When you think about W.D. Bryant’s you likely think longevity and generations, but you may not know about the employees within the company that have a generational story to be told as well.
W.D. Bryant’s is celebrating 91 years of business in the Tri-County. Their south Whitley County location has been in business since 1928 with a second location added in 2000 in downtown Corbin.
Noah Mahan Jr. is a third-generation employee to the company and it’s by no surprise, his family line is good at what they do. So good, that Lee Bryant, a fourth-generation Bryant of the business, sought out Noah Mahan Jr. to be parts manager at W.D. Bryant’s Corbin location.
The original W.D. Bryant’s was located on 92W and was operated by W.D. Bryant and family. It began as a general store providing the community with cloth, eggs, live goods and general hardware.
Mahan’s father worked with Bryant’s father and their grandfathers worked together briefly too. But it doesn’t stop there. Two of Mahan Jr.’s uncles also worked for W.D. Bryant’s. Billy Ray and Chet, one of which was the prized forklift driver who wore that responsibility proudly at the time.
“His dad was a sight,” said Bryant. “His dad could do anything, no joke. Noah can too. There’s something about that family. They can be putting in a septic tank one minute and then they can build a house the next minute.”
Mahan Jr. said his father started in lumber first and then got into the septic systems.
Bryant said he wanted Mahan Jr. to come and work for him because he knew him and he knew of his family.
“They are just consistently kind people,” said Bryant. “They are helpers, they are doers and they’re problem solvers. Noah and I have known each other for a long time.”
Mahan Jr. said he enjoys working at W.D. Bryant’s and it has a lot to do with the family friendly atmosphere. He even remembers going in the store when he was a young boy with his father.
The Bryant family, having over 20 children, always had plenty of family workers on hand. The business remains family owned, “extended in some means,” but the business continues to carry the same name, unity, employees, loyal customer base and pride that has kept them alive for 91 years.
In 91 years of service to the community, W.D Bryant’s is really celebrating the community as a part of the business. Bryant said it’s fun to wait on four generations of people.
“Now I’m dealing with the children of my peers,” he said. “I knew their grandpa. It’s so fun being in a situation where we have this longevity. Customers still come in and say my my grandma traded here when I was a little girl.”
It’s not often for a company to be in their fourth generation and this company has reached and supplied surrounding counties including Bell County and Campbell County, Tennessee.
Mahan Jr. said more than anything he enjoys being a teacher to customers and he’s had several heartfelt moments on the job.
“It’s just helping people and they really appreciate it,” Mahan Jr. said. “They keep coming back. To me, that’s better than any other job.”