Entrepreneurship runs in the family

Augusta Chronicle |

--In running his own business, Dewayne Cameron is following a family tradition.

"One thing I guessed I learned from my mom and my uncle and the rest of my family is that if you own a business, you really don't own it -- the business owns you," he said.

Cameron's entrepreneurship has a history that goes back more than century.

His great-grandfather Wilfred P. Cameron Sr. started the Cameron Beverage Co. in 1889 in Washington, Pa., southwest of Pittsburgh. It grew into a respectably sized regional firm.

But in a move that forever changed the company's trajectory, it included a popular soda called Coca-Cola in its product line in 1916. By the time the family sold its operation to Coca-Cola Enterprises in 1998, the Cameron Coca-Cola Bottling Co. was the 10th-largest Coke bottler in the United States.

"After my grandfather passed away, everybody kind of sold their shares back to Coke and went their own ways and everybody started up their own companies," Cameron said.

His mother is a licensed acupuncture and Chinese medicine doctor in North Carolina. An uncle owns a bottling company, and a fracking company that cleans the water used in fracking operations. Other relatives started golf courses.

"So it's kind of like a huge family of entrepreneurs when you look at it," Cameron said.

Growing up, Cameron wanted to run a business, but "as I grew older things kind of changed," he said.

"I really enjoyed the Army and loved everything about it, but once I had all the injuries and realized I wasn't going to be as effective doing what I was doing before, I had to go about my own way."

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Reach Joe Hotchkiss at (706) 823-3543 or joe.hotchkiss@augustachronicle.com.

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