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Since 1925…

Since 1925…

What the Home Pros Know with Shaun Henry

I started my journey with Atkins in June 2000 after finishing up the spring semester at MU. I called my grandad’s cousin, Vern, to see what they did at Atkins as I knew he had been running the irrigation division for some time. I interviewed with my good buddy, Dave Jobe, and was hired right away to work in the turf and tree department.

It wasn’t necessarily what I had planned to do after college, but I soon realized that I loved the work and the atmosphere that Atkins provided me. Leadership and support from the Atkins Family, the Atkins, Inc. team, and a whole bunch of loyal Atkins customers, made it easy and rewarding for me to come in every day to do the work that needed to be done to exceed our customers’ expectations.

That amounts to 23 years of service with Atkins for me, but the company has been around a lot longer than that!

The Atkins family has been in Boone County since mid-1800 where they operated a small farm. T.E. Atkins Sr. mixed minerals and dewormer for livestock on the farm. He then began selling them to other local farmers under the company name Atkins Manufacturing Company. In 1925, T.E. Atkins Jr., or “Country,” as he was known, left the farm to go to high school.

The elder T.E. and wife, Elsie, soon followed and relocated the family to Columbia, changing the name to Atkins Chemical. As Columbia grew and opportunities arose, Atkins grew, too, expanding into cleaning chemicals and janitorial supplies.

In 1951, T.E. Atkins Sr. transferred ownership to his daughter and son-in-law and operated as Atkins-McCauley Chemical. T.E. “Tom” Atkins III joined the family business and ran the sales department. He also worked to develop new business
lines, such as janitorial equipment and lawn care supplies.

In 1970, Tom bought out the McCauleys (aunt and uncle) and continued growing the business and adding to its list of services and products offered. Pest control, irrigation, building maintenance, janitorial services, and grounds maintenance were all added in the 1970s.

In 1975, Tom purchased the historic Hamilton-Brown Shoe Factory, the first industrial building built in Columbia (1906-07), where the Atkins company moved to — and still uses today.

In 1985, Scott Atkins (fourth generation of the Atkins family), joined the company. Scott’s passion for real estate development and restoration was a great fit with the building of Atkins Investments. The company ventured into historic preservation and purchased several historically significant buildings in the downtown Columbia area.

After a lot of 12- and 14-hour days for Scott, the restoration of the Strollway Center (1911 Virginia Building) was completed in 2002 and renamed the Atkins City Centre. In 2003 and 2005, the company renovated the Matthews and Miller buildings. In 2007 it finished renovations of the HamiltonBrown Shoe Factory, then in 2013 completed the Parker Building renovations.

Scott says that it is a very satisfying thing to see these buildings and the area all thriving now when they were once struggling. “Paying it forward” is what it’s all about for the Atkins Family.

The examples are abundant: Serving as a Columbia College Board of Trustees member, and a University of Missouri Curator; donations to Columbia College (Linda Atkins is a 1954 graduate of Christian College, which was renamed Columbia College in 1970); the dedication of the Atkins-Hollman Student Commons; development of the T.E. Atkins MU Wellness Program; donation of 81 acres to the city of Columbia and Boone County to be used for recreation facilities (later named by city and county officials Thomas E. “Country” Atkins Jr. Memorial Park); and many others.

The list keeps growing.

When Atkins launched in Columbia, there were fewer than 15,000 residents. It has
withstood the test of time: Two World Wars, economic ups and downs, growing pains, technology changes, competition from all directions, moving operations and offices, COVID, and countless challenges that exacted a heavy toll on all businesses.

Currently, Atkins employs over 200 in Columbia plus another 200 in other areas of Missouri and Arkansas. We’re always looking for client-and community-minded members to add to our team.

When you have a property need, inside or out, the team at Atkins can help you with that!

Shaun Henry

A Columbia native, Shaun Henry found a home at Atkins in 2000 when he started his career as a turf technician. Shaun holds a commercial applicator’s license through the Missouri Department of Agriculture and is a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Mid-America Green Industry Council, and the Missouri Green Industry Alliance. Shaun strongly believes in the importance of a great customer experience where the Atkins staff knows their clients and anticipates
their needs accordingly. Shaun is an MU alumnus and has a degree in plant science.

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(573) 874-5100

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