The three own and operate two family businesses together in Canton, Jones and Cloud Insurance and Cloud Supply.
“We have mutual respect for each other’s opinions. We are always able to discuss things with each other. … It has been very successful over the years,” Sam Cloud said. “I know a lot of times fathers and sons and daughters don’t work together very well, and fortunately we do.”
Sam started Cloud Supply with his son 15 years ago. The partnership went so well, he tried the same idea eight years later with his daughter when she graduated from college. He brought her into the insurance business he owned for more than 30 years in downtown Canton, which for 45 years before that, was owned by his father-in-law and Betsy’s grandfather, P.W. Jones Jr.
“Walker and I started this — Cloud Supply — and it was successful enough that I got the idea while Betsy was at Auburn, and I asked her and she just yes,” Sam Cloud said. “I was delighted, but there is always good sides and bad sides. The downside is I had assumed payroll for my two children and others employed there, and the economy took a downturn.”
However, Sam said those years of struggle actually benefited them.
“I have been extremely pleased with their growth and maturity in the business and pleased with their total responsibility with their lives and their families. I couldn’t be happier,” Sam Cloud said. “I don’t want material things for Father’s Day, just that they are happy. I feel a little bit special that I get to work and see them both and see them daily and have a good camaraderie. We enjoy our lives outside of work together, too.”
Sam Cloud makes the rounds each day between the two locations, checking on each business and providing help.
“He does give me advice. We call on him when we need to call in the big dog, but on a day-to-day business basis, I do run things,” said Betsy Cloud Graham, who is a bookkeeper for both businesses and an insurance agent. However, “He makes all the final decisions.”
Both companies are managed under one corporation, Jones and Cloud Inc.
“If it wasn’t for us working together, with my kids and so much, and going in all directions, I wouldn’t see him as much,” Betsy said. “This way it is easy to keep up with everybody. It is easy to do that when you are in such contact.”
Betsy said when the time came, it was an easy decision to come into the family business.
“I didn’t think I would do it, but once I was graduating it was easy. We still have customers that tell stories about granddaddy,” Betsy said. “Just the fact that it was granddaddy’s and being the third generation, following in their footsteps, is really special.”
Walker said he is blessed to be able to work with his father.
“We get along good. We talk about work stuff, and I like the idea of having a small town family run business,” said Walker Cloud, who is named after his grandfather. “My dad has taught me plenty of life lessons. The way we run our business — he has influenced us in all those areas, and it is good working with family.”
Walker says he already has his oldest son, 13-year-old Will, helping out in the business. He hopes his other two children, 10-year-old Aaron and 6-year-old Ansley, will join the business as well.
Betsy might make it a fourth generation with her son, 3-year-old Walker Graham, and daughter Ginny who is almost 6 months old.
Sam says that is all right with him.
“I am delighted that we are together and excited to be in this situation,” Sam said. “Will loves to work up here. If Walker wants to make a place for him, I will support him.”