Mason Beuhring, Communications & Program Services Director at Marietta Community Foundation, sits down with Kin Brewer, member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, to get to know this prominent community member.
Mason Beuhring: So, Kin, before we sat down here, you showed me a few pictures of the businesses you have either owned or still own. What inspired you to become a small business owner?
Kin Brewer: Well, I grew up in Memphis, TN and my dad was a small business owner. He was in the drive-in restaurant business, what would be considered “fast-food” today. It was a hamburger restaurant called “Filler Burger,” and when I was eight years old I started cooking fries for him.
MB: At eight years old, working a fry station, you decided you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
KB: Maybe not at 8, but I think when I was 12 -14 years old I decided I wanted to be in some kind of business, just not the hamburger business. Of course, by that time I had graduated from the fry station to flipping the burgers!
I worked for my dad and got into the business routine. I learned how business worked, so by the time I was going to go to college I chose to major in Accounting and Finance. I wanted to get a solid background of understanding how the numbers worked; thinking I would want to be in business after I got out of college.
I worked a few years, after college, as a controller in the oil and gas industry in Dallas, Texas. I also worked in the professional photographic business as a controller for an advertising agency. In the 1980’s, my father-in-law, who was in the grocery business here in Marietta, hired me to come up here and take over his accounting. He had four stores, so I consolidated all of his accounting into one corporate office and took care of the administration.
My father-in-law ended up passing away in 1998, and my wife and I had the opportunity to buy those grocery stores out of his estate. We took that opportunity and continued to expand and that’s what has brought us to where we are today.
MB: You mentioned you decided to study accounting and finance in college. Where did you get your degree from?
KB: I went to Harding College, of course now it is Harding University. It is in a little town called Searcy, AK.
During the semesters I lived there and then during the summers I would move back home to Memphis. My mom and dad were nice enough to pay for my college, but I always had to have my own spending money. So during the summer I would work two or three part-time jobs to have spending money throughout the year.
I would work at the restaurant in the evenings from 4 pm to midnight, then get up the next morning at 6 am to work construction through the day-time. My dad also had a side business running bulldozers, graders, and back hoes for different projects; so, in between my shifts, I would take freelance jobs doing that kind of work.
MB: Outside of the busy life associated with owning a business, do you have any hobbies?
KB: My wife and I have a camper, so we like to travel around to various locations. We go camping all over, but we really enjoy camping in Ohio; places like Salt Fork and Amish Country. Aside from traveling and camping, I do a little shooting. I’m a member of the Harmar Hill Rifle Club.
MB: Having over 40 years working and owning small business, what advice would you give to someone wanting to establish a small business today?
KB: If you want to start a small business you need to stay on top of the information required by the government; whether it’s Federal, State, or local governments. That has so many ramifications on small business today. You have to not only provide the product or service to your customers, but you also have to be able to handle all of the laws, regulations, policies, and procedures placed upon you by the different government agencies.
It’s unbelievable what has been piled on to small business owners since I started 40 years ago. I spend a large portion of my time in the realm of handling the ongoing requirements the laws have placed on my businesses.
That would be my key advice to anyone looking to start their own business.
MB: How did you get involved with the Foundation?
KB: When I was asked to serve on the board, I had known about the Foundation for years. I was thrilled to death when I was asked if I was interested. I had served on many boards over the years and I value what the Foundation does in this community.
What better things can you do than to not just give away money, but also have a truly great purpose and reason to give away money? It just really makes me feel good.
MB: In your opinion, what is the best part about serving on MCF’s Board of Directors?
KB: One thing that has always impressed me about the Foundation is that anyone can set-up their own fund and decide the parameters of how it is used. It is so interesting to me to see what our donors care about. It’s neat that not everyone focuses on the same thing.
The best part about being on the board is participating in the oversight of how those funds are used and making sure the grants go to causes important to our donors. I really take a great deal of pride in making decisions based on the perception of the donor.
MB: Kin, thank you. It was a pleasure getting to sit down and find out more about you.
KB: The pleasure is all mine.