It all started with a cardboard sign in his front yard that read, ‘Pumpkins for sale.’
Dawson County’s Bradley Weaver planted the seeds for a future in sales at the age of 5. He sold as many pumpkins as he could, and over the years his business skills grew.
Recognition for his effort came last month, when Weaver, now 18, took home a national award for agricultural sales at the FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
Since then, Weaver’s been showered with praise by his parents and high school adviser, who spoke with happiness of the award this week.
Bradley’s parents Tony and Karen Weaver attended the conference with their son. Tony Weaver said he was thrilled when his son was given the agricultural sales award, one of 47 categories at the event.
“I was so excited,” he said. “I thought I was going to go through the roof. To win state is an amazing thing. To win this...I don’t think I’ve fully comprehended it yet. It’s so incredible. I’m so proud of Bradley.”
Bradley Weaver said what probably sold the judges was his grasp of the business. “They could tell I do all the work myself...that I get out there and do what needs to be done to keep everything going.”
Dawson County High School agricultural adviser Reggie Stowers agreed.
“A lot of times, when you see students that are 18 years old, they’re kind of riding on momma’s or daddy’s coattails a little bit, and I think it came out pretty plain in the interview sessions that Bradley’s a kid who knows the business,” Stowers said.
“He can explain every detail of what goes on,” he added. “That was probably his biggest advantage when they were judging.”
Weaver’s entry included his pumpkin business — Bradley’s Pumpkin Patch — as well as boiled peanuts, Christmas trees, daffodils and daylillies he sells, according to the season. He’s also the owner of a landscaping company with about 20 customers.
When Weaver’s not overseeing the businesses, he’s hitting the books at North Georgia College & State University, where he’s a freshman. He entered the FFA competition last year, while still a high school senior.
Balancing the school and work days can be a challenge, but it’s no problem for Weaver. He schedules his classes three days a week, and tends to business the remaining days.
“I’m always on the move,” Weaver said. “I’m always doing something.”
He plans to continue his pumpkin ventures through college. Being in business at a young age taught him a little about the trade.
Some lessons he’s learned: “If you have a bad pumpkin, don’t try to sell it. We leave all those in the field. Always sell a good product,” and “be friendly to your customers.”
Bradley’s mother said good customer service isn’t the only thing that makes him successful.
“God gives each one of us gifts,” said Karen Weaver. “Bradley was faithful to pray about what God wanted him to do, and for him it was growing pumpkins.”
On the farm, she said, Bradley Weaver is right in his element.
“He’s a hard worker. He’s a doer,” she said. “He’s always loved the farm. For him, this is heaven.”
Bradley’s Pumpkin Patch is located at 25 Lawrence Drive, off Hwy. 183.