Tag Archives: family

#SouthernMakersWithHouston – Disaster Relief

On April 27, 2011, downtown Cullman, along with other areas of the state of Alabama, were hit with F4 and F5 tornadoes. Our storefront of Southern Accents, was damaged, having parts of the roof blown off and our front windows blown out. After the initial fear of the tornado had come and gone, people started coming outside to see the extent of the damage. Structures throughout our downtown area were leveled. The immediate need of everyone was overwhelming. The SA gang quickly boarded up our windows and went into the community to help any others that were in need.

For weeks after this horrific event, we were unable to conduct our normal business because we were assisting our neighbors in need. The decision of stopping our business and helping others was an act of compassion that every able body in our community did as we saw the overwhelming need through that disaster. As humans and Americans, that act of compassion of placing our neighbors first, should be what we do when a terrible event of mother nature happens, but making that choice comes with a cost. By making that choice, during the aftermath of the tornado, times were very difficult as we had to spend all of our cashflow in helping others and our business was struggling as we lost several weeks. The stress of our community being destroyed, the stress of not having revenue from our business in weeks, the stress of trying to figure out if we had to permanently shut the doors at SA – our whole existence and our future hinged on friends of SA and friends of Southern Makers helping provide for us through those hard times as we were knocked to our knees. I am writing about this personal crisis in my life today to say two things: THANK YOU for helping support SA and my family through those hard times, but we now have a current situation with a friend / fellow Southern Maker in Houston who needs our help. WE NEED YOU!!!

Many in the Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas, are dealing with the disastrous aftermath of hurricane Harvey including our good friend and fellow maker, Travis Weaver of Manready Mercantile. I called Tuesday morning to check on our friend. We were thankful to hear that Travis’s shop escaped the flood. Unfortunately, many of his surrounding neighbors did not. Luckily, Travis has a shop equipped with showers and has running water still so he has turned his store into a first responders station and a point for area drop-off donations of supplies for his community. Unlike the tornado we had in Alabama in 2011 – Houston’s nightmare flooding will continue to see the devastation for weeks as the waters subside. From what Travis has shared with me, an immediate need for folks in this area is toiletries and small hygiene necessities that most of us take for granted. Many of the stores in the area are flooded. The ones who have been able to remain open have had their inventory depleted. Any remaining supplies are being rationed until more can arrive. While Travis would never ask us for help, knowing from first hand experience, the toll mother nature takes on a small business makes it unable to operate under normal circumstances. The only thing you should worry about is helping others, and hopefully the business will survive later. As I was on the phone with Travis, I felt his stress and I remembered the feeling of wanting to help my community, but saw all of my savings being depleted to support my SA family – knowing the day was coming where I would not be able to pay my workers and my debt. That feeling of hopelessness is something that a small business owner should never feel – especially when they are placing the needs of others first in a time of crisis. Without all of you coming to purchase items and allowing us to get them to you when we were able – SA could not have made it.

The Southern Makers Family and Southern Accents Family want YOU to unite with us to help our friend. Therefore, we are reaching out to everyone that loves SA and our fellow Southern Makers family to provide information on two paths of action you can do to help Houston and/or Travis.

  1. An immediate need for many in this area is toiletries. Travis is accepting donations of needed items at his brick and mortar store which is the local drop off. Travis will be transporting donated items in his company van to various areas for distribution. A detailed list of needed items is listed to your right. Please box all donated items and mark the boxes with #SouthernMakersWithHouston.
  2. You can support Travis’s business, during this time of need, by shopping with him online. When checking out, in the special instructions box, type in #SouthernMakersWithHouston. This code will let Travis know that your purchase is your way of helping out a brother in need and that you are in NO hurry for your order to be filled and shipped. Once things settle down and Travis can reopen his business, he will be able to fill and ship all orders. This request is NOT coming from Travis. This is an idea that friends of Southern Makers came up with as a way to help keep his business continue to stay focused on his community. Whether your purchase is large or small, please take action and help our fellow maker. Without your support in 2011, Southern Accents would not be here today. So, please visit him online at Manready Mercantile.
  3. Finally, and this one should be at the top of our list, pray. The worst is yet to come for all in the affected areas. Please join us as we lift our brothers and sisters up in prayer.

