Welcome to Remote Start Podcast!
June 15, 2022

E16: Carrying On The Family Legacy with Wesley Henderson

In this episode, I talk to our guest speaker, Wes Henderson, CEO of Talona Ridge, as well as One Stone Development, which is the overall company. Talona Ridge is the most beautiful RV resort we've been to, located in Ellijay, Northern Georgia. Wes is... See show notes at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/e16-carrying-on-the-family-legacy-with-wesley-henderson/#show-notes


In this episode, I talk to our guest speaker, Wes Henderson, CEO of Talona Ridge, as well as One Stone Development, which is the overall company. Talona Ridge is the most beautiful RV resort we've been to, located in Ellijay, Northern Georgia.

Wes is not only a CEO, but he is one of the family members that started the business, that started the whole One Stone. So I am excited to hear about his story, his family, and his business.

I'm sure we'll share the fun and even the hardships that went with it. We're going to go through all that and I'm hoping today, we can get a little bit of value from Wes and learn more about starting a business, building your brand, and living your desired lifestyle.

So that said, Remote Start Nation…

Let’s dig into the show!

 

Learn more about Wesley Henderson at: http://www.talonaridge.com/

Learn more about Remote Start Podcast at:  https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/

Transcript

Jim: Remote Start Nation, I wanna welcome you to another episode, I wanna thank you for joining us, today it's got a little round table going, I'm at a, the most beautiful RV resort we've been to, Talona Ridge, RV resort located and, how do you say is it Ellijay.

Wesley: And we've heard all sorts of yeah, what part of a Elijah Georgia on it's like, yeah, it's Ellijay, but it's good.

Jim: So it's Ellijay, it's Northern Georgia, it's beautiful I did a mountain bike ride yesterday, it is known for the mountain biking, the best mountain biking in Georgia and I can I gonna read anywhere else but I can say it was incredible. I was blown away.

So with that said, we're sitting here with Wes Henderson, he is the CEO of Talona Ridge, as well as One Stone Development, which is the overall company and really excited to see here with Wes, today because not only is Wes as CEO but he's one of the family members that started this, that started the whole one stone and I'm really excited to hear about a story, I'm excited to hear about the family, some of the stories that I'm sure we'll share the fun and even the hardships that went with. So we're gonna go through all that and Remote Start Nation, I'm hoping today we can get a little bit of value from Wes and learn some more about starting a business building your brand, and living your desired lifestyle. So that said, Wes, welcome man this is pretty cool.

Wesley: Thanks for having me this is, this is awesome, I seldom get to sit under this space at a relaxing setting and usually just blown through here, what are we gonna do next, this is nice, nice.

Jim: I know you're super busy and from talking to some of your staff, it's a the family is just everybody's doing everything around here you got I mean, when did you officially open?

Wesley: We officially opened this in November, a little cool story behind that, we had our first customers was also our first rally group which also happened to be a Youtube group called Switch It Up, out of I think they're at Kansas, but they came out too much prior I had to get on the phone with them I was wedding and nervous and, what guys you know you're supposed to be bringing 98 rigs here, I've got 37 sites, that's it, and I was trying to get them to cancel or to move it and I threw out, I was hoping they wouldn't take it and I've got, we've got a lot of land across the street, it's flat, it's graded,you could boom up the people who can't fit up here and they're like take it, don't like well another, now there's another one I we got now we got a more construction in the midst of our construction but we were able to bust tails and we were able to get concrete pads down at this bottom hock valley level or to everybody who came so everybody came to this event actually had a hard surface to park on with power, with water, with sewer, it nearly killed us, but it was it was great.

Jim: And that kinda speaks to your family values and just where you've come from and let's let's talk about that I mean to, one Ridge is new, it's, a new venture for you first RV park but it's not your first business, so let's go back to the way back and let's talk about everything everything's started.

Wesley: Yeah, so I mentioned our grandfather Leon Williams, who's the one who started our family company, I like to say he was born in an area called P Ridge which is South here and outside of a town called Jasper and it was known for its poverty and they were too poor for an area known for its poverty, that's how it started out, so his family had to pack up they moved down to Atlanta to work in an area called Cabbage Town, they called it Cabbage, because a lot of poor people from Appalachia would come down and they boil Cabbage,  so it's smelled like what it a whole name at Cabbage Town, it's broken. Now you go to Cabbage Town, these days you know it's, it's got all these massive development and high rises that, two bedroom house run about eight point about 800 and 85 850 to million dollars down Cabbage Town.

Jim: Okay, so things have changed quite a bit.

