Joe Everest is proud of the history of his company, Ozark Fence. There’s a twinkle in his eye and reverence in his tone when he tells the story of this company that’s been a part of his family for over half a century.
In early 1955, Joe’s grandfather, John Everest started working at Ozark Fence, with the intention of sticking around for a little while and helping his brother-in-law build the business a bit. Ten years later, he bought the business outright, thinking it would enable him to quit a couple other jobs. Little did he know he would be dedicating most of his time to building this company. John did installations all day and made sales calls in the evenings and also owned his own farm. He was busy all day every day.
Ozark Fence moved to its current location on West College in the 1980s. It was around this time that John decided to expand the company and hire several additional men for crews in an effort to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for fencing.
Eventually John informed the family that he was ready to sell the business and hoped one of his children would buy it. Joe’s dad, Jim decided this was the opportunity he was looking for and moved the family from North Carolina to Springfield.
Jim saw that his father had built Ozark Fence into a solid business focused on serving the residential customers of the Springfield area. He decided it was time to grow into a company that served both residential and commercial customers. Jim also chose to focus on improving the customer service experience for both residential and commercial clients, in addition to general contractors. He did this by implementing customer oriented policies and procedures.
Joe bought the business from his father in January of 2016 and says the current focus is to make the move from local business to a great local brand. “We’ve always had a commitment to providing best quality materials, best quality service,” he says. “That’s what got us here today and that will never change.”
“What we’re doing moving forward is becoming a customer service business that happens to build fence,” says Joe. “Focus on customers, make sure the customer experience is a wow, make sure they feel that they got more than what they bargained for.”
While Ozark Fence has always been involved in the community, that involvement wasn’t a heavy priority. Under Joe’s leadership that has changed immensely. “If it fit in the budget or if we happened to have the money to sponsor something we were more than happy to but we never really took an active approach. Now, what we do is actively try to find community projects to get involved with,” says Joe.
Currently, Ozark Fence is teaming up with area businesses and the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery to provide a security fence to deter dumping and vandalism. The company is also involved with One Sole Purpose, which provides new shoes for the children of Springfield’s Title One schools.
“Our philosophy is that the community has taken care of us for 63 years. Why not take care of the community that takes care of you?” says Joe.
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