Gus was born in Crawford, Georgia in Oglethorpe County, and was raised mostly on the East Side of Athens. He graduated from Cedar Shoals High School and attended UGA. Gus runs Community Meat Company with his wife, Meg, and he also has been doing woodwork for 9 years and is an owner and the shop manager of Oneta Woodworks. He plays guitar and sings in the popular Americana band The Darnell Boys with his brothers. He lives with Meg, and daughter, Frances, on their farm in Colbert. They have three dogs, a Great Pyreneese, Mable, who watches the chickens, Mina and Layla who are inside dogs and a cat, Kitty.
What inspired you or led to your current career?
I guess both of them I feel like were part of this sort of quest for self-sufficiency and trying to figure out how I could do things myself. In 2010 I started working at a farm to table restaurant where I met Meg. We were learning about food and farming, we were interested in eating clean, sustainable, local food but we couldn’t really afford to. So we wanted to figure out how we could start producing food for ourselves and if we were going to put time and energy into that why not produce food for the community as well? So, that’s what led to us starting Community Meat Company. With woodworking – my dad was a carpenter and my grandfather was a carpenter and cabinet maker so I was definitely around it my whole life. It was a skill I wanted to have so that I could be self-sufficient and make things instead of just buying them from the store. I started working for Zack Brendel at Oneta Woodworks and got hooked on it. Now, I have been doing it for nine years. Zack definitely taught me a lot of general woodworking, business stuff, and a lot of general carpentry and I took that and ran with it and studied a lot on my own, reading and YouTubing. Hank Hambright of Heavy Friends Furniture and I were coming up together at Oneta so we would come in from the weekend and be like yo I watched this video about how to cut dovetails in this way; we would try it out and kind of push each other that way. I definitely owe a lot to Hank for that.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you love there?
It is a real tough split between The National and Seabear, but since Meg said The National maybe I will say Seabear. My favorite meal is clam chowder and avocado toast.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I think I would go to Argentina or Chile, some place in South America just to check it out. I have never been and would love to go to the beach down there, cruise around the mountains down there. It would be awesome.
What is your favorite movie, or the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
My earliest movie memory as far as a movie theatre goes, I remember going with a friend of mine’s family, and I remember his mom snuck in a ton of candy and then we busted out all these candy cigarettes. They were like straight sugar sticks. My parents didn’t buy stuff like that, so I remember being so excited sitting in this movie theatre eating these candy cigarettes. Don’t even remember the movie, but more the experience. But, my favorite movie right now is On Any Sunday. Great vintage motorcycling documentary.
What advice do you often give people?
What is something on your bucket list?
I have always wanted to ride a motorcycle across the United States.
If you could see any artist or band anywhere, dead or alive, who would it be?
I think I would have to go with Biggie Smalls somewhere in Brooklyn.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
Definitely outside happy hour. Meg and I have been just getting food and picnicking around campus, finding secret spots. That is probably my favorite thing to do right now.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Chill out and be patient
Three words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Green, cozy and food.