Wesley: Things change quite a bit, back then it was it was where the four mountain people came, he started out as a fire and in the basement of that firehouse, did a restoration for a furniture business and there he's always an entrepreneur at heart, and just would do anything that could make money, he helped repair washers and dryers a little while and they first came, on didn't have one but he knew somebody knew how to fix them and would connect the two, going there, he they didn't wanna do the restoration stuff in the basement of the firehouse house because it was a fire hazard, they didn't want the firehouse to burn down, that would have been pretty embarrassing, so he started a paint company and that paint company traveled around so he would be with fight fires in the night and during the day he deep borrow some of the other fire and they go paint, and this paint company got pretty big, they started taking some some big corporate not corporate but some larger government jobs it started of paying some school systems, then he started paying some apartment complexes, and when he got into the partner complex, concept of painting, which is, which is a fair amount of work in the apartment business anyway, a gentleman finance to him his first apartment complex and pretty much out of, out of pig because this, this guy was almost out the door not making this thing profitable so well I got nothing to lose financing it to this guy and he made it work, and was able to turn profit on that and from there got into the multi family business, and then from there you know he pretty much built an apartment empire I mean, he zones, he's owned lot of apartment complexes in his lifetime at one point we had about fifteen, 15 complexes, about three thousand units, we it was it was quite…

Jim: All of them in Georgia?

Wesley: all of them in Georgia, yep. A lot of them down in the Atlanta area, a few up and outside of Chattanooga, and a city called Dalton, couple in Carter's built, and the man always did some side hustle, he used to have a he had a fishing fleet for a while down in Florida, it wasn't profitable but at least it broke even a couple years so he could just five go deep scores, yeah he dabble in a own a radio station, chicken houses I mean, he's just on his side, he would his hobby was business that's which was incredible, I learned everything from him, my father married my mother, it was his daughter and he got broke right into the apartment business as well, his special was the Engineering, Leon, with his ability to be able to put financing on these things was and just his lingo with the banks was incredible then my father comes into the picture, his skill in engineering and construction was just unmatched. He grew up watching all of the subcontractors do stuff so that he at least know how to do it, so he could repair the air conditioning, he could also jack up the streets and be able to find a 4000 dollar a month water leak like nobody's business and so you put those two together, you've created a monster.

Jim: And so how long did those two work together in partnership before you were old enough to kinda come?

Wesley: Yeah well, I was growing up you know, that was bet you can't guess where we were, and so we were always doing stuff to help support the the business so when I was when I was later in my years in high school who really started getting busy and we just kinda, they threw me in there, one of my first things we bought an apartment complex it was 480 units it was 30% occupied, so it was it was an empty ghost town.

Jim: Gonna say, how many not many tenants?

Wesley: Yeah, they bought it for 4000 dollars a unit, it was insane I  don't think we'll ever see pricing like that again, but this thing was a beast and it was, they threw me into them and figured.

Jim: Learn fast.

Wesley: Good luck, yeah, you learn when you got an angry person on the phone and you can hang up on them, yeah, they show up at the office, it's become more worse yeah, and that's how I learned, oh well and so I mean, we and we did everything in house we hired no outside contract, we did our plumbing, we did our own electric we did on HVAC, I mean, we are buying some of this stuff you could stand in one building and look down and see the end about a of an eight unit building and you're looking at the far they external wall down there, I mean, they were they were gutted and destroyed and they did all that ourselves like, they put all this stuff back together and there's three, there's three phases to the multi family cycle, one's the innovators, which was our my grandfather he started out, and then it's the people who came in and started buying some of the portfolio that they had fixed up, you know, for instance Highland Vista,  sold for 4000 a unit, I think he turned around on sold that first, is either 28 or 32 a door, and so some of the profit margins on these are incredible you know, people line up, you know, oh I wanna do that and it's like, think long I'm gonna hard before you wanna do that, because you talk about group I mean I was I watch it I'd watch a sewer backup up on clock and it would spray up.

Jim: High school, you friends all playing and here.

Wesley: Yeah and then did I was going through a college you know, we we, I did night classes that I could be at the apartment, and just figure out how management work, now you negotiating with people, negotiate with the employees getting them there to do what they needed to do, you know, we pulled from an interesting labor force, we had that.

Jim: So let me hit on that for a sec., so you were, you're growing up your at apartments, you're learning, right from your dad and grandfather, did you think yourself, hey I could really help in this area or did they kinda groom you into, you're gonna manage, you're gonna be with the people that's your skill set?

