TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Family is how the Steel Company has been functioning for 100 years strong and they take pride in the fact that the business has stayed in the family for this long.
Not often do we hear of small, family-owned companies surviving and thriving for 100 years.
"We're the largest independently owned steel service center in the state of Georgia," said Cooksey Steel Company President Mike Cooksey. "And it comes from good employees, that's what makes the company."
Mike considers those employees family.
"I've married some of the children and I've buried some of their parents, so when you have people that work with you for that long, you know their whole family," Mike explained.
Mike's grandfather started the company in 1917.
"He later sold it to my dad and his brother in 1969. I started out as a grunt in the warehouse, pulling steel, loading steel," said Mike.
And 26 years later, Mike was calling the shots. His employees said he has kept the company strong.
"Mike has just been a very competitive person," said Faye Roberts who has worked for the company for 38 years.
"For a long time, even when other companies were failing, or even some of our customers were not doing good or whatever, this company maintained a big part of our business and we never went under," Roberts said. "We have grown so much, the previous two owners wouldn't believe how much this company has grown since they've been gone."
Many of the employees said they just love what they do.
"I have always liked my work or I wouldn't have stayed here for 38 years," explained Roberts.
To celebrate the 100-year milestone, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the company will host an open house at 417 Oakridge Church Road.
From there, there will be a live band and comedy show featuring James Gregory at the Tift Theatre at 6:30 p.m.