By Lanier Laney
Every new arrival to Beaufort eventually has their first “Palmetto Bug” encounter. And as a new transplant from Connecticut once said to me: “Palmetto bug?! Such a friendly sounding name for what it really is — a horrifying giant flying cockroach!” Suffice it to say that she had Collins Pest Control on her speed dial.
Another old timer told me with a mischievous glint to his eye, “You know the Indians name for Beaufort was Bug Town!” Which I later found not to be true, of course, but pretty accurate just the same. We have all kinds of bugs here from the infamous biting no-see-ums to marauding mosquitoes to the bane of all homeowners: the dreaded termite.
Growing up in the Lowcountry, Tommy Collins Jr. had watched his dad, Tommy Sr. and mom, Ann, in their continuous battle, along with their neighbors, with insects due to our humid climate. And after getting licensed through Clemson University’s Department of Pesticide and Regulation, he came back to Beaufort and got a job in the pest control industry here. Then after many years, he decided to start his own business with the support of his lovely wife, Kelly.
Kelly’s parents, Randy and Margie Melvin, were Beaufort natives as well, but moved away when Randy became a U.S. Secret Service Agent. Kelly has lived in the many places her father’s job took them, but considers Jackson, Mississippi, home. She attended Ole Miss University and then graduated from Delta State University. She then became an elementary school teacher. After a stint teaching in Memphis, she returned to Beaufort to be closer to her parents and started teaching school here. After a year, she was fixed up by a mutual friend on a blind date with Tommy. The friend must have known what they were doing because the two hit it off and were married eight months later. They have now been happily married for 13 years and have three children — Peyton, 10; Colton, 8; and Sadie Grace, 4. Peyton and Colton attend Riverview Charter School and Sadie Grace attends Sea Island Presbyterian. Both parents are actively involved at Riverview and Kelly sits on the board at Sea Island Presbyterian Day School.
They are a sports-loving family — Clemson, of course. The boys are involved in PALS football and YMCA basketball, and Sadie Grace loves taking dance from Ms. Erin at Studio B dance studio. Says Kelly, “I started teaching aerobics in college and have a passion for fitness and helping others achieve their fitness goals.” She’s done so at the YMCA for the past 15 years where she has helped many people stay fit by teaching aerobics.
In 1999, Tommy and Kelly decided to join forces (she doing bookkeeping and payroll, he managing employees and dealing with customer’s pest problems). Tommy said, “I decided to start my own business so that I could put my own business philosophies into place. I believe strongly in supporting local businesses and giving customers that small town feeling.”
And his word has been true. Due to his philosophy, the business has grown over the years to include four full-time employees that cover all types of pest control, termite, CL 100 Real Estate Reports, yard treatments, flea and rodent control, and even bed bug treatments.
Says Tommy, “We believe in providing customer satisfaction 100 percent of the time. We believe in our staff and providing them with the training they need to represent our business. We know that when people allow us into their homes they are relying on us to be trustworthy and efficient and we take that very seriously.”
Tommy continues, “Kelly and I also both strongly believe in giving back to our community and are involved in many local organizations.” To that end they contribute to numerous charity fundraising events all year long, particularly ones related to the YMCA and FRIENDS of Caroline Hospice.
Kelly said, “We love the town of Beaufort. There is no other place like it! We are so blessed to be able to raise our children in such a beautiful area with wonderful people. We enjoy spending time with our friends and families and boating on the river. Our children love the Lowcountry life too — they love crabbing and going to sandbars.”
And as for their plans for the future are concerned? “We plan to build our business with continued great customer service and by implementing the latest technology and training updates,” Tommy said. “I’m proud that we have assembled a terrific team of technicians who are very trustworthy and reliable.”
Both Kelly and Tommy say they are also very grateful to their customers, with Kelly saying, “We really want to thank all of our customers from the bottom of our hearts for their support and loyalty.” Tommy adds, “We promise to be there for you when you need us — just give us a call.”
When I asked Kelly if there were any dangers that technicians have to deal with on a regular business, she replied: “SNAKES! You won’t believe how many snakes are under peoples’ houses!”
With that, I’m sure many of you will make a mental note to schedule a Collins Pest Control appointment.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Collins Pest Control
78 Sams Point Road (behind Publix) Beaufort, SC
Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
or call 843-524-5544