Wesley: I always wanted to try to bring law order to the wild frontier and learn the very hard way that for a while on the wild frontier you can bring all the law order you want to, and it's gonna turn around and sucker punch you in the face. it's so we I was like that's have regular meetings, I was trying to get know of the office staff and stuff organized, we had so many people, so many apartments, and the game was not to hold these things for ten, twenty years, the game was to hold these things long enough where we build up the portfolio and then sell that portfolio and transfer that equity into things that weren't so necessarily grueling to manage. But in the hindsight you know, I always wanted to bring in that structure and it made it interesting because when you're trying to build structure, when there's absolutely no structure and everything around it doesn't want to structure to work, you really get to know what structure is, how to implement it but not necessarily in the time and moment that you're at, and so, it was it was a learning lesson to not bang my head up against variables that you can't control and at, at some point you just gotta go well I was stupid in this, let's move on, and that that's one of the biggest things is if you approach it from a from a humility situation, you're not entering in it I mean, here I am, to me, for me to stand there in front of these two guys who built this empire that's for I'm gonna use my my college education that I'm learning from a guy who's never stepped out of the the environment he's in and try to approach that to the situation, it just didn't work and but you learn the most from looking back, I learned so I would learn more in it in five hours on the job than have would learned in a year in the classroom and that's not knock the classroom for this date but there's…

Jim: When your hands on and you're learning from people that wanna take the time as your father is your grandfather to groom you into that role, there's so much ability learn there.

Wesley: Oh yeah, and it's, that's was what, that was what was tremendous about it yeah, I was right there in the mix of it when we'd be working with the brokers looking at these other deals right in the mix of it signing in the, signing the loans for the bank to bank in these situations in the mix of it when that last financial crisis hit and we had some deep conversations, we went that's kinda it's kind of a test who my grandfather, my father were in Atlanta and in this particular situation is a pool of a story when everything was collapsing around they were a very large plant of this one particular family bank and the bank brought them in and this is a bank it's a heritage bank, heritage bank had worked with Leon for so many years, that was his that was his bank, they would always do these deals for him and other people thought he was absolutely insane but they knew that Leon and Scott would make it work, and they weren't they weren't betting on the project they were betting on the, they knew we're gonna carry it through we don't that's sounds yeah but they, the bank was in the situation where they needed to raise, they needed to raise some stock to be able to qualify for some infusions, from the federal, authorities and it was funny, I never seen my grandfather, I never bankers are notorious, they've got cards, this is coming from him, he says, they got cards it says no on one side and no one the other that's, that's what that's what keeps them in their position, to be able to hear good banker if they keep that card in your desk and use that card at all times, but they brought it to them and they see, guys you know we're, there's a good chance we might we might go under, and Leon goes well how much stock do you need and the bank gave him, gave him the number and he says we'll do it, we'll do it, and my father sitting in there having a panic deck, we don't have the money, and you know it turns out they were gonna actually gonna borrow off of the properties they had to pay for this stock his stopped but he had these bankers boom because he said you know they remember that old christmas movie of that the, Helen hometown banker was gonna lose it all and the people come through, and he says, you guys are that bank to me and so I owe this to you, and those bankers really like, yeah, well that's it was a neat, it was a neat situation you know you don't see that that often in least days in the little but that's just kind of a testament so how important that character and that reputation is because they were, that was our reputation that's why we were able to get deals is because we were closer, we were, they would closed deals out from under people having them be a couple hundred thousand dollars below the price because they knew that they would purchase it we would make it work while these other groups would string you along for couple months and send all these teams with these people coming with their little checklist I mean yeah, we know, we know that builds half on fire and underwater, we know the system, will take, we'll take, we made the is something from it yeah, because once you understand what value is, you understand what value is, and so you just for us there's no need to stand around for ten months you go real well so I really do this it's like you know, you know ,yeah, just do it.

Jim: So that, how many years ago or how many years were you in that and learning from those two before like in an actual role where you're involved in the company and the decisions to where you said, like what came of the idea to start to on a Ridge?

Wesley: Yeah so, it's the, I was right out a high school in the mid 2000’s and from that point I was always with the family, family business and what's neat about this place, we had just finished liquid our entire multi family portfolio, we have no apartments left, and we actually, we actually bought the land across the street before we bought this place, we heard it was small town river, right, I had grand plans up I wanted to build commercial, we had some commercial property in Southland at that point, we branch out from just multi family we started doing some office stuff, I love the idea of that shared office co-working concept, I love the idea of trying to make things more efficient and effective by blowing up the old system and so when you would not when I say co-working like, I colon it flex space, what you're trying to do in development are you're trying to solve people's, solve people's problems, and in the office space and we saw it the full effect of this in covid, you know, a lot of companies that think got a lot of extra excess space that they necessarily didn't need but that was just the way it was done, oh  you're an office, in office corporation, you're tax consultant group, I need 4000 square feet, I don't really need it probably only 1500, you got 14000 you got 4000 square feet, I'll take it for three year lease, I got this much to spend on it and I'll get some extra back if I sign for another six years after that, yada yada, well covid comes and really exposes the flaw in the system, you know how people who had already been kinda moving to that remote way now everybody's working remotely and just the configuration just doesn't work, but people still at the end of the day love community, love, love sit down, I love, this is great, I mean this is better than a vacation to me we get to sit here and talk about stuff but I think it's wonderful, when you're learning for me, I'm learning from you too, you've got it, you gotta keep that mindset setup up.

