Six Wysong brothers are hoping to take a chain saw to the local tree-service business.
"Long term," said Philip Wysong, owner of Wysong Tree Service, "we want to take over Chattanooga and make it ours."
In the meantime, the six -- out of 11 total -- brothers are trying to build up a business that had its origins four years ago when a friend asked if any of them cut trees.
They didn't, said Matthew, but they'd give it a try.
That led to a request to trim the trees on the large campus of City Church of Chattanooga and ultimately to the idea they could form a business.
"We did so well, we started doing it ourselves," Matthew said.
The six involved are Samuel, 34, who has his own countertop business but helps the other five when needed; Seth, 29; Philip, 24; Matthew, 22; Stephen, 19; and Michael, 17.
Stephen and Michael may still pursue other fields, but Seth, Philip and Matthew believe they've found their calling.
"We're in it for the long haul," said Seth.
Daniel Wysong, another brother who's now a Marine serving in Afghanistan, actually started the business in 2007, according to Philip.
When he left for the service, the business was to have been shut down. However, Philip and Matthew decided to give it a try.
The Wysongs said they want to build their business by not only offering excellent tree service but also excellent customer service. They hope their reputation will precede them.
"That's the way we're doing it," said Philip.
Although the Wysongs' entry into the tree-service field is relatively recent, they're not outdoor innocents, said Matthew.
He and his brothers, he said, have always enjoyed "being outside and working with our hands."
Principals Philip, Matthew and Seth said growing up with so many brothers and sisters -- there are 15 Wysong children -- fostered a closeness that many siblings don't have.
"We still are [close]," said Matthew, who is the office Wysong, the one who takes service requests, makes estimates and keeps the books. "You feel like you can't do anything without them."
Indeed, he said, that's often the way he works. He'll give an estimate for service, but sometimes he'll ask for a second opinion from one of his brothers.
Only once in a great while, said Philip, is there a disagreement on how to move forward.
"We're pretty much on the same page," said Matthew.
"When [Daniel] started it, [Philip and Matthew] started to work with him," said Seth. "Then I started. We've banded together to help carry each other along, to help us be successful."
While the April 27 tornadoes brought the Wysongs a lot of work, "it brought a lot of attention [to] trees in general," said Matthew.
On that day, the brothers worked their regular day, then had calls to help clear roads.
Then, said Matthew, they worked in Apison, where a tornado did significant damage, from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. on April 28.
Since then, the brothers' business has increased, with hardwoods providing them the most work and Bradford pears -- which "grow out wide and break apart" -- being especially pesky.
Many trees that didn't fall, said Philip, are nevertheless heavily damaged.
"They have stress cracks," he said. "They're all twisted inside."
Indeed, the Wysongs said, there's no typical call. They have chain saws, trucks, trailers, a Bobcat, two non-Wysong employees and plenty of brotherly grit. Everything else they rent.
The physical work is the most difficult part, said Philip.
"No job is the same," said Matthew.
"Every [one] brings its own challenges," said Seth.