Potecasi business earns fame

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2007

POTECASI – Operating a septic tank business may not seem like a glamorous job, but for David Cooper and his wife, Felicia, it was the exact type of industry that earned them recognition.

Bryant and Lassiter Septic Tank Service, Inc., owned by the Coopers, recently nabbed the front cover and a three page spread in the November issue of a national and international magazine.

The publication, Onsite Installer, focuses on the septic system trade and averages more than 26,000 copies each month.

David Cooper was first approached by the article’s author, Gil Longwell, at the 2007 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo held in Nashville, Tenn.

Cooper recalled he was pursuing the aisles at the Expo when Longwell tapped him on the shoulder and inquired if he could write a story about Bryant & Lassiter.

“He didn’t know me from Adam,” quipped Cooper.

With Cooper’s permission and the exchange of business cards, Longwell began the process of collecting information on the business as well as the owners and employees through a telephone interview.

After submitting the story to his publisher, Longwell made the trip to see Bryant & Lassiter in action and take a few photos…85 to be exact. Several of those photos that captured the daily business dealings were used to complement the cover story.

As Cooper flips through the issue, he talks about the interest the business has received a little more than a month after it was released.

“I’ve had a lot of local people in the septic tank business call,” he said.

Recognition from the magazine even fielded a phone call from New Mexico. Cooper guessed as to how the caller got his number: “He must have Googled me.”

Though this type of recognition is newly found, for years Bryant & Lassiter have been known throughout their service area, which includes Northampton, Hertford, Bertie, Gates, Halifax counties as well as two counties in Virginia.

Brian and Tommy Lassiter (the latter is Felicia Cooper’s father) along with Aubrey Bryant began the business 36 years ago by simply pumping out septic systems.

“They started the business from nothing,” said Cooper.

In 1996, the Coopers purchased the business, keeping the Bryant and Lassiter name because of its tie with the community.

The couple also made sure to keep the word “Service” in the business’s name, reminding all exactly what their business provides.

Cooper, who is also the vice president of the North Carolina Septic Tank Association, takes pride in several values that are at the core of his business. Educating his consumers on septic system care, environmental advancements and always keeping abreast of the latest technology in the dynamic field are among those values.

However, traditional business principles are just as important to the Coopers as one on one customer service and a family-like atmosphere are prevalent in the office.

Cooper said each of his employees have been with the business for at least five years.

Secretary Cathy Edwards, who Cooper describes as “outstanding,” is one of those employees.

“I can honestly say I don’t dread coming to work,” she said about the office environment.

Those good business ethics have helped the Coopers continue to align the Bryant & Lassiter names with a favorable reputation.

For Cooper, like the title of the Onsite Installer article, average is substandard.

“If I want to be successful in life I can’t be average,” he said.

He noted that mantra applies to any trade and business in life.

“You’ve got to stay ahead,” Cooper said.

In the end, Cooper seems delighted the spotlight has fallen not only on Bryant & Lassiter, but the small community of Potecasi.

“We’re not even a dot on the map…we’re behind the dot on the map,” he said. “It’s terrific the little person got recognition out of it.”