Jim: This to me is life, I love every second about this.

Wesley: But we, I wanted to do that up here, because I'm like well what better place to do this then in the mountains you know, if I'm trying to start a company, if I'm trying to start something, do I wanna do it in a, in a high strung urban environment and you wanna do it where half the staff can work until two and then go on an epic mountain biking right, right concept, so I mean, we've kinda seen this resurgence in Rural America you know, we seen it through the RV industry but we're also seeing in other industries and if for the people who get to work, they're gonna wanna work where they wanna be.

Jim: Right, and not work nine to five and come home be exhausted and right go run around even more, it's like that that work life balance I think people, the pandemic helps people to get in line with their work life balance.

Wesley: Exactly, yeah, and it it's incredibly it's, I say it's incredibly important I of course throw out the window when worked many hours there are in day and then people have to go, hey dummy, you remember what you said to me you know, apply to yourself, and so like oh okay now that I'm married a wife really helps out with that she goes hey you know you're working for three days yeah stop it or minute poisoning you, they're like okay, yes ma'am funny, anyway we were gonna I was gonna plan that over there and we walked up and l heard a small town room that some guides are gonna do a trailer park on this land here, okay, which I'm thinking like mobile home part like this is going to absolutely ruin everything that I had from my hopes and dreams for across street and so we came in and we met the gentleman who had the contract on this land and turns out they were in the multi family, they come from the multi family business too, we didn't ask any questions, we just said, hey we were really wanting to buy this land we're just you know throw in a dart out on the wall expecting in it to go nowhere, they said yeah, we'll say the contract on this. Yes, and we met with them to figure out to close the deal and everything and we heard that they're from they they built apartments, and so we had some land and outside of Chattanooga that we had apartment complex on and we were in the process if they can want to sell that, we have 14 acres and we could build something new, I had a contract from a from a a big corporate company that was gonna, wanna fill that apartment complex with tenants it was ready to go we just needed someone knew what they were doing, yeah and we met these guys, they were in their in their late 70’s and 80’s and one of them is still here today Chad Ashmore but he’s been building apartment complex building in industry for fifty years and so he knew how to do these big projects and so we asked to we were gonna, we started walking about what we were gonna do over there for the apartments, I asked them is that, what in were you gonna do with this site, he goes, RV resort, was like, there's no such thing as a RV resort, that's so stupid, I googled it that night and then my jaw had the table, I'm like, my goodness there is such things as RV resort and some of these RVs are pretty cool you know we had no experience with the RV industry before that whatsoever, that's how Talona Ridge started.

Jim: So how did you take your, the apartment complex, the multi unit living, how did you take that and apply it to the Rv industry that you had no knowledge about, and you've created something that I've been to my family and 9-18 months have been the 34 States, yeah, stayed at multiple RV parts all over and this is honestly I'm not just saying this is probably the nicest place we've been to.

