HARDSCAPE COMPANY PAVES THE WAY FOR FAMILY TO BECOME REALITY TV STARS
At first glance, the Currys seems like any Lowcountry family, but they aren’t your average next-door neighbor. For starters, the family runs a local multimillion-dollar business. They also happen to be the Lowcountry’s newest reality TV stars.
Director and producer Brian Gurry was filming the show “American Builder” in Charleston when a house the show was working on needed pavers. After hiring Hardeeville-based Lowcountry Paver, Gurry decided to visit the company for a tour of its manufacturing plant. A conversation with Lowcountry Pavers owner Tom Curry about the business led to a segment on each episode of “American Builders” featuring the Lowcountry family. And if the ratings are good, the family will be given its own spin-off series.
Lowcountry Paver is the only independent, family-owned, American-owned company manufacturing hardscape products in the Southeast. The Currys moved to South Carolina from New Jersey in September 2003. Tom Curry was in his mid-30s when he bought Lowcountry Paver, which at the time had filed for bankruptcy. Rebuilding the company was daunting, but Tom said he was excited by the challenge.
WHILE THE EXPERIENCE IS STILL SURREAL, THEY'RE ALL HAVING FUN EXPLORING THE WORLD OF REALITY TV.
“I really like risks,” he said. “I like taking chances. If I’m not on the edge I get bored.”
Today, the company’s work can be seen all over the Southeast, from Charleston to Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Savannah. And the once-bankrupt business now is a family affair.
Tom and his wife, Cheryl, have three sons: Tommy, 20; Matthew, 18; and Christopher “Chicky,” 15. Tommy graduated from high school at 15 and is about to graduate from Clemson University and head off to grad school to become a doctor — all by the age of 25. But Matthew and Chicky are gearing up to take over their father’s business, and so impressed producer Gurry that he is planning a reality series focused solely on the two boys.
Matthew and Chicky said they have held nearly every job at Lowcountry Paver, learning the business from the inside out. They are so passionate about the work they do that they go to the manufacturing plant after school each day and on the weekends.
“I believe seeing my dad’s work ethic really rubbed off on me,” Matthew said. “I’m like him, I can’t sit still. I love to work.”
That work ethic pays off when it’s time to film the family’s “American Builders” segments. The camera crew comes in and lives with the family for a few days, constantly filming their day-to-day life. And not everyone is comfortable with having an audience.
“I’m momma bear,” Cheryl said. “I want to protect my family. (And) sometimes I don’t want my personal life out there. I’d rather be behind the camera than in front of it.”
There’s one thing the family does agree on: While the experience is still surreal, they’re all having fun exploring the world of reality TV.
“Somebody said, ‘Well, what makes them so special?’” Cheryl said. “There’s no real answer to that, but we are definitely blessed. We try to do the right thing and we have been so lucky to have such good kids.”