TIFTON — When Sam Branch started the Coming Soon to Tifton Facebook page in 2013-14, he wanted to highlight local business.
He and his wife would ride around on date nights, taking pictures of new construction and businesses.
“I started the page as a way for new small businesses to get their names out there. It was mainly just a place where I thought that everybody could go, anybody in town could get together and talk,” said Branch.
While Branch runs the page by himself, he relies on a loose network of contractors and contacts for information about upcoming businesses.
“I want people to see the good in what we do have, and the fact that we’re growing and we’re growing like crazy,” said Branch. “Any growth is good. Any time you take an old building and turn it into something that brings in revenue, brings in jobs…brings in people off I-75 who then get gas, it’s a good thing.”
He remembers being excited when the page hit 100 followers, and then 1,000. Nowadays, it sits at around 13,500.
“When I see businesses that I feel like I helped a little get off the ground, when I see they’re Top 10 Under 40, or winning Top Burger, Top Massage. When I do see somebody — a company, a business — doing good that I had some part in…If I can help just a little, that’s great.”
Since starting the page, Branch started his own business, Sam’s Shop & Woodworks.
He had always been his own handyman around the house, and after years of making his own home repairs, he had assembled a diverse skill set.
When he lost a job about five years ago, he wondered if it wouldn’t be more secure, career-wise, to get into business for himself.
“When I lost that job, I was looking around my shop,” Branch said. “I thought, ‘I’ve got all these tools. I’ve got some skill.’”
His preacher at First Baptist Church told him about a lady who needed someone to change out her lightbulbs and air filters. He started there.
“I would do small jobs,” Branch said. “I didn’t have a fancy truck; I didn’t have business cards. I’d change out light bulbs and air filters and had a mower and a trailer.
“My mom got me the trailer; I always say she was one of my earliest investors.”
He installed ceiling fans, changed out light ballasts and started pressure washing as well.
He also does woodwork, everything from replacing deck boards to more creative, artistic installations.
“If I had the choice to build a nice piece of art versus replacing a couple of deck boards — now, I’m not going to turn the deck work down — but if I have a choice I’d rather do something that has more of a wow factor,” he said.
As a life-long Tifton resident with a diverse resume, he sometimes finds himself working for people he first met as a teenager.
“Tifton is my home,” he said. “These are my people. It’s just great, it’s good knowing everybody.”