My car was packed down with the last load of my possessions, I pulled out of my apartment in Starkville and began the drive back to Laurel. The plan was to come home, teach art lessons for a while until I saved enough money to move on to bigger and better things. That two hour drive had me dreaming of Birmingham, Nashville, anywhere really… just not Laurel. It was a goal I had established early on in high school. Get out. Become a part of something bigger than this small town.
I spent my first week back home settling in, and spent an ungodly amount of time at the new coffee shop that just opened downtown. The second floor mezzanine was being used as an art gallery, but had no one to manage it, so I stepped in. I began teaching art lessons and managing the gallery, and before long my commute from my parents house into town became inconvenient. A local merchant had a garage apartment open up, so I packed up my things and moved into a 1920’s gem on my favorite street in the Historic District.
This was a strange turn of events because it wasn’t really part of the plan. It was a horizontal step that was getting me no closer to my bigger and better things.
You see, the thing I hadn’t expected was to find myself surrounded by a group of people who were on fire for revitalization. There were people actively participating in the community of Laurel, and those people were desperate to see new ideas grow and bloom. I knew immediately, these were my people. My thoughts became less about going to “bigger and better places” and more about how to use my passions to make Laurel become the place I wanted it to be.
It was with this group that I watched the city I had known my entire life transform around me. I met my wife (a Jones County Native) and convinced her to move back home with me. Looking back at pictures of our wedding, we are surrounded not only by both of our families, but a third family made up of our community. We bought a little cottage and continued to work towards something greater.
Wedding photo credits: Glessner Photography
From the moment I decided to become an artist, the word “starving” was constantly paired with my occupation. Its funny to me, no one ever refers to really any other occupation as “starving”. Can you imagine? “Oh, he’s a starving accountant.” Its bizarre to me. I knew if I wanted to be successful, there was going to be a lot of hard work, and what a better place to put in the work than a supportive community that was passionate about creative economy. I started by only working on commissions, but through the years I found opportunities to begin using my artwork on products, my favorite being fabrics. To see my work upholstering furniture and being used to decorate people's homes gave me the greatest rush, and what better way to show those products than a beautiful storefront in our downtown. Three years ago, surrounded by my community of cheerleaders we opened Adam Trest Home on Magnolia Street. These people were not only encouraging with their words, but supportive with their actions. They chose to shop with us when they could have easily gone to older more established businesses. They chose to spend a little more than they would have at a big box store. They chose to support our dream.
For ten years now we have made a choice to do the things we love to do in a town we love. We have made choices to work with American Manufacturers, and to sell our products not only in our store, but also to other mom and pop shops all over the United States. Our latest choice has been to partner with our old friends at the Laurel Mercantile. These people are our neighbors and friends. We are so excited to offer some of our products on their platform. This collaboration is one that’s ten years in the making. We have all experienced highs and lows together, but mostly we are just enjoying the ride.