Turf business plants itself downtown
LaGRANGE — John and Catherine Holmes started their business, Atlas Turf, six years ago and until recently, ran it from their home.
On Tuesday, they unveiled their new office in a renovated building at 312 S. Lewis St. They celebrated the opening with an open house and a ribbon cutting hosted by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.
The couple bought the home, built in 1919, and had it renovated into an office building to operate the business. They also bought the adjacent lot, which they plan to eventually use for turf samples.
The company exports turf grass all over the world for use in places like golf courses and athletic fields. It started with a handful of customers its first year, and now has 100, said John Holmes. It employs four people full time.
The transition from home to a standalone office was a change, but at least one thing carried over.
“When John said we need to move out of our house to work in a real office, I said as long we bring my dog,” said Catherine Holmes to laughter from open house attendees. “… Almost every day, she’ll be here.”
John Holmes added they were glad to be downtown.
“We are so happy that all of you have turned out here, and we are so happy to be in downtown LaGrange,” he said to attendees. “Some of my fondest memories as a child were roaming the streets downtown and going to work with my father and grandfather at their pharmacy on Main Street, so being back in this downtown footprint is awesome.”
LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce president Page Estes hoped the business would serve as a model to others to refurbish existing buildings for use.
“You are certainly an inspiration,” Estes said. “We learned a lot from you and hope you will continue to mentor and inspire other businesses who want to grow.”
LaGrange City Councilman Nick Woodson thanked them for locating in LaGrange.
“We appreciate seeing everything you’ve done,” he said. “…We’re real happy to have you.”
Bobby Carmichael, executive director for the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority, noted that with its international operations, the company could have located anywhere.
“I want to thank you for planting yourself downtown,” he said.