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Taylor Manufacturing: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

By: Amy Schumacher

The Taylor family has been in the business of bringing “ideas” to “reality” for over 80 years and the family bonds are still holding their future endeavors in a forward moving position.

Miller Taylor began Taylor Manufacturing while working as a welder in a shipyard  During his early years he decided to try his hand at farming and in the process found that he was able to meet the needs of local farmers and create the equipment they needed to make their jobs more efficient, more economical and even more enjoyable. Miller was married to Lucille Taylor and their three sons took an interest in the family business and together the brothers developed and marketed numerous pieces of equipment and began offspring businesses to add to their success.

Ron and Oren Taylor grew up watching farmers meeting with their father and the ideas brought to them being scratched on a napkin, a paper bag, or even the floor of the manufacturing plant. Ron took on the role of marketing and sales while Oren was the engineer behind the business. Together, with a few key employees, the Taylor Waterstove was realized which once again met the current needs of the farming community, making tobacco curing more economical in a time when gas prices were reaching record highs. Today the Taylor Waterstove can be seen all over the United States, not only being used by tobacco farmers but also being used by the general population to heat their homes and hot water.

Ron Taylor stated that the economy has always been the driving force behind the products of Taylor Manufacturing. Paying close attention to the needs of businesses surrounding them and the desires of their local community led them to building boats, ice houses, various pieces of farming equipment, and most recently a grape harvester which is used at their family owned vineyard, Lu Mil Vineyard.

Located in Dublin, North Carolina, Lu Mil Vineyard is described as heaven on earth. The scenic vineyard hosts many events, weddings, and a daily gathering of people who want to sample the wines created from the original vines taken from Lucille and Miller’s family farm. Growing around the porches of the Lu

Mil Vineyard Tasting Room and Gift Shop the vines are still thriving and beautiful to see. The vines have withstood the tests of time, just as the family business has. Denise Taylor Bridgers, daughter of Oren, runs the business side of all of the Taylor business ideas, keeping everyone moving in the many directions they must go throughout the day. Denise can often be seen at Lu Mil Vineyard, along with her sisters and extended family members, speaking with people about the many products they offer. Taste testing is always an option which allows people to choose their favorite wines, jams and jellies to purchase.

Jams and jellies made by D’Vine Foods have become quite popular and can be found on many local tables being shared by families. D’Vine Foods was again developed based on a need, a desire from the community and beyond, wanting the various jams and jellies that are made from the same grapes used for the Lu Mil Wine list. All the items offered can be ordered and shipped to anyone who is interested but unable to visit the vineyard. A store front for D’Vine Foods will be added to the business in the near future at the plant in Elizabethtown but until then customers can purchase products at Lu Mil Vineyard.

The Taylor family have successfully taken one piece of equipment and adapted it to create another piece of equipment that will suit the needs of every business idea they have had. The Ice Plant used for their Ice Houses also is used for the making of the jams and jellies, playing off the seasonal needs and utilizing the costly equipment to fulfill multiple business ventures.

Ron Taylor continues to market all the Taylor products and businesses. Ron was recently interviewed by Refrigeration Magazine and the article can be found in the April 2017 issue. The article explains the adventures of the ice business and how even that has grown since the idea was first considered. Ron’s motto for his role in the Taylor Manufacturing businesses is “Unseen, Untold, Unsold… You have to Show It, Tell It, to Sell It”. Ron is usually not found at the Taylor Manufacturing plant in Elizabethtown because he is taking his motto and running with it quite literally, spreading the value of his products to surrounding communities in North Carolina and often reaching to many other states in the US.

Denise shared offered photographs of the family and some of the products that are offered by the company, photographs that show three generations of Taylors and the successes they have achieved. In recent years the fourth generation of Taylors have joined the family businesses offering support in different ways. Denise’s daughter, Kayla Bridgers, has recently taken a role with D’Vine Foods. Ron’s son, Miller Taylor has artwork displayed on the Sir Walter Raleigh and Harmony Hall wine labels. Many other members of the extended family serve during seasonal events and trade shows to support the family business endeavors. Ron and Vicky Taylor feel with the new crop of young people such as Allie Nance Hood, Alvin Shepherd, Miller and Kayla the business will continue to succeed and grow. The new generation brings lots of talent, experience and plain old common sense.

The Taylor future looks bright and promises to continue to watch for the needs of the surrounding communities and to do their best to meet those needs.

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