B U S I N E S S + C U LT U R E 55 the opportunity to come home and help run the company.” Tom said he welcomed the opportunity to come back and be a part of a company he has known all his life. “It has been a big undertaking,” Tom said. “Where I was before, I could change jobs or go and do something else, but now there is an obligation to do it right and carry on the family business.” Though he is officially retired, Jimmy still comes to the office daily and is quick to admit that he likes to give his opinion. “I try to stay out of the way and let Tom run things,” Jimmy said. “I sit in on some meetings, and if I feel brave, I let them know what I am thinking. Most of the time I just listen.” Through the years, the company has experienced several name changes. Starting as W.W. Carroll & Son it became Carroll Stockyard in 1938. Ten years later, with more of an emphasis on retail and wholesale food distribution, the name was changed to Carroll Packing Company. In 1980, the name Sunset Farm Foods was introduced. “In the early years we sold meat to independently owned grocery stores,” Jimmy said. “These were what you would call ‘mom and pop’ stores, most of them were about the size of a convenience store today.” The smaller, locally owned stores were eventually replaced by supermarkets, and Jimmy said that is when Carroll Packing Company began wholesale distribution of its products. “At first the big stores didn’t think we could supply enough meat for them,” said Jimmy. “When they would run out and need meat or pork, they would call us to see what we had to sell.” Jimmy recalled that the company’s surge in the sausage industry came in 1969 with the creation of a new line of smoked sausage. “It was Jack Knight, who we hired in 1968 that developed a line of smoked sausage that is still our best-seller,” Jimmy said. “Mr. Knight really gave us our boost in the sausage business.” Today, Sunset Farms Foods product line is focused on pork smoked sausage, chicken sausage, fresh sausage and boneless ham. You can even find their sliced sausage in nationally distributed frozen entrées. Another growth in sales came in 1975 when Carroll Packing Company successfully completed a rigorous federal inspection that allowed its products to be shipped outside of Georgia. “Once we were approved to ship to other states we dramatically increased our sales,” Tom said. “Sunset Farm products are now shipped to approximately 20 states, mostly within the Southeast. We are also in the Caribbean, Central America, and all the military commissaries worldwide, and this gives us great visibility.” Tom said the company has continued to grow because of its commitment