Wesley: We put a lot of work in this it starts with a group of people who wanna do a project well and to do a project well, you've got sit down at a table and every everything's gonna, everyone's got to admit but they have no idea what they're doing, so you gotta start there, because and that that's a hard thing to do in the society we live in, everybody wants to put this wall up and go, I totally know what I'm doing yeah and then they will crap their way into a situation where it's ultimately people are gonna find it, what they know it's helpful when you just say it up upfront, and you stick with it. And so we with that mentality we knew how to build, we knew had to manage stuff, we knew how to make things maintenance friendly because we always have a lot of departments we had, you know, we didn't have choice the where they ran the water lines, they always ran them under you know, 8 inch thick patio jack up they get too, so to be able to do something from the ground up and do it what we would consider the right way, so they're not if but when it breaks and when you have issues, you get to it easy it's funny, you don't see that in development sometime, you don't you know, it's all about building it and then letting the next guy figure out but we wanted to always be long term, hold guys so we're gonna figure it out now and we're gonna make sure it's good ten years down the road, it's also but that's those are some of the principles that went in to build this and then covid hit, you know it was funny I was reminiscing and we had a chamber gala up here and it was two and a half years ago, me and two other guys stood with these you know, stupid looking golden show, I'd never done a ceremony like before being up there you kinda felt really dumb, because the actual, actual raiders and excavator guys are in the background with you know two million dollar machine, you're sitting there in kacky pants and the golden double, you know pretending to do something important, but what was funny is that they all hit the around and we were just big ding thing you know, it's hitting solid rock yeah and that's what was up, here was solid rock, you've got to get water and sewer and electrical conduit through solid rock and at the same time there was this massive storm coming over the mountains and then we've course all had our masks on, for yeah, and it's like if that wasn't sign, we were going to get that are the I don't know what was and I mean we built this thing through concrete shortages, this building was finished just in time we had a really good lumber broker that has locked in at a certain price because we lumber that was imported from Austria and Finland to build the Welcome Center, on the middle level and of course we've you know, covered it in sheet rocks so it's like an idiot, like here we bought fine alpine European lumber and then we just cover it, so I wanna get a little plaque with that with that on there, but we made, we had to make so many feel and this is what was, this is what was neat having our having our team you know my brother had joined the ranks of the company a few years ago too, I specialize in the in the development side, so the admin in the structure, the management and then the people, then my brother William, he's he specializes in the finances, the payable the receivables, telling me no we can't buy this and then I buy it behind them and we kinda make work, and then my father specializes in the engineering so he and chat were able to build this friendship and also this wonderful genius work in relationship to be able to make these field changes to build a place like this and we came in we probably would have spent maybe 20 to thirty 30% more on this actually probably more 40% if we hadn't been so hands on, if we had done this was a typical development deal where you bring in a big group and they build it for you, this would have been disastrous, and that was the other thing as we built this from the proceeds of the multi family portfolio that my father started years and years ago, so here we are through covid, doing this massive project getting the tar beat out of us but we had no shotgun from a bank on this thing, we knew our as we're putting this deal together and learning about other RVs where sorts and stuff out there that, you've got, we're got a recipe for success, yeah we could drop our prices down whatever they needed to be, and still be okay, you know what a testament to the legacy and the work that was done 45 years ago, to be able to get to the point today and so that's I always gonna be grateful for you know because it builds a recipe for I mean, they're there's stress involved and in everything you do and there's a tremendous amount of risk involved, this risk almost more weighty, I mean, if you're doing it with other people's money you know you can recover from that and you know at the end of the day it's kinda harsh, you sorry about that and you go when you find other people that least don't know them and don't know you and you could try to do it over again, but then when you're working with you know a legacy, something that's been handed down right you messed that up, sounds like this the foundation, was built the nation was built systems were developed, everything worked well the vertical construction was the easy part the putting in all the horizontal infrastructure, was a whole another beast we had all the all the shortages came rolling in, concrete was hard to get, so we were delayed with that, we had to run a lot of our own power, drive new appreciation for, we had like a world war one movie set down there and you can see the top right running down as we're pulling this cable, we brought we imported these trees, we had no people to put them in, so it was cell and my brother an ex we had a Cassie a 21 year old lady who's studying interior design and said well today you're going to learn how to drive a steer and put her in that and she's moving these two and a half ton trees off this trailer and I'm you know trying to pick them up right, no and the you know one sneeze I've got gone, I'm done we I didn't have a Christmas tree that year, wait spikes but four days getting pimp slapped by twelve foot Christmas tree swing around on a strap trying to get to the temporary holes, so I was freaking out every time I stood next the one, but that's how this thing was built, I wish we had felt, because it was it looked like a mad circus was going on, there was structure, there was organization, we didn't have our marching orders, we were doing it, but each and every day you had a new set of variables that you could not control, that goes back to that what I learned in the apartment yeah so what are you gonna do you gonna sit there and cry and just go man I really wish I had control over this situation or you just gonna find an alternative route and figure it out and you know there's a lot of heated conversations they come with that, there's a lot of stress, there's a lot of hurt feelings, but you put that behind and you wake up the next day and you go, alright, skip the bag ready, it’s gonna hit me in the face but I know it's coming this time and you know you're just you're ready for, you just you brace for it, so listen.

Jim: What's the darn part with that of going through something of this magnitude with your family, I mean that's your team, like that's who you're, backs against the wall.

Wesley: You seem at Christmas, yeah, at sometimes you really bad at it. It's, it can be complicated, it can be really complicated what unites us around going back to that that legacy aspect is, at the end of the day that's what I'm protecting, that's what they're wanting me to protect, and that's the bottom line of it, I mean, there's a lot of family businesses that don't work, because they'll get in there and there's you know, there's some misconceptions about when you're when you jump it into the business world, I mean, every you know especially for planners and stuff, we put everything on a nice list and when that list has to be moved aside and change to put in the trash there's fear that gets involved and then that fear and that uncertainty and that risk can lead people to do, say some hurtful things and do some hurtful things and then it wreck the relationships and people lose focus and so that's what we have to do we maintain the focus of making sure we get this project done because at the end of the day we need it to get done because I need to buy bread and milk and well it's mostly you know, steak and fine meat but you, you've got that for at the end of the day, we want it we wanted it to work well but we've got something, many people working force, I mean, you start putting other families in your hands and you've also got the weight of responsibility for that, it takes the, it's not as simple as is starting over and trying to do something new, because you've got people that are now dependent on you, you've gotta be sure that when you're people's feelings you know, at the end of the day, it's gonna be okay I have to apologize a lot other people have to I'd have to, I'd say other people have to apologize for me but one of those is my brother and so sometimes we just don't apologize each other and just try to you know thank each other at the end of the day which is good.

