Lovelace: Employee dedication important aspect of business' success

Photo by Kristen Luther
Cherokee Metals was opened in the mid-90s in Washington County's Lamar community. Pictured, owner Benny Lovelace.

     By Greg Miller
star staff
  Cherokee Metals' owner Benny Lovelace emphasizes the importance of dedication on the part of his employees to the success of his business.
  "They have to work a lot of weekends, plus working through the week," Lovelace said. "It gets hard sometimes. I try to rotate them around as much as I can."
  Weekend work can include a variety of locations and weather. "Sometimes we have to work in the rain, in the snow, in the mud, whatever it takes to get it done," Lovelace said. "I've got a good bunch of boys. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be as far along as we are."
  Lovelace says most of his employees "are friendly and cut up with you a little bit, but they're serious about their work."
  In addition to the local community, Cherokee Metals serves a much larger area, including other areas of Tennessee, North Carolina and West Virginia.
  Lovelace stresses the importance of serving Cherokee Metals' customers. "We try to take care of them on an individual basis, anything they need, any time they need it," he said.
  Cherokee Metals is a fabrication shop, providing "installation of duct work, steel, aluminum, galvanized, black iron, basically anything you need done," Lovelace said. The company works on projects for a variety of industrial and commercial customers.
  Cherokee Metals, which has 16 employees, was opened in the mid-'90s in Washington County's Lamar community. The shop later moved into a bigger building on Rio Vista Hill before moving to the current location.
  Lovelace recalls that the early days of the business were not so easy. "I hocked my house," he said. "I hocked everything I owned except my truck when we started."
  Beginning the business was a "big" gamble, according to Lovelace. "We didn't have a clue if we'd make it or not," he said.
  Lovelace says he did not receive much encouragement when starting the business. "Everybody that I talked to said I wouldn't make it," he said. "We've held on so far."
  Lovelace stresses the importance of the firm's secretary (and his sister), Paula Buchanan, to the operation of the business. "Our secretary is a very important part of this business," he said. "She does all the billing and all the bill paying. She does great."
  The shop, located at 524 S. Sycamore St., is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  For more information, call 542-3733.