Across from Matthews Cafeteria on Main Street in Tucker sits Cofer Brothers, which is getting ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary in three years. It’s a family run business, providing building materials to contractors for almost four generations.
The business went through some tough times during the recession that started in 2008. The building industry slowed to a standstill, as new home construction was almost nonexistent. That’s when Chip Cofer, the President and CEO got a call from a movie production house wondering if Cofer Brothers could supply some needed materials for a production being worked on. After listening to what was needed, Cofer went to his team and figured out how to get the job done.
Since that time, supplying the film industry has become a business within a business. CoferStudioSupply.com has grown to encompass between 20% and 35% of the company’s overall business. In addition to providing lumber and trim for studio sets, Cofer Brothers trucks have delivered north Georgia clay to locations in South Georgia. “It’s all about logistics,” Cofer told me at his display in the Capitol on Monday, when Governor Deal, Speaker Ralston and others celebrated Georgia Film Day, and the $6 billion impact the industry has on the Peach state.
Other businesses you might not think would be involved in the film industry are in demand as well, from dry cleaners to caterers. The University of Georgia Small Business Development Centers are trying to address that need by offering one day workshops for small business owners who want a piece of the action. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for people to take advantage of this new, growing industry, which seems like it’s going to stick,” said SBDC Director Allan Adams.
Judiffier Pearson, a consultant with the SBDC office at Clayton State University who teaches the workshop, provided additional reasons small business can take advantage of the program:
We’ve already built a wealth of resources and relationships that a lot of our clients can take advantage of readily. There’s a big need for a resource like ours to help with business planning and strategic planning and financing and access to capital. All of the same things a non-entertainment related small business in Georgia would need, these companies need the same thing.
It’s easy to see how those involved directly with making movies can benefit from Georgia’s growing film production industry. What is often not so obvious is how businesses with no obvious connections to the industry can benefit as well.