Jim: Which is your way to say like, hey man, you know you don't need to apologize I know.

Wesley: I apologize but that was a stupid call, rub that in your face just a little longer.

Jim: When it comes down to, you kind of talked about all your responsibilities and everybody's main role in the company, so is it to the point where, in a situation a decision needs to be made everybody's got input, is it hey, you this is your role, this is your final call, or…?

Wesley: Yeah we'll one of the biggest things you gotta do too which is hard, is that when someone makes a bad call you gotta support it, if you got, it you've gotta keep a united front and that's what I that's what I appreciate, it doesn't mean you've gotta agree with it, you certainly wanna bring it to the table and hatch it out, but you wanna do that behind closed doors you wanna do that not in the public eye, because those things need to happen, but in the forefront of it, you got a roll with it and I would we would rather this good goes back to my father always say, he would rather always have somebody would at least make a decision rather than someone who would could make no decision at all, so even if it's the wrong decision at least they're making a decision and you know we're I think we've lost saw that sometimes and then the world we lived in at you know makes just you know it's you're gonna get I looked back at what was what was done, I mean my grandfather had had a story as a success but it was mixed in mostly with failure, now nobody on the outside sees that failure but we know that failure there he made millions and lost it over and over and over again, that's a gotta hold that wealth like this it helps that he came from nothing, he's you know so was you know as I was warm enough and know I'm I still got most of it which is nice, which not true but I think he's done quite well, but he's just he has a different mentality about it, it's worth the risk to him because at the end of the day even in his older age, he knows the worst that can happen, it's still end up in a place that he's already been through, and knows how to navigate, and which is great that's how we operate you know we don't take a lot of the operating revenue out of these, we live beneath our main, you know we we'll get some stuff occasionally, but it's the joy and the thrill of being able to build stuff added and nothing and see what it can do.

Jim: Well not only absolutely you're putting I mean me being here in your space like, my wife's wow just came from an awesome resort in Florida where was like you know party scene and here we are like I'd love to stay just because it's so relaxing, in tranquil and it's like, she's getting her whole like self back and hell I thinking and like that's what this place does, that's a that's sort of literally something that my family can come here and enjoy and you get to see that I mean that's we love that.

Wesley: I mean that's there's nothing more gratifying and satisfying than seeing customers coming here and just kinda look around, wow, those mountains are beautiful, so remember standing here when you could see him and there were scraggly pine trees and we're wondering you know how much is it going to cost to blast the mountain this time around. So to be able to see that end user, get the benefit from that, is fantastic.

Jim: Blood, sweat, and tears.

Wesley: And I mean literally we weren't necessarily the, I don't know if I could say, oh, we oh, oceans a thing but man when you're blowing and going I mean you know there's some things done that you're like oh that was that was a close call especially when and we were playing some trees I was holding this pine tree up and I looked down at this excavator bucket is in between me and the trailer look up and it's my brother that is do feed sunglasses sitting they're drinking a sprite with one hand never getting this thing, and you know he's like yeah I'm that good and I was like I don't know call me crazy I wish you were a little bit more nervous in this situation is at the end of the day if he gets her or I get hurt there's no work when that's situation yeah just put us in the back of the van and and maybe take care of us later, but that goes back to that that being able to work with family and there's some, there's some tough times with that, because you are you can get aggravated at each other you just don't let the sun go down on your anger and you get up the next day and you go at it again, and you just at the end of the day you gotta keep remembering that they're trying to work just as hard as you are, there's some days I get to wear you know nice, nice pants in a shirt and he looks like he's you know smack himself for the bag rocks and but what I was doing was stressful I was dealing with people he was doing something outside and then we'll switch right so so having that compassion in the back of your brain has gotta be there but it's hard because in the moment it's not there in the moment you gotta deal with a variable that's popped up and it’s sitting there like a gorilla of throwing airplanes at you and you've gotta deal with it and there's some instances where we can seek counsel with each other, then there's other instances you just gotta make a call, you gotta explain it later on well yeah that was a terrible decision, so we just won't do that next right next time yeah, and it's been interesting but the benefit of that is at the end of the day knowing one you've got people in your sold that are fighting for survival just like you are is key and there's a lot of there's sometimes a lack of understanding and that you know we live in a society where everybody sees everything not a surface level, and that's it and that's what we get to make our judgment calls they don't get to see the full story often that's, there's a lot of sorrow and a lot of hurt a lot of broken in those stories in many cases there's more of that than there is a success right and the happiness but it makes your treasure that that suite 20% of the success of happiness even more.

