Mark and Will Adkins, owners of the Waterfront Group which operates in Knoxville, Tenn., plan to open the only no-kill animal shelter in Lincoln County.
The $1.6 million Adkins Pet Center reflects the twins passion for animals and philanthropy.
â€œWeâ€™ve always been animal people,â€ said Will Adkins. â€œWe grew up with at least four dogs, and cats. We just feel compelled to give something back to the community.â€
The Adkinses say they are blessed. Founded in 1983, their Waterfront Group had about $465,000 in sales the first year. This year, the owners expect to top $100 million.
The Waterfront Group develops land along lakes, rivers and coastal locations across the East. The companyâ€™s portfolio includes property in the mountains of North Carolina and by the Intercoastal Waterway in Florida and Georgia.
The 41-year-old Adkinses previously operated the Waterfront Groupâ€™s Knoxville office but have now based the companyâ€™s corporate office in Cornelius.
Alumni of Coastal Carolina University near Myrtle Beach, S.C., they have been charitable toward their alma mater as well. The business administration majors recently pledged $300,000 toward a proposed athletic field house and the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration.
According to the institutionâ€™s public relations office, the money represents one of the largest gifts Coastal Carolina has ever received from graduates.
Both Mark and Will Adkins played sports in high school and college. Will attended college on a baseball scholarship and Mark on a football scholarship.
Scott Rye, regional president for the Waterfront Group in Knoxville, Tenn., knew them from high school days in West Virginia, when his football team played against them.
â€œTheyâ€™ve done well, so they like to give back wherever they can,â€ said Rye.
Other pet projects of the Adkins brothers have included animal rescue missions after Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area. They sent down the companyâ€™s crisis center, itâ€™s cargo pod filled with pet food, medical supplies and blankets.
Crews brought displaced animals back to Charlotte for further care until the owners could be found â€“ which eventually did happen, according to Will Adkins.
â€œIt goes back to our passion for animals,â€ said Adkins regarding the rescue.
Adkins Pet Center will hole nearly 70 dogs and 31 cats. It has already drawn 15 volunteer veterinarians to give shots and spay and neuter animals.
The Adkinses have supported Rhonda Thomas since she started Project Halo, a nonprofit no-kill animal rescue organization in Charlotte in the 1990s.
Now, they have hired her to handle adoptions in their 15,000-square-foot building, formerly a roller-skating rink on six acres of land.
A van and even helicopters will transport dogs and cats at no charge to adoptive homes within a reasonable distance from the pet center.
The Waterfront Group also makes its three helicopters and four planes available to local Sheriffâ€™s offices to help locate drugs or drowning victims on Lake Norman.
(Editorâ€™s Note: The following article is run with permission from The Knoxville Times in Knoxville, Tenn.)
by Special to the LTN