After 42 years owning and operating Dodd Builders Supply, Mike and Jennie Dodd are retiring and will no longer be helping customers with their hardware and building needs six days per week. They have sold the business to Griffin Lumber and Hardware, which plans to begin serving customers in Forsyth the first of July.
Dodd said Griffin Lumber & Hardware carries a full line of hardware and building materials. In fact Griffin carries Orgill Hardware, the same as Dodd Builders Supply, so customers will see familiar brands and lines.
“They are very customer-oriented like us. They will carry on similar to us,” said Dodd. “They care about their customers. They’ll be good for the community.”
Dodd’s customers and his community matter to him, and he wants the business he built to continue to take care of them. He has served as a city council member for 18 years and has two years to go on his current term. He said Forsyth is home, and he has no intention of leaving.
He came to Monroe County in 1972 to work in forestry, a new graduate of University of Georgia where he attended with Monroe Countians Nolen Howard and Billy Lancaster. He worked for Harold “Unk” Kendrick for four years until the opportunity to open Dodd Builders Supply arose. He and Jennie, whom he had married in 1974, opened the business at 70 West Main Street and stayed at that location for 20 years.
Dodd said the building had been a home and then for a number of years had been a medical clinic. Jennie and her siblings had been born at the clinic. He said Jennie’s office at Dodd Builders was across from what had been the delivery room at the clinic, and Jennie was teased that she had not traveled far from where she began life.
The couple welcomed three sons, Ernie, Jon Eric and Corbin, the last two born while their parents were working at the business on West Main Street. Jennie was helping a customer when she told him she had to leave to go have baby Corbin at Monroe County Hospital. The Dodds now have added three daughter-in-laws and four grandchildren to the family.
Dodd said theirs was truly a family business, and Jennie’s father, Jack Murray, was an important part of it for many years. Jack Murray also served on Forsyth city council.
By 1997 Dodd Builders Supply had outgrown the lot on West Main Street and moved to its present location on Harold G. Clarke Parkway near Exit 185 off I-75.
“We didn’t have room and were growing so fast,” said Dodd. “We did well. I’m proud the community supported us.”
He said his loyal employees, like Kenny Walker and Jeanette Sosebee, have been key to the long-term success of Dodd Builders Supply, too. Walker has been with the Dodds since the beginning, the whole 42 years. He will also be retiring with them as the store is transferred to its new owners.
“Kenny is my right-hand man,” said Dodd. “I don’t know what I would have done without Kenny.”
He said they went through a tough time during the downturn of the economy, and it had been difficult to get back up to full force. After weathering that storm, when he was approached by Griffin Lumber and Hardware about buying the business, he felt it was the right time to sell.
When asked what he will miss most, Dodd said it will be his customers. “I enjoy dealing with people. I love to talk to people,” said Dodd. “We always had the coffee pot going, and there would be a group of contractors around.”
He said he built friendships with customers over the years, whether he saw them every couple of days or every few weeks. He would keep up with what was happening in their lives. “That’s the beauty of a small town,” he said.
Besides continuing his involvement with Forsyth on city council, Dodd plans to use his extra time after retirement playing golf, catching up with things that need to be done around his house, spending time with his children and grandchildren and traveling a little. He grew up in North Georgia, one of six children, and still has a lot of family there. His father was one of nine and his mother one of seven children; so he has a lot of extended family, too. He would like to visit Normandy one day, where his uncle and father were part of the invading forces in WWII; his uncle was wounded in the Battle of Saint-Lo, and his father-in-law served in the Army Air Force in the Europe during the war. Dodd would also like to visit Gettysburg where his great uncle was killed and is buried at the battlefield.
Dodd said he is proud of being a part of things the Forsyth city council has done and is proud the city is financially strong.
“We have work planned, but we have funding for it planned,” said Dodd. “We have a good mayor and council.”
He is pleased that Griffin Lumber & Hardware is a family organization and is civic-minded. The president is C.J. Griffin, and it is based in Cordele, with businesses in Tifton and Griffin as well as Forsyth. It began as Cordele Sash & Door. Randy Maddox, who is currently working at the Griffin store, will manage the Forsyth store, and the company will build up staff in Forsyth as they take over.
“I enjoyed my 42 year run, but it’s time to take it easy,” said Dodd.