By Crystal McGough, Sponsored Content
Peppertree and Carrington may very well be two of the most well-known neighborhoods in the Trussville community, boasting beautiful custom-designed homes. In fact, hundreds of people, not only from Trussville but all around the Birmingham and Jefferson County areas, visit Peppertree at Christmastime to enjoy the fabulous light display at the home of Donnie and Susan Jones.
Most, however, may not be aware that Donnie and Susan designed and built many of the homes in the Peppertree subdivision, as well as Carrington, Hunters Creek, and other subdivisions stretching all the way out into Vestavia, through their company, New Generation Building & Design Inc.
New Generation specializes in new construction residential, with custom-designed homes ranging from 3,000-7,000 square feet.
“We focus on a custom approach,” Donnie Jones said. “No cookie-cutter houses; all custom and big lots.”
Susan became the third generation of builders in her family when she graduated from Auburn University in 1992 with a degree in Interior Design and founded New Generation Building & Design Inc. in 1999.
“My wife actually started the business, and I came on board several years later,” Donnie said. “Our son, Hunter Stewart, graduates from Auburn University in August with a Building Science degree, and he’ll be the fourth generation.”
With Susan’s lineage and degree, New Generation Building has competed in and won many awards from the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders (GBAHB) annual Parade of Homes.
“Susan’s degree helped because she was able to design custom,” Donnie said. “We typically won the gold on all the Parade of Homes we entered.”
After the recession in 2008-09, the demand for custom-designed homes declined, and the Jones’ began expanding their company into commercial development, as well.
One of New Generation’s most well-known commercial developments in the Trussville area is Sheepdog Firearms, but the Jones’ are also expanding into tenant build-outs under four stories, that are owned by a landlord and leased out to business owners.
“Once New Generation Building completes the build, we sell the building to our sister company Village Square Properties to manage the lease,” Donnie said.
Within Trussville’s Paine Industrial Park, where New Generation Building is located, Village Square Properties currently leases to McKesson pharmaceutical company. Along with having other leasing opportunities available, VSP also owns Trussville Boat and RV Storage.
This hidden gem provides both covered and uncovered storage, offering not only locals, but anyone traveling through the area a safe place to house their RVs or boats. The demand, however, is high, and there is a waiting list, Donnie said.
“We probably have the only covered storage here on this side of Jefferson County,” he said. “It’s a good location, because it’s kind of out-of-sight, out-of-mind.”
In addition to New Generation Building and Village Square Properties, Donnie Jones has a third business, which he speaks of with a love and passion strong enough to wet anyone’s appetite.
“‘Smokology: The Science of Bar-B-Que’ … I love it!” he said.
Sitting in New Generation Building’s parking lot are three Smokology barbecue trailers where Donnie and his partner Rodney Meeks prepare competition barbecue and also provide catering and fundraising services.
“We are Smokology,” Donnie said. “We do barbecue fundraising. We do catering. We do the Trussville Shrimp Boil; we’ve done that for several years.”
Donnie began his competitive barbecue career cooking and competing for Southern Living in the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) professional barbecue circuit. He started Smokology in 2007, and Meeks partnered up with him in 2012.
Smokology provides catering services that range from weddings to larger events like the Church of the Highlands Motion Conference, and fundraisers that help support many organizations including athletics and fine arts programs at many local schools.
“We do a huge fundraiser deal at Thanksgiving,” Donnie said. “This past year, we did over 1,600 hams, turkeys and butts for Thanksgiving.”
Proceeds from the annual Thanksgiving fundraiser have benefitted Clay-Chalkville High School’s baseball team, Hewitt Trussville High School’s band, Moody High School’s drama club, Southeastern School in Remlap, Palmerdale United Methodist Church, and individuals from all over the surrounding cities.
“It’s a pretty big event we do, and it’s grown every year, as far as quantities,” Donnie said. “It’s a huge revenue maker for all the schools.”
If you’re still wondering what makes Smokology stand out among the competition, it might help to know that Smokology qualified for the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in 2012, making them one of the select few to boast the privilege of cooking Jack Daniel’s barbecue.
“Jack Daniel’s is probably the most prestigious barbecue deal in the country,” Donnie said. “Only one state champion team can represent each state in the Jack Daniel’s Competition.”
Donnie said that Smokology does not do much competing anymore, but he and Meeks spend most of their energy focusing on the catering and fundraising side of the business. Preparing for these larger events can be a sleepless endeavor, but their hearts and passion for the service they provide make it a labor of love.
“It’s just how we are,” Donnie said. “We want to make sure everybody gets a very good product and has a good experience with us.”
Anyone who is interested in Smokology’s catering or fundraising services can contact Donnie Jones at (205)789-9336, or Rodney Meeks at (205)365-2465.