Many have asked where the "hearthside" in Hearthside Business Systems came from, but it's not really as cryptic as it seems. We started this company with the motto, “We make technology work reliably, consistently, and productively in a way that is affordable, familiar, and comfortable for you.” The name, Hearthside Business Systems, is derived from that motto. “Hearthside,” to us, symbolizes the casual, comfortable feeling of sitting in front of a fireplace with a hot drink on a cold, wintry evening. We want our clients to be that comfortable with their information technology systems. Frustration ends when you contact Hearthside Business Systems. We specialize in troubleshooting and malware protection—We pride ourselves on solving those frustrating computer issues that just don’t seem to go away—the ones that others just cannot seem to permanently resolve. We are the ones that often get called in when no one else can resolve your issues and then we become your business partner!
A Little History
In the early 1990s, my wife Dianna and I were living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA with every convenience close-at-hand and earning a very substantial income. Yet, we were strongly impressed that God was leading us to move to a rural area to raise our children. We prayed about this impression until we felt that we had no other choice but to act on it. Then for the next year, we prayed continuously as we bought a property in rural Tennessee, had the land cleared, and prepared for the move. One of our most frequent prayers was about what to do for income once we moved. Again, we felt strongly impressed—This time to begin an information technology (IT) managed services and consulting business in our new location. All indications and market surveys showed that our new location was in desperate need of honest, skilled IT support. Years of experience in the field and God's blessing me with a gift for troubleshooting made me very comfortable in the field of information technology managed services consulting. I had already been satisfying the needs of a wide range of IT support clients as a part-time business since 1979 and the roots of my involvement with computers began long, long before that. From the age of five and all through the balance of my childhood, I often went with my father, a business-machine field engineer, to install or repair everything from simple adding machines to complex mainframe computers. As such, I had been directly involved in the “guts” of the computer industry evolution
All those years in the information technology industry provided lots of first-hand experiences with the typically arrogant and deceptive support field spawned during those years. Traditional IT support has been replete with distressing "value and service gaps." Superstore retailing provides a wide variety of product choices but their advice is frequently biased toward making the sale—not toward what your company needs. The direct market often offers unbelievably low prices—but at what cost? Their frequently deceptive advertising, poor quality, mismatched components, and zero after-the-sale services were rampant. Consultants and other IT support businesses are frequently burdened by the cost of all the certifications they believe they need and resultantly they usually charge a lot and deliver little. Staff IT employees command huge salaries but small businesses usually have trouble finding sufficient work to keep them busy enough to justify their salary. Dianna and I believed that we could uniquely fill these "gaps" with one-on-one advice and support, leveraging the Internet to provide managed services (something unheard of in the early 1990s) and a choice of products and training at prices equal to the superstores while still maintaining the "personal" touch that had distinguished me from all competitors in the past.
Bringing computer technology to a rural and very economically depressed area of Tennessee in 1993, where many of the businesses still worked out of a cigar box, proved to be a real struggle. We needed to be able to offer credit card purchasing, lease options, and other accommodating payment plans to our customers that were initially out of our reach. We also found that technology training was sorely needed, yet with most vendors charging in the hundreds or thousands of dollars for good training materials, we were initially unsuccessful at obtaining simple and effective courses at a reasonable cost and had to create everything ourselves from scratch. Yet nothing is impossible with God and through a series of events that are too coincidental to be anything other than divine intervention, we were able to tap internal talents in copywriting, editing, and graphic design to create what we needed and even create a successful side-business. Our clients have included insurance offices, doctors and dentist offices, public libraries, county high schools, county governments, hotels, restaurants, print shops, and a wide variety of service industries and manufacturing facilities.
Fast forward ten years to 2002, though, and our children had outgrown our local church's small, one-room, private elementary school. So once again God called us to move—this time to northwest Georgia, where our church operates a boarding academy just southwest of Calhoun.
Situated in Gordon County, Georgia just minutes from Calhoun, Adairsville, Rome, and Dalton, and less than an hour from Atlanta and Chattanooga, it seemed like the perfect location to seek new clients for Hearthside Business Systems, yet although the business remained open and we picked up new clients in Georgia, God led me instead, into a full-time employment situation as a Business Analyst and then Director of Information Technology with a building materials supply company that grew to 27 locations in 3 states during my tenure. The hope was that working for someone else would allow us the time we needed to build a home and spend more time with our children.
Fast forward nine years to December 2010 and the previous 3 years of economic woes and the continued dismal housing market left my employer no other option but to let me go. I had never closed Hearthside Business Systems and had continued to operate the business with a minimum of good clients through the years of full-time employment. It took very little time to ramp the business back up to full-time and now fully operational once again, Hearthside Business Systems remains a small, regional business that specializes in servicing both the information technology (IT), the communications, and the graphic design support needs of other small business in the Atlanta Metro, Northwest Georgia, and Central Florida regions—Our roots still go very deep in all three of those areas even though our main office is now in Lake Mary, FL.
We are Christian-owned and operated and as such, we seek to glorify Jesus Christ, not only through our professional dealings but also in each and every area of our lives. We promise to treat you in a fair and equitable manner with honesty and integrity.
Doug Bush, Owner/IT MSP/Lead Consultant