Locally made golf clubs, turntables, guitars and even yachts and the stories behind the artisans who make them:
Established: Early 2000s
Where to buy: Independence Golf Club (Midlothian)
Products: Custom-fit golf clubs and repairs
Andrew Hodson was 9 years old when he put his first grips on a golf club. Starting a golf business was a natural fit for someone whose father and grandfather played professionally.
“I’ve been repairing clubs for as long as I can remember,” says Hodson, who does repairs and custom fittings at his shop and from his mobile unit that travels to courses. “Good players can’t get what they need at a big box shop.” –WP
Fern & Roby
Where to buy: Website
Products: Turntables, speakers, audio accessories and furniture
Christopher Hildebrand and Sara Moriarty started making speakers as a way to use the metal castings left over from their first company’s industrial metal work. The couple’s spinoff became Fern & Roby, whose wood-and-metal speakers, turntables, subwoofers and tables have made waves with an industrial-yet-warm appearance and American-made appeal. “To be able to design and build these things ourselves, to change the direction of how it will look in real time, is pretty great,” says Moriarty. –WP
Tiffany Yachts Inc.
Where to buy: On-site
Products: 30- to 80-foot custom yachts (also refurbishing, repairs, paint and sales)
The Cockrell family has built more than 150 yachts since Tiffany Cockrell started fashioning pleasure boats with his father, Odis C.W. Cockrell, in the 1940s. Today, the fourth generation works at the family business in Burgess, which, after a fire in 2010, now focuses on refurbishing and repairing older yachts with their signature craftsman touch. “We like the personal connection between our family and the customers,” says Laura Shackleford, the founder’s granddaughter. “That’s important.” –WP
Where to buy: 7310 Beulah St.
Products: Produce stand and plant nursery
What started as a roadside stand more than 50 years ago is now a sprawling nursery center with plenty of produce still tempting customers in the checkout line. “The fundamentals haven’t changed,” says Valerie Nalls, vice president of the family-owned company. “We’re still a down-home, community business.” Look for the more than 40 chickens that roam the nursery and Penny the teacup pig during your next visit. –WP
Mouth of Wilson
Where to buy: By appointment
Products: Handmade acoustic guitars
Country music star Zac Brown has been waiting on a guitar from Wayne Henderson for a good while now. But, like everyone else who wants a handmade instrument from the legend who’s made them for the likes of Eric Clapton and Vince Gill, he had to get on the six- to 10-year waiting list. “Mostly, I make them for local people, the bluegrass, old-time music people,” Henderson says in his Southwest Virginia drawl. Recently his daughter, Elizabeth Jane Henderson, joined the family business making her own guitars (without the wait). –WP