Jim: So what's next what's going on against one stone and where were the plans for the future?

Wesley: Well I'll say this we've been loving the RV industry, this is this is pretty cool, I mean it's been challenge build it's been a challenge getting it up and going but you're dealing with a clientele that's coming from all over the United States, I'm getting to sit down and meet people just like yourself, and you've come from a bunch of different backgrounds because i can't like to dive into some of the branding stuff you got implement terrible at that, that's one stone we debated on what to try to name this thing I hated one stone until I saw one of the guys who build the logo, it's like okay that makes sense that's one logo, because I heard once stone I'm like you tried to kill a bird with one stuff two like if something happened you only got one stone left I mean, what what's going on what what a stupid name, and how okay yeah wanna kinda guy it's cool and then then it's like oh one stone and lots of little stones I guess not a geologist, but if figured you break a stone up yeah lots little parts I don't know.

Jim: That’s the fun part about branding, it’s about what someone's perception of the brand is, right? like if you're so it's fun to look at a company and take it from you know an idea or a concept and grow it to a level by using brand identity, logos, name and all that stuff so yeah, it’s fun.

Wesley: Well love to we went we went through it with our Ridge logo, we got this cool eagle and we got a lot of dudes on our team and they're like it needs to have more aggressive talents and the marketing guy, he finally just said well would you like it ripping a rabbit in half, would that satisfy you, is was like or is the point of Ridge to be a relaxing place, sit down and enjoy, and it's maybe not have the falcon in full hot mode it's ready to kill something and I'm like, okay at a astute observation good service please go with that route so you know you gotta, what's again it goes back to hold and stuff like this just because, just because our equity behind it just because we've got a good idea it doesn't necessarily mean all the points of that idea are good I see that a lot in development, I mean it's crazy that people forget about the end user, you know, going back to how we built this thing we sat around we said, we don't nothing about this and so that led us ask a bunch of RVs, what do you want, what's the ultimate resort, how much space do we have to have with these things, how big do they have to be, what kind of pedestal hook up do you want, why do you do what you do, so that we can understand from an infrastructure standpoint to put it in place, but that that goes back to that that arrogance can creep in and we're an odd development company because we use a lot of our own equity we're debating on whether to get into the window your future what's the future yeah you know we're debating on whether we do it for other groups I'm not quite sure what we wanna do with that yet I you know we've got a lot of cool plans for process rate I'll get to in just a second but that that that mentality of I've got it all together and I know what I'm doing leads to disaster later on with the end user, and I don't know if it's just a complex out there or what I’ve met a lot of guys here like nope my way or the highway and right but your way so stupidly wrong, it's not even we're thinking about.

Jim: We see it all the time in mine industry, where the brand owner, forgets and you just hit on the head like, you're not it doesn't matter if you like something or not, what is your customer like, what are they going to think about what you're doing, what is what are they going to see in what you're doing and if you can get that user experience now, if you can develop a product, regardless if it's building an RV resort like this or selling a t shirt, it has to be the same thing what do they want and understanding your demographic, who your audience is, those are the important things, oh yeah, you've done that, you hit that on head here, so what's next door?

Wesley: Yeah, so basically we're they we're gonna go back to that commercial element, we basically wanna build a downtown city, built around the outdoor industry, we think it's gonna be pretty man, yeah I'll maybe we're, the demographics there, we're right outside of Atlanta, we're in an area with unprecedented amounts of acreage of preserved and protected land, and to be able to make this a destination for people to come and not just relax but to try to I mean it's good to get your yourself out of an environment sometimes, so you can start trying to think clearly, so that's our idea is to have this shared office co-working space that our guests coming here, would get to you so hopefully when I get this you guys come back when do this again we'll be in a spot that I built specifically for people like you, traveling around doing your business, trying to meet other people and I wanna have all that infrastructure in place because I know there's some there's some there's some hard hardships so that when you're riding around and your house has some wheels on it, to go from one spot to another. Also wanna add in you know the restaurant scene over there, the outdoor store scene over there, to be able to encapsulate the mountain biking industry that's so here, have a place we we're the top wine producer for the state of Georgia up here, with the top apple producer I would love that space you know I'd love groups to come in and try to do some training programs to teach people some of the finer agricultural specs that are growing up here I mean there's so much opportunity around us you know that goes back to what we've been talking about I think we live in a society that we can sometimes get so hung up on, I need to do this to be able to qualify to do this, to be able to have certification to do this so then I can then eventually start my adventure on life yeah, eight years down the road you're like man I wasted a lot of time on that, and to be able to connect people with just the direct in goal of what they want to get to speed up that process, because life is short we don't have a lot of time, might as well get and so I love the idea of always showing people the behind the scenes of everything and that's kind of what that should off space, I love having some work campers here from the RV industry, and them see what goes in behind the scenes or running this thing you know it gives people a better experience of where stuff comes from, it also gives them a better respect for a lot of people around them, always think of the restaurant industry especially through covid, I mean it's, you've got these people running around their tax, yeah your sweet tea took a little extra time to get there, but think about the massive logistical effort that's behind and people sometimes don't see that, and to be able to expose to them that full process is great I wanna see where my food comes from, that's awesome, and then I of course wanna eat it at the end of the day, so all those processes together I think is what we're trying to do I guess if I were to sum that up.

