Cullman Magazine Summer 2019 - Page 14

CULLMAN LEGACY BUSINESS Buettner BROTHERS: A Cullman Classic By BENJAMIN BULLARD S imply mention the name Buettner Brothers around these parts, and the iconic Cullman business with some of the community’s deepest roots needs no further introduction. However, you’ll likely get a comment about the historic green benches still found near and far. Buettner Brothers has been around almost as long as Cullman has been a place known by that name. Founded in 1892 by Hugo Buettner during the wave of German migration that intro- duced this area to a flurry of industrious activity, the company has remained family-owned through four genera- tions. 

Located in what’s become one of Cullman’s quiet areas not too far from downtown, Buettner has never moved from its original location, and it’s watched the city grow up around it. Because of its neighborhood setting, the store, alongside the adjacent truss shop, retains a small-town hardware store feel that belies the true scope of its significance to the local construc- tion trade. 

The lumber shop’s big red 14 Cullman magazine | SUMMER 2019 facade, rising above nearby detached houses to face East Side Baptist Church across the street, has become a part of the Buettner brand. But nothing conveys that brand more indelibly than those distinctive green, locally-famous Buettner Broth- ers benches, which for decades have adorned storefronts, sidewalks, road- sides, and even front porches in some of the unlikeliest of places throughout Cullman County. 

“We still make the benches right here,” says Jimmy Barnes, great grandson of Hugo Buettner and company co-owner with business partner John McPhillips. “People come in the store; they can see the display wall where we’ve got all the different versions of the benches that we’ve pro- duced over the years. We’re still turning them out.”

Buettner sends more than 200 benches each year out into the wild, carrying on a tradition first begun in 1942 — on a much smaller scale — by family friend and painter Troy McPher- son. The benches’ hand-crafted origin story fits perfectly with the store’s rep-