80 Acre Market Story

80 Acre
Market Story

80 Acre Market Story

80 Acre Market

What once was the family home of Josh and Holly Smallwood in East Texas is now a community destination filled with unique gifts, apparel, home furnishings, and so much more. 80 Acre Market was named after a parcel of land the Smallwood family purchased in East Texas that they hoped to one day create a place for families to enjoy.

With the launch of its brick-and-mortar store in October 2021, 80 Acre Market is now available for everyone to enjoy at 80acremarket.com.

Humble Beginnings

If you'd told a teenage Josh Smallwood that he'd one day choose to build a home and business in East Texas, he wouldn’t have believed you. That’s because at the time, all teenaged Josh wanted was to get out.

Josh had spent his early years not really having a place to call home. Growing up in East Texas with his parents meant growing up fast and fending for himself, witnessing his family caught in cycles of drug abuse and prison sentences. They moved around often and for years the only person Josh could count on was his older brother, Dustin—now the General Manager at Smallwoods—who stood by Josh and protected him. Childhood for them meant the police finding you on the steps of your trailer while your parents produced drugs. Poor, neglected, abused and abandoned, Josh Smallwood's life at that time was anything but homey.

Life was difficult. But there was one thing Josh loved about his childhood--something that took his mind out of the grind of surviving and gave him moments of real joy. A farm. Josh didn't know it then, but the time he spent on his grandpa's farm would change his outlook — and his future. Looking back, his experiences on the farm laid the foundation of the Smallwoods brand: a love of East Texas, care of the land, the importance of family, and a lived-in knowledge of what every day working people are up against in their effort to provide for their loved ones.

Josh graduated high school, immediately went on to college to study accounting, began building a family with his wife Holly, worked several jobs, and attended night school. Holly studied nursing and graduated with a nursing degree, and Josh went on to earn his MBA. While going through the motions and trying to build a stable life for his family, he eventually realized he was living someone else’s life. It wasn't him.

Starting a Business

Josh knew he wanted to do his own thing. But he didn't know what that thing was yet—and he didn't have a ton of real-life experience. He knew he was a hard worker. So he worked. Hard. Josh's big break actually came in the form of a few small breaks—none of which looked too promising at the start. Then finally in 2012, he executed on an idea that would change the trajectory of the entire Smallwood family.

Josh started a small framing business where a newly formed team of employees would huddle up in a 12 by 20 foot garage stall, and cut up old barn wood to make rustic frames. It wasn't a glamorous beginning—and Josh had no idea where he was going with it. But he had a hunch that he could make this into something different—something big. From these humble origins, Smallwoods was born.

Then in 2021 Josh and Holly chose to turn their family home in East Texas into 80 Acre Market, a venue where families can gather together to shop, relax, play games, enjoy food trucks, listen to live music, and spend time together outdoors. The 80 Acre Market location experience is relational and something that allows you to get out into an environment that you can't find anywhere else.

People Over Profits

For Josh, the dream was never just about the work, the revenue, or the business. He wanted to create a culture where his employees felt valued, inspired and supported—beyond just picking up a paycheck. He wanted to create a community where his friends, families, and co-workers could set down roots in the Texas land of his childhood, and—more importantly—make sure his employees had the stability and support he didn’t have growing up.

So Josh started buying up land around the home he and Holly had built. The Smallwoods family went from 80 to over 240 acres of beautiful Texas land to call their own. And in 2020, they broke ground on another dream: a 1-million square foot work campus with a beautiful glass building looking out onto the gorgeous landscape. Against everything he'd imagined as a kid, Josh was back in East Texas, creating a space for his employees to take in the beauty of the place he'd always sworn he'd leave.

Josh Smallwood is a firm believer that companies should support their workers both on and off the clock. He wants work to be human, to be fulfilling, and to be inspiring. With his interest in permaculture, he's building a working farm on the Smallwood’s property. The animals help restore the land, and employees get high-quality, farm-fresh food from the land where they will soon work and spend their time. It's a self-sustaining, all-around win for everyone, and is just one part of what makes the Smallwoods family unique in their vision and purpose. It’s an above and beyond approach to company culture, but to Josh, it’s worth it.

For Josh, his businesses are about a commitment to what is truly valuable—not just profitable. It’s about taking time to think comprehensively and long term about things of lasting value and meaning. It’s a commitment to taking rough starts and humble beginnings, difficult trials and unforeseen setbacks, and using them to think better, bolder, and with more humanity.