Tammy Zimmerman has Found Peace & Happiness at Her New Corporate Headquarters on Red Hill Farm
On her way from the corner office of a national corporation in Atlanta to a sheep farm amidst the rolling hills of Kentucky farmland, Tammy Zimmerman ran into Joe Framptom at the water company. And that’s how it started
“It’s actually kind of funny, but as I was getting our water service hooked up after we had moved to Paducah, the man next to me obviously understood that I was a new resident and handed me his card. He said he was with a local bank and that they would appreciate my business,” she remembers.
“I didn’t actually look at the card until I was back in my car, and then I realized that the man was Joe Framptom and that he was the CEO of the bank. I was so impressed that a CEO was out marketing and selling his bank that we opened our account there and then worked with them on our construction loan for our home at Red Hill Farm.”
Tammy was so impressed with the bank’s products and customer service that she now has a working relationship with Paducah Bank. Tammy’s company, Payment Plus, which manages merchant credit card processing and whose corporate headquarters is now in a barn (more about that later), is the bank’s sole source for this service. “If the bank has a business customer who needs credit card processing, the staff refers them to Payment Plus. It has become a wonderful working relationship. We share the same philosophy of strong customer service. We believe in the community, and we honestly care about the customer.”
And, like Payment Plus, Paducah Bank is a local resource. “I like the fact that I can pick up the phone or stop by the bank for a quick meeting. They’re not an 800 number away,” Tammy adds. “We often make joint calls together to meet with customers. We are completely aligned when it comes to the culture of servicing our customers.”
Tammy and her husband, Mike, returned to her native Paducah about six years ago when they found that, like the early trail blazers who found life in the country to be to their liking centuries ago, “urban pioneers” were finding the same sense of stability and peace in natural settings like that of Red Hill Farm. “A family friend knew we were looking to make a move and made us aware of 55 acres of property in McCracken County. Mike scouted the territory and tromped around every corner of the property with a video camera and he was sold. And he sold me as well. It was beautiful and we were ready,” Tammy explains.
That’s how the undulating pasture land on Gholson Road was transformed into Red Hill Farm. The newly constructed barn on the farm is yet another transfiguration of a longstanding corporate stereotype. Like many new companies, Tammy initially set up shop in a building on Broadway with the understandable thinking that she needed a visible presence in the business community. But watching over the processing of more than 300 businesses’ credit card mechanisms is a 24-7 responsibility. “We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And it was time consuming to have to make the trip into the office from the farm. So we built a barn to accommodate my office so that my staff and I could work from here,” Tammy comments. Tammy has two associates, Linda Robinson and Norma Ferrell.
Of course, the barn also comes in handy to oversee the ever-expanding sheep herd which Tammy and Mike have added to the Red Hill Farm family.
“I was really concerned about the decision to move from the customer standpoint,” Tammy says. “But it’s almost turned into a unique plus. When clients visit us, they so enjoy the beauty of the countryside and the peacefulness. Some even bring their children back out to see the sheep!”
Tammy’s little flock has grown to 9 Shetland sheep (with a couple of Angora goats and some little donkeys thrown in for good measure). She has cultivated a circle of sheep/wool mentors in the area and sold her first wool this spring. “Jane Hobbs, who provides shearing services, and Kathy Koenig, a commercial spinner, have both been critical sources of information and help to us. They actually know what they’re doing!” Tammy adds with a laugh.
Apparently, Tammy knows full well what she wants to do with her business and her newly acquired farming acumen . . . and she’s living it out at Red Hill Farm.