Larry Turner shares memories of his 40 years in business. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIRThe Knotty Girls visited Murphy on a retreat last week. Photo by BEN KATZ

SCOUTING AROUND: Local accouting firm celebrates 40 years

    Many years ago, Larry Turner’s goal was to have the first CPA firm in Murphy. While another company beat him to it and left shortly after he and Bill Block opened Turner & Block, Turner’s firm – now Turner & Co. – is still around serving local residents today.
    Turner celebrated 40 years in business on Sept. 1.
They started with one client, Parker’s Drugstore, and worked from a second-floor office above what is now Chevelles. Their only staff was a secretary. In their first year, they did 126 individual tax returns.
    This year, Turner & Co. handled 1,200 individual returns. He has clients all over the country, some of which used to live in Murphy. He also has a staff of 10 people with four CPAs, including himself. Block has since retired – he was Cherokee County’s finance officer for several years before moving to Raleigh to play the role of grandfather – and Turner’s daughter, Holly, became a partner in 2012 after about nine years at the firm.
    While he had planned to be in business for a long time, Turner said he never dreamed he’d have 10 employees, or even that he’d have a child of his working with him.
    “I tried to talk her of it,” he said of Holly, who wasn’t born yet when the firm opened.
    Today, she’s the one talking him out of doing something.
    “She won’t let me retire,” Turner said. “She bought me 5,000 business cards when we changed the name of the firm. I asked if I could retire when I ran out, and she said she would buy more.”
    Terry McDonald, who was hired in 1977 and is a bookkeeper and accountant, doesn’t see Turner retiring for an additional reason.
    “He loves it,” she said.
    Of course, McDonald doesn’t see herself leaving any time soon, even though she hopes she retires before Turner.
    “We’re like a big family,” she said. “There’s a lot of good times.”
    McDonald thinks they have been fortunate to survive, as the nature of their business has forced them to see a lot businesses struggle over the years.
    “We’re proud of our work,” she said. “And, our quality of our work is why we’re still here.”
    Turner thinks his ability to relate to a variety of people – he said if it wasn’t for Vietnam, he would have been a machinist – has helped. He added that being in a small practice, you get to know multiple types of clients.
    “The reason I’ve been successful is because God has let us,” he said. “God has blessed us.”
    The firm moved to its current location at 31 Peachtree St. in 1985. Turner’s office is filled with memories, like photos, several Readers’ Choice awards from the Cherokee Scout, and plaques for twice being president of the Murphy Rotary Club.
    “I want to thank the community for their support of our firm,” Turner said.

Knotty Girls visit
    Ten ladies from Florida took a very special vacation to Murphy this Labor Day weekend. They were participating in Knotty Girl’s Breast Cancer Survivor Retreat.
    Diana Allbritton, a 14-year breast cancer survivor, came up with the idea of Knotty Girl while working on her 2013 business plan during a visit to Murphy. While the organization primarily educates about detecting breast cancer (Allbritton says the lump she had felt like a knot), she always wanted to bring ladies to her vacation spot.
    “My long-term dream was to always have a lodge for breast cancer survivors to reconnect, relax, and exhale,” she said.
    Her long-term dream became a short-term one when everything fell into place to turn her vacation home into a lodge. She invited ladies she knew worked well together (they are all on a Dragon Boat Paddling Team) to stay at her Murphy home.
    Allbritton, along with Kristy Harris (Knotty Girl graphic artist and social media coordinator), Elena Rodriguez, Cindy Jenkins, Jan Croud, Maribel DelGado, Justine Finocchiaro-Doles, Pattie Heavener, Stephanie Parks and Marsha Goss, travelled to Murphy from Orlando, Fla. on Thursday. Throughout their stay, the ladies did hiking, white water rafting, fly fishing, and even visited local businesses during the Art Walk. “All of our activities are about connection, team building and overcoming obstacles,” Harris said.
    Their activities also let them start having conversations about breast cancer with local people and build awareness.
    For many of the women, it was their first time in Murphy, and they were enjoying their welcome to area. They were especially grateful for their host.
    “I have never felt so blessed that someone cares this much,” said Finocchiaro-Doles, a two-time breast cancer survivor, as well as a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor from Apopka, Fla. “This is one special lady.”
    The retreat was fully funded by business sponsors including Walmart (of both Sebring, Fla., and Murphy), Allbritton Insurance Services, Heartland Triathlon, Wildwater, Gadreau Construction, Alan Jay Automotive Network, Publix, dentist David E. Willey, Kristy’s Kreatives, Lowe’s of Murphy, Life Brokerage Financial Group, The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery, Coffee News, A Jem’s Gem, The Daily Grind & Wine, Heartland Spring Water, Marketplace Antiques, Parson’s Pub, Pretzels & Prose, Rod Brown of Farley Insurance, Sassy’s Boutique, ShoeBooties Cafe, Serenity Mountain Gift Shop, Valley River Brewery, Whisker Wear and White Wolf Kayaking.
    For details about Knotty Girl, visit knottygirl.org.

Quilt raffle tickets available
    Church members have already started selling tickets for a quilt raffle, the newest addition for the Multi-Church Annual Bazaar scheduled for Nov. 19.
    The quilt is a Moda “Maple Island” queen-size quilt made by four ladies of the Womens Missionary Union of Ranger Baptist Church. One lady donated the work of quilting the piece.
    “It came out really, really pretty,” said Jayne Smith of Ranger Baptist Church.
    They decided to do a raffle this year to earn more money for the missions. Raffle tickets are six for $5, or 12 for $10. The drawing will be held at noon during the bazaar.
    This will be the fifth year of the Multi-Church Annual Bazaar. It will be held at the First Baptist Church of Murphy from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are usually 4-5 churches involved each year, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to missions.
    For details about the bazaar, call Mary Ashley of First Baptist at 644-5258. For details about raffle tickets, call Smith at 644-0558.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.