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A change of career paths
Garners take over SERVPRO franchise in Boro
Serv Pro photo for Web
Peggy and Steve Garner are shown in the store of their SERVPRO franchise office in Statesboro. - photo by JAMES HEALY/staff

    Like many business executives, Steve Garner found himself in a state of self-imposed retirement, and wasn’t quite sure that he was ready.
      “Jim Campbell and I sold our company Tailored Business Systems six years ago,” Garner said. “We both continued to work for the firm that bought it. It was sold again this past December to Canadian based Harris Computer Systems, and I chose to leave at that point.”
      Garner said after developing a successful company and being his own boss for more than two decades, the desire to work and create something still remained.
      “I couldn’t decide if I was retired or unemployed,” he said. “I just knew that I still wanted to work, but I did not really want to develop software any longer. I had been doing that since graduating from Georgia Southern in 1978.”
       The 55-year-old business executive began searching for a second career. After months of exploration, Garner and his wife Peggy decided to buy the Statesboro SERVPRO franchise located on Matthews Road.
       Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO franchise system is a national leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. Servpro has a network of more than 1,500 individually owned and operated franchises in 48 states responding to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss situations.
       Garner said he has a very close friend and former fraternity brother at Georgia Southern whose family had owned SERVPRO franchises in South Carolina since the late 1960’s.
       “Marty Williams and I have remained very good friends all of these years,” Garner said. “I saw how successful he was, and was familiar with SERVPRO. When I told him I was exploring opportunities, he mentioned that the SERVPRO franchise in Statesboro might be for sale. After much due diligence, my wife and I decided to buy it. There is such tremendous upside here, and we very thrilled with its potential.”
        Williams said his father had SERVPRO franchises in South Carolina that he sold due to health reasons before Williams graduated from Georgia Southern.
       “I had always worked in the business for my father, and knew when I was attending Georgia Southern that that was what I wanted to do,” he said. “I now own two franchises in Columbia, South Carolina, and the trainership for the eastern half of South Carolina.”
       Williams said he is very confident that Garner will do well with the Statesboro franchise.
       “Steve is very business oriented, and operated a real successful business for a number of years,” he said. “I know that he will be able to manage this franchise, and hire the right people, and frankly, that is the key. He will be dynamite and do a great job.”
      Peggy Garner is an accountant working for Walker Pharmacy. She is slated to handle the financial responsibilities for the company while continuing to work for the pharmacy chain.
      “Steve is going to dedicate his time to managing and growing the business,” she said. “I will serve a background role behind the scenes.”
      SERVPRO of Statesboro serves a five-county area including Bulloch, Screven, Emanuel, Candler, and Jenkins Counties. Recently, SERVPRO corporate trainer Mike Gosnell spent a week at the Statesboro location.
      “I work with franchise owners on site after they have had three weeks of training at our corporate office in Galatin, Tennessee,” Gosnell said. “It was a great week in Statesboro. Steve and Peggy are very accomplished, and I see them tripling the business that that franchise was doing when they purchased it. They could easily have ten to 15 employees.”
     Garner seems genuinely excited to be an entrepreneur again. “I worked for myself for so many years, and really enjoyed it,” he said. “I know this is very different from software design and implementation, but it is still a business with tremendous upside, and that is thrilling in and of itself.”
      SERVPRO is known for providing emergency mitigation services in the instances of flood and fire to allow the property owner to begin to regain some sense of control.
     “SERVPRO o goes above and beyond the call of duty to help their/our customers in a time of need,” Garner said. “And franchises can participate on major storm and disaster response teams. Peggy and I both feel this is an opportunity to give back in a way, to help people that are truly in a desperate situation.”
    In addition to emergency mitigation services, Servpro offers the following cleaning services: carpets, floors, on-site dry cleaning of draperies, furniture and upholstery, and ductwork systems. To learn more about SERVPRO you can visit their website at www.servpro.com.
    Steve and Peggy Garner live in Statesboro and have one daughter Kelsey, a rising senior at Statesboro High School, and a married daughter Jessi Pennington.