Joe Jackson is a one-man operation.
The president and CEO of Kirby Locksmith Inc. has been repairing locks across the Augusta area for 11 years.
“There’s probably not a lock in Richmond County that I haven’t touched, from the jewelry stores, to the malls, to the restaurants, to the (Augusta) National, to downtown and really all over the CSRA,” Jackson said. “I cover a lot of ground, just by myself.”
Luther Kirby started the business in 1979. Jackson, who had always wanted to own a business before he turned 30, worked for Kirby for years.
“On my 29th birthday, he gave my wife and I the opportunity to purchase the business,” Jackson said. “It’s rare in today’s time that you would give somebody that you don’t know an opportunity to succeed, without a heavy price tag.”
Kirby Locksmith doesn’t have an office location because Jackson spends all of his time in his van making repairs for clients. His wife, Mary, works from home as a secretary for the business.
In 2007, Jackson decided to run for the Augusta Commission. Between his family, social and church events and politics, he has a full schedule.
“I’m constantly asked, ‘How do you find time to do it, being a one-man operation?’” Jackson said. “It’s tough, but I think God gives you the grace to get through it. If you’ve never learned how to run a business, it’s difficult at first, but once you get up and running, it’s like clockwork.”
A former Eagle Scout, Jackson lives by the motto, “Do a good turn daily.” On many occasions, he has fixed locks for clients who don’t have enough money or any at all.
“Some days you just walk away as a gift to them or a kind gesture,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business, and I think that God has put me where I am to serve people.”
Jackson enjoys helping others and meeting new people. He doesn’t hire help because he’s not sure he can find “someone who thinks like him,” though he does have accountants to assist with the financial side of the business.
He’s grateful that Kirby had enough faith that he could run the business as he did, by respecting people and giving them a good service at a fair rate.
Despite his busy schedule, Jackson said he always makes time for his three children. On weekends, he takes them deer hunting or fishing. Once a month, his family goes camping.
“I want to spend as much time with them while they’re still young. You can always make more money, but what you can’t do is go back and rebuild that relationship with your kids from the beginning,” Jackson said.
After he won the commission race in 2007, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. As Jackson juggled the responsibilities of caring for his wife and children and running his business, he relied on his parents and his wife’s.
“It’s the family that really makes the business succeed. It’s tough. It’s fun. Would I encourage young people to do it? Yes. But you’ve got to have a business plan,” he said.