Last fall it was announced that Hankins Lumber Company in Quitman would close. It was this and several other closures that helped Clarke County gain one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.
Now a few months later and still with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, things are looking up for Clarke County. A father and son from Wayne County have now bought the mill.
With almost 50 combined years of experience in the lumber business, Brantley Bazor and his father have established Bazor Lumber.
"We were always looking for a sawmill," said Brantley Bazor. "The mills that we saw in the past just weren't suitable."
Currently the mill has 25 employees. All work on an eight-hour shift, five days a week. However, this could change. By the end of this year, the new owners said they hope to increase the number of workers to about 45.
"Right now a lot of people are doing two and three jobs," said Bazor. "That's basically what we expected because we've got to get our feet on the ground and they understand that."
Although unavailable for an on camera interview, Quitman Mayor Tommy Blackburn did say by phone that he is happy about the new mill and credits city officials and the county's board of supervisors with continuing to work to bring more businesses to the area.
Meanwhile, as for Bazor Lumber, officials said they hope to remain in Quitman for many years to come.
"Just pray for us and we'll hope that we can make it," said Brazor.