Editor’s Note: One word that’s synonymous with Mossy Oak for Toxey Haas, the founder, and Bill Sugg, today president of Mossy Oak, that’s taught from day one is: “We must serve others to serve ourselves.” This motto is a derivative from a verse in the Bible that says, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." (Matthew 20:26)
The tap root of the Mossy Oak acorn tree began in our love for hunting, and as the tree has grown, we’ve produced many more limbs off that tree that relate to hunters, outdoor people, the land and wildlife. In the early days, even as we do now, the majority of the people who work for Mossy Oak are hunters. As the Mossy Oak tree grew, Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland conducted hunts for our customers, our writer friends and our charities; and most of the time he’d have quite a few people come in for our hunts. So then Bob Dixon, Toxey, Carsie Young, Cuz and I and anyone else in our company who hunted deer, ducks and/or turkeys, would hang tree stands, build blinds, put out decoys and guide to help our guests to be as successful as possible. We still do this today and guide for the charities we support.
As our business has evolved, still the employees who come to work for Mossy Oak all have a deep love for hunting and the land. We don’t write on a white board that says you have to be a hunter to work at Mossy Oak, however, because we’re in the hunting business, many people who work for us are hunters. I’m often asked, “How did you move from being the first hiree at Mossy Oak to becoming the president of the company?” I’ll smile and say (and this is the honest truth) Toxey called me into his office and said, “Bill, I want you to be president of Mossy Oak.” And I answered, “Okay,” and went back to work. As I mentioned earlier, Toxey’s not big on titles and really never has given himself a title, but when someone asks, “What’s Toxey’s position?” we say, “Toxey’s the CEO and founder and does whatever needs to be done.” We’re really fortunate here at Mossy Oak that we have so many people who work for Mossy Oak who are as passionate about their jobs as Toxey and I are about the jobs we do. I really hate to say this, we’ve got some folks who may be even more passionate about what they’re doing than Toxey and I are.
Another theme that runs through our company is that, “We have to serve others to serve ourselves.” And that concept is the secret sauce that runs through a successful business. Another reason for Mossy Oak’s success has been Toxey’s concept of what a company can be. He wanted to create a business that could empower, encourage, motivate and incentivize people to be the best they could be on their own, every day, without having someone supervise them each day. He didn’t want to have a traditional corporate structure of layered departments. He wanted to hire people he knew who had talent, who were creative and who wanted to succeed for all the right reasons, to help the Mossy Oak business be the best it could be. Toxey learned long years ago that when people in business reached their personal goals, a company could reach its goals. You’ll often hear us use the words, the Mossy Oak Family, and that’s not just some catchy phrase. The Mossy Oak Family is a fact and is proven by the number of years that most of our employees stay with the company. We have a culture of family, first; loyalty, second; and commitment, third, and that’s the glue that binds us all together.
Tomorrow: Mossy Oak Started As an Acorn and Today It’s a Mighty Oak Tree