Jim: How long do you think what's the time frame on that?

Wesley: As fast as possible.

Jim: Yeah, so those days where your wife's, like hey come on you've bet market too much they're gonna keep on.

Wesley: That's gonna keep on, that's gonna be, that's my biggest struggle is navigating that, that's our entire family's biggest struggle, you can ask the why the ladies who married it, to the craziness of the Henderson and William, is these guys don't stop.

Jim: Do you think there would be a time where you slow down?

Wesley: No, I don't think so, I gotta navigate to make sure that I also at it, we went to a golf tournament yesterday, I don't play golf, neither didn't any the guys who went to the golf but you fun we blue trucks it was often we had fun but I owe that golf course a lot of extra sauce because we I could throw the golf club farther than I could hit that going, but it was it was a blast we were the biggest sponsor there, we didn't realize that we're so you know Tolana Ridge, everywhere I showed up in some golf shoes I borrowed, then the soul came off I mean they explain too so I started the day looking like, I knew what I was doing, here's this fancy business the broke offer at the end of the day I'm sweaty, I've got my missing my hat, my shoes exploded, my gloves exploded, and but it was great yeah, they got to see that whole process, no, no these guys are good business guys, I did a really cool resort but you know they were golf.

Jim: That's incredible, well I really appreciate your time today and I know you're super busy, so we'll end it but I thank you so much and thank you for having me.

Wesley: Thanks for doing what you doing, I mean, to be able to go out there and to dive into some of these processes for people I think is awesome.

Jim: I'm hoping to help as many business, people that wanna start a business and don't know how, or grow their brand, you know, I see so many and just even talking so many other entrepreneurs, it's about not making excuses and about just getting it done starting it and finding someone that you can learn from, that'll help you get through what your this mental struggle, that's all it is, it's a mental struggle of not take being able to take something from one step to the next, so if I can help and help others to overcome that and start it today, then we're gonna make some progress.

Wesley: That's huge, it's good you for doing that. so there's value in that, there's also an intrinsic value that can't compete with anything else and to be able to help destroy those barriers to android for these people, I mean think of the generations your help impacts down the line think of the I mean it took so to do that, 50 years ago my grandfather now we could sit here at but what I hope is gonna be one of the top resorts in the nation.

Jim: I just got chills.

Wesley: You wanna replicate that everywhere.

Jim: Absolutely, thank you, I appreciate it very much man!

Jim Doyon Profile Photo

Jim Doyon

Entrepreneur

My name is Jim Doyon. I'm a father to three awesome kids, husband to an incredible wife and the oldest sibling to a large split family.I'm currently on a mission and I can't wait to share with you. We sold our house back in 2020, and we've been traveling this beautiful country in a 42-foot Travel trailer ever since. We visited 34 states, and are about to embark on our second loop around the country, stopping at some of our favorite spots again, but also getting to see new areas that the US has to offer.We are trying to experience this life to its fullest spending quality time together. I'm running a business and building brands along the road. We've been fortunate enough on this journey to meet new friends, catch up with old friends and family on many of our stops. We love exploring each City from downtown's to the natural resources it has to offer. I'm passionate about mountain biking and it's not only in my way to get out and explore but to exercise, clear my head, think, and strategize.

Wesley S. Henderson Profile Photo

Wesley S. Henderson

CEO OneStone

Wesley Henderson is a third generation steward of a family legacy. As CEO of One Stone, Wesley manages the different real estate holdings and developments that were made possible by the foundations laid 45 years ago by patriarch Leon Williams and expanded by his father, Scott Henderson. Together now with his brother William, they have just finished their newest project, a luxury RV resort in the North Georgia mountains, expanding the company into hospitality.