Business took off. Smallwoods was hiring more and more people, making new and exciting products, and investing in new technology and machinery. All of Smallwoods’ operations were finally consolidated under one roof—complete with a woodshop, a coating and stain department, printing, and shipping department. Even better, the location was a place for people to gather and enjoy each other’s company.
Outside of work, Josh’s family life was growing and thriving as well. He and Holly had long shared a dream of what they wanted life for their family to look like. A dream of building their own house—a special home on rural property just like the farm Josh’s grandpa owned as a kid. By 2015, that dream was coming to life. They had saved enough money to purchase 80 acres of land outside of Longview, and Josh began designing the property using Microsoft Paint. As a family they cleared brush, restored the land, planted trees, and dredged a big gurgling stream.
It had been a long journey, and everything was finally coming together.
But Josh didn't have time to celebrate—and many of the new machines he had recently invested in would never have a chance to run. One night, Josh got a phone call from the local fire department — the Smallwoods building was on fire. Josh rushed to the building, and when he got there, the building was engulfed. Josh knew without having to ask. His building was gone. And his dream—closer to being realized than ever before—had just gone up in smoke.
Faced with such a blow, most people would spend time licking their wounds. But as Josh stood in the parking lot that night, he knew his people needed him. No matter what happened, he needed them to know they still had jobs—and their future was secure.
The fire wouldn’t destroy Josh Smallwood or the Smallwoods team. It would refine them. Josh drew on the strengths he’d developed during childhood. He’d learned to project calm and stay calm, and that attitude was reassuring to his employees. With hard work, focus, and resiliency, the team was able to get all the departments running. The company was back in business in just three days, and not one order was missed.
The Smallwoods team took the temporary setback as a chance to be the tight-knit work family they’d always talked about being, using it to come together, to rebuild, but also to reimagine. What should have been an ending was instead an opportunity to rebuild bigger and better.
The fire had created an opportunity to take stock and make sure they were doing the work the right way. In 2019, the team invested in proactive customer service, more quality control, and began researching automation processes so customers could create unique, customizable artwork.