Please help spread the word by sending this email to friends as well as sharing this on your social media accounts.

Current view of Travis’s store.

Supplies for Harvey victims are being dropped off at Manready Mercantile! The most needed items are:

pet supplies
feminine hygiene products
first aid supplies
phone chargers
and any other small items and toiletries that fill basic needs.

If there’s anything else along these lines, we’re sure they’ll take them. Keep the supplies coming and they will be dropped off! God bless Texas!

The address for the drop off point for supplies is

Manready Mercantile
321 W 19th Street
Houston Heights, Texas 77008.

They do ask that you do not bring or send any clothing at this time.

We will be passing along updates from Travis as we receive them. Please feel free to forward this information to anyone who may be looking for a way to help.Updates will be posted on Southern Makers Instagram page @southernmakers.

Travis Pictured below:



One of my earliest memories as a child was my parents, two sisters and I going on a family vacation. We would travel in our full size van, with a cooler loaded with sandwiches and drinks, and drive in a large circle around the southeastern United States. My father would be at the helm of the wheel as my mom was co-pilot. My sister Jill would keep the conversation going talking about her life and adventures of the trip, while my other sister, Joy, would be fighting me for the Rand McNally map that we would use to highlight our precise location and giving directions of our next destination. The cassette player in our brown and tan carpeted van would be playing Conway Twitty, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Johny Cash, Charlie Pride, and other tapes of country singers, while I was in the back listening to Run-D.M.C. and The Fat Boys with my headphones.

My parents would take us, sometimes drag us, to antique stores, with an occasional cemetery thrown in, to round-out what we called the “Gudger Summer Antiquecation.” Our trip usually took us through Birmingham to south Georgia, then Savannah, up to Charleston, then to Salisbury, North Carolina, then through Charlotte, Knoxville, Chattanooga and finally back to Alabama!

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesSome of those early trips are a few of my favorite childhood memories. While traveling in the van on those antiquing trips, I learned a life lesson from my mother. Nearing the end of each summer vacation, the van fully loaded and by now, a packed UHaul in tow, our excitement level of exploring the next antique store had worn off! Upon each stop my mom would utter two words, simply, but boldly, “GET OUT!” The meaning was clear… get out of the car and let’s go inside. I didn’t realize that those two words would somehow stick with me throughout my life, even when she wasn’t around.

As an adult, I now realize what my mother was doing! She is an adventurer and a curious soul, like myself, and in her mind she was trying to teach us a valuable lesson… “get out” was her way of encouraging us to get out and experience what that particular place had to offer. Each stop to her was an adventure, an opportunity to explore new, unknown and exciting places and things. The hands on experience of exploring the texture, the color, the temperature, even the scale… truly has a lot to do with my design work at Southern Accents today. She was teaching me through these “get out” experiences, without me even knowing.

I believe that an important part of life is making that extra effort to just “get out!” There are too many times that distractions, like technology, keep our head glued to a screen. Whether it is editing pictures, Facebook, text, email, social media, spread sheets… sometimes it is just good to take a step back, put away your phone, tablet and/or games, and just “get out.” Get outside, get outside the normal box of thinking, get out and experience friends, get out and make something with your hands, get out and just breathe! There is a time to work and when you work, work hard. But there are also times to experience a positive new place, activity, friends, company… by choosing to go that extra mile, that most people won’t, a new journey begins for you.

I believe that I inherited my curiosity from my mother. I hope I can instill that curious nature in my boys. Without us knowing, my mother allowed us to have a summer field trip that consisted of a hands-on laboratory at every stop. You never know what you will find unless you “Get Out”. Life is an adventure: experience it!

Written by: Garlan Gudger, Jr.

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