July 19, 2017 - Dearing, Ga. — McCorkle Nurseries, Inc., a family-owned nursery business founded in 1942 by C.S. McCorkle with his wife, Avice, and mother, Beatrice, will celebrate its 75th year of growing in September 2017. The founders’ two sons, Don and Jack, follow the example of their parents as they mentor the third generation of McCorkle family leaders: Chris, Skeetter (pictured) and Beverly.
Skeetter McCorkle, CEO and grandson of founder C.S. McCorkle, was a recipient of a 2017 Horticulture Industry Leadership Award at Cultivate ’17.
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After growing ornamental plants for an innovative peach grower near Augusta during the Great Depression, C.S. McCorkle established a retail and landscaping business at the right time to serve the post-World War II building boom. The business suffered multiple setbacks in its early days but persisted and grew. In 1977, the Augusta-based garden center was sold, and the focus shifted to growing and wholesale distribution from the family’s farm near Dearing, Ga. Since the late 1970s, the company has enjoyed significant growth serving customers across seven Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.
Today, McCorkle is a major supplier to numerous Lowe’s and The Home Depot locations as well as independent garden centers like Pike Nurseries. In addition to being a licensed grower for most major plant brands, McCorkle Nurseries launched its own line of top-performing plants, the Gardener’s Confidence Collection, which features more than 60 patented and trademarked selections.
Describing themselves as “raised to work,” brothers Don and Jack McCorkle, now in their 70s, still take an active daily role in the family business. The current leadership carries on what Jack calls their “family tradition of honesty, hard work and caring for the people we touch.” Skeetter agrees, “Our values are our roots and our aim is to promote integrity while being a Christian-centered family business.”
The company takes a forward-looking approach, utilizing advanced robotic technology, rigorous quality measures, innovative plant shipping methods, irrigation and rainwater collection and recycling systems, and the latest methods in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Taking innovation another step in 2007, MNI Direct was launched to serve the professional landscape trade from four locations.
The company made a significant commitment to support horticultural research by developing The Center for Applied Nursery Research in conjunction with the University of Georgia’s Horticulture Department. The Center, located adjacent to the nursery, advances commercial nursery management practices and provides numerous successful plant introductions.
The McCorkle “family” has grown over the years to include about 200 team members—many of whom have multiple generations of involvement. Over the years, McCorkle leaders have served in numerous roles in national and state industry organizations.
Image: Chris and Skeetter McCorkle, courtesy of McCorkle Nurseries.