A family tradition for 20 years

By | January 31, 2006 12:00 am

Missy Jones
Charles and Donnie Bumbalough have been in the steel business together for 20 years.
The father and son team has experienced a lot throughout the years. Although it hasn’t always been an easy road, it has been worth the ride.
Charles and Donnie opened Bumbalough’s Machine Shop in June 1986. They originally started in a building on McMinnville Highway, but soon realized they needed more space.
A year later, the business expanded, and they moved to the current location.
Donnie, who is Charles’ oldest son, began fixing things when he was only 9 years old.
He was given an old bicycle, and the chain kept coming off.
Donnie said he kept telling his father “my bike chain has jumped off.”
In reply, Charles said, “ If you are going to ride that bike, you need to learn to fix it.”
Donnie decided his dad was right, so he fixed the bike and realized he had a knack for fixing things.
Donnie served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 and received his machine shop training. He fine-tuned his skills while working at Wagner after returning home.
Chuck Bumbalough, Donnie’s younger brother, is a skilled welder, and in the early days of the business he did all the welding.
Chuck taught this trade to Donnie, and now Donnie does the majority of the welding.
Charles and Chuck received training from a vocational school in Crossville.
The family business not only employs Charles, Donnie and Chuck, but Donnie’s daughter, Amy Kinser, also works at the shop. Amy is the company secretary, bookkeeper and coordinator.
Donnie’s brother-in-law, Thomas Walton, who is married to his sister Karen, also works for in the family business in steel sales and inventory.
Bumbalough’s Machine Shop services several White County businesses and most of the factories in Sparta.
“We keep most shops running around here with repair,” said Charles.
When someone has a machine part needing to be replaced or repaired, Bumbalough’s figures out the best way to make a replacement, produce the part and get business up and running quickly.
“If a customer has a broke down machine, they may have 20 employees sitting around, and that’s not good,” said Charles.
“We like to get them up and running as fast as possible.”
Bumbalough’s Machine shop has clients in 41 states.
“We are working on trying to get jobs in all the states,” said Donnie.
With the ability provided by the Internet to reach the world, they have been able to broaden their customer base.
“With all the factories closing in this area, we had to find business in other places,” said Donnie.
Charles and his wife Callie both grew up in White County.
They married and had to move to Detroit, Mich., to find work.
They had five children Karen, Donnie, Linda, Tim, and Chuck.
As the children were growing and becoming teenagers, Charles and Callie decided they needed to get them out of Detroit and return home to White County. They hoped the children would choose to settle here. As it turned out, all five live in White County with their families.
Charles has 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Donnie and his wife Belinda have a combined family of five children, including Amy Kincer, Maria Layne, Jill Layne, Steven Gilliam and Becky Miller.
Donnie has five grandchildren.
Callie died a year ago this past November from a brain tumor. Charles said the family has been through a lot together, and they take pride in being “close knit”.
“I am so thankful my family has remained close by,” he said. “Working with family is not always easy, but it is rewarding.”
Bumbalough’s Machine Shop is located at 305 N. Spring St and can be reached at 836-2428 Monday-Friday.

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