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Godfrey's Warehouse a 'growing' business, even after six generations

Back in 1879, James Erwin Godfrey spotted a business opportunity in Madison. He decided right then and there that he would work hard to accommodate the needs of this agrarian community. His idea was nothing new. Others had given it a try before.

Samuel Hunt (left) helps Les Thrasher with his agricultural needs. Godfrey's Warehouse has been providing quality customer service for over a century. Photo: Sarah Lines

What would make him successful while some others had come and gone in similar businesses? Godfrey determined that if hard work, good customer service, and being adaptable to an ever-changing world could lay a solid business foundation then he was prepared.

Some have said that success is when preparedness and good timing come together. Well, Godfrey began by purchasing the assets of a failed business that served as a cotton warehouse, coal, and fertilizer store.

He then set in motion Godfrey's Warehouse, a legacy that is still moving forward six generations later. Candler and L. W. (Whitey) Hunt, Jr and holding the reins to a team started by their great-great grandfather that also includes today both Whitey's sons, Weyman and Robbs, ages 30 and 27.

The family business continues to operate in the sale location on Jefferson Street that includes The Depot. "Agriculture in Morgan County has changed drastically over the past 100 years," observes Whitey, "but our business has been able to change with the times and continues to grow."

The larger part of the company's customer base is now livestock producers rather than crop farmers as was the case in the early years. "We do business in a 125 mile area including North and South Carolina."

The Godfrey Feed brand is well known to livestock producers in this part of the country.

Custom feeds are manufactured in Madison and shipped to cattle farmers wanting to put extra pounds on their beef cattle and to those looking for the right ingredients to produce more milk from their dairy herd.

Horse farms are also part of the clientele.

Godfrey's Warehouse offers many other products and services, including fertilizers along with Farm and garden supplies.

Many customers ever drive to Madison from as far away as South Carolina to do business with Godfrey's.

Godfrey's Warehouse has been a staple of downtown Madison for generations, meeting the needs of livestock producers and agrarians within a 125-mile radius. Photo: Sarah Lines

Whitey agrees that this is a changing world and that if any business stays around for over 100 years, it will have to go through a metamorphosis.

"I remember as a child playing and working in our business and hearing stories about the heydey of cotton in Morgan County. Well, that all changed because of the boll weevil.

"The needs of farmers have changed, and we have changed when necessary to accommodate them. I think that was the vision of James Erwin Godfrey, which was to stay the course but be open-minded to change."

After 126 years, apparently Godfrey's Warehouse has proven that to be a fact.

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