, 2014

Western Tidewater has been blessed over the years to have several homegrown businesses serve as the backbone of our local economy. Two of them celebrated significant milestones this week deserving of recognition.

It is hard to imagine a 19 year old successfully running, let alone being granted a dealer’s license for, an auto dealership. Yet that is exactly what Blake Blythe has done since he bought his first auto dealership at the tender age of 19. What was then Cobb Ford in Courtland, where Blythe also sold Ford tractors, is now Blake Ford on Armory Drive in Franklin. In an interview earlier this week with The Tidewater News, he stated, “We must be doing something right. Customers don’t come unless they trust you.”

He must be doing something right, indeed, because Blake Blythe’s dealership this week celebrated 40 years of serving its customers.

Like many family-owned businesses, Farmers Bank has been led by only three different members of the family since initially opening its doors to the public; Shirley T. Holland, Richard J. Holland and today, Richard J. “Dick” Holland Jr. What is remarkable, however, is that their leadership has spanned a period of 95 years. Under the guidance of the Holland family, Farmers Bank — which first opened in Windsor in 1919 with only 50 customers and $25,000 in operating capital — now serves between 7,500 and 10,000 customers, has 78 employees and six locations.

Both businesses exemplify what it means to find success by being dedicated to the customers and the community that they serve. We salute them both, and extend our best wishes for many successful years to come.