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Snazzy Yards

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Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:54 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Joshua Winata

The Cove Herald

Driving down East Avenue D, passersby may notice a friendly new face along the side of the road, greeting folks with smile and a wave amidst a sea of whimsical yard decorations.

The cheerful face belongs to John McBeth of McBeth Yard Decorations, which opened in Copperas Cove on Aug. 1.

“We outgrew the big city of Pidcoke, and so we came to town,” he said. “I figure if I come to town, I need to get to know my neighbors. We’re just here scratching out our niche.”

After the June flooding along Cowhouse Creek disrupted the store’s business, McBeth decided to use the opportunity to move to a larger market and immediately saw a increase in sales when he relocated in Copperas Cove. Customers come in from not only all over Texas, but also seven other states just to buy from McBeth, and the store’s reputation continues to grow via word of mouth.

While yard decorations can be found at any local mega retail outlet, McBeth Yard Decorations has a certain charm and personalized service that is one of a kind.

Housed in a cozy roadside cottage, the store is treasure trove of the strange and beautiful. Inside, two themed rooms showcase Native American and Western art and decor, while on the lawn, stately statuaries, fountains, birdbaths, plaques and benches intermingle with quirky metal and wire-frame sculptures. Most of the inventory has a distinctive Southwestern flair.

“We’re country people. That’s what we started out with: handling country things, and that’s what we stayed with,” McBeth said.

McBeth and his son, John, a skilled carpenter, also take custom requests from customers. They have turned antique wagon wheels into rustic lamps, horse collars into decorative mirrors and vintage farming implements into artful yard pieces. All construction work is done locally, and collaborating with talented area artisans, McBeth boasts he can fill any order no matter how eccentric the design.

Combine the store’s eclectic selection with an affordable price tag and genuine Southern hospitality, and the appeal of the McBeth Yard Decorations is immediately apparent.

“Where we beat other people is on the price. We’re not here trying to get rich, just as along as we keep beans on the table and keep the bills paid. If a man gets that in life, he ought to be happy,” McBeth said. “I’d rather have good friends than money in the bank account.”

Lounging in a crisp, white shirt and his trademark cowboy hat beneath Texas-themed wall plaques, McBeth reflected on life lessons as he traced the growth of McBeth Yard Decorations from its humble beginnings to the proud family legacy it is today.

The yard decoration store began in 1989 with John’s parents, Wayland and Georgia McBeth, as a post-retirement hobby. They began by making wooden hand-painted ornaments, but the business quickly expanded in size and popularity.

Meanwhile, John had taken a different path as an avid motorcycle drag racer. He owned two motorcycle shops in Killeen and was known in circles as “Mr. Motorcycle.”

“I was living too fast, losing touch with my roots and going down the wrong road,” he said.

After spending 12 years in the fast lane, John downshifted and came back to the family’s Pidcoke farm in 1985. He watched as his parents built their store from scratch, and after his father was diagnosed with cancer, John took over as the store’s operations manager in 2002.

The yard decorations store is in every way a family business, a point of immense pride for the McBeths. John’s brother, Leroy, takes care of sales, and John’s wife and three daughters host events and maintain computer records.

At 79 and 80 years of age, Wayland and Georgia McBeth still stop by the store regularly to lend a helping hand. Georgia faithfully hand-knits a supply of towel hangers and potholders that sell for $2.50 and helps manage the office, and her husband maintains the massive green lawn.

A fifth-generation citizen of Coryell County, McBeth is by no means a stranger to Copperas Cove and has left his mark on the city even before moving his business into town. Using cedar posts and barn door planks, he personally built and hand painted the stage stop sign for Ogletree Gap Park, and during the Christmas season, he helps oversee the Lights in the Park display at Copperas Cove City Park.

Despite the sweltering Texas heat signaling the height of summer, the McBeth family is already diligently installing lights on their yard ornaments in preparation for the busy holiday sales season. Lighted Christmas decor goes on sale the second week of November, and this year, McBeth said he hope to increase the already lucrative business by leasing light displays to local businesses.

For the spring he has other plans to expand into the pond and waterfall construction.

“A lot of people are getting it, and I think I can build some really neat stuff,” McBeth said. “People who buy fountains buy because of the mood. I’ve been living by a creek my whole life, and there’s nothing more peaceful than the sound of water going over the rocks.”

With attentive service and laid-back atmosphere, McBeth Yard Decorations is a fun place to explore and dream about outdoor decorating possibilities. In their small niche market, the McBeths have found ways to delight customers while having a little fun on their own.

“We like to be a little wild and crazy. It’s not all serious down here. If you can’t laugh while you’re working, then it’s not worth doing it,” McBeth said. “If you enjoy what you do, it comes easy.”

Contact Joshua Winata at jpwinata@kdhnews.com or call (254) 547-6481

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