We are often asked the origin of the name "Elko Creek Capital" and whether there actually is an Elko Creek.
In early 1905, a young entrepreneur and his brother founded the Bank of Elko in Elko, Georgia. C.E. “Charlie” Eubanks was just 35 years old at the time. Elko was an agricultural rail town producing a significant amount of cotton and was a thriving stop on the Georgia, Southern, and Florida Railroad. Unbeknownst to Charlie and his brother, something else was occurring in south Texas that would devastate the southeastern United States for years to come.
By the mid-1890s, a tiny villain that would wreak havoc on the agricultural economy was crossing over the Rio Grande into southern Texas from Mexico. The boll weevil, a small beetle that feeds on buds and flowers of cotton, had entered into southeastern Alabama by 1909, around the time the small bank in Elko began to thrive. As the boll weevil made its way through Georgia, destroying every inch of cotton in its path, farmers and businessmen alike began to worry about the effects on the local economy.
By this time Charlie and his brother Lon owned multiple general stores, farmland, pecan orchards, and an asparagus farm in addition to the Bank of Elko. Charlie, who placed a great value on education, moved his family to Griffin, Georgia, so his children could attend the best schools. He left Lon in charge of the bank and their remaining enterprises.
The boll weevil finally made its way through south and middle Georgia, destroying many agricultural businesses and entire towns along the way, including Elko and the Bank of Elko. The small bank, dependent on the local agriculture, was forced to liquidate.
Charlie then moved his family to Macon, Georgia, so his children could attend Mercer University. With a strong work ethic and love of his family, Charlie was determined to provide the best life and education for his children. He spent the rest of his life working six days a week selling men’s shoes at the Dannenburg department store in Macon to pay for his children’s college education. He knew the customers by name, and everyone called him Uncle Charlie. He managed to pay off all his debts and provide all five of his children with a college education. His third child, Ralph, would graduate from Mercer University at age 19 as the valedictorian of his class.
Like his father, Ralph had a knack for finance and banking. He served in the finance corps during World War II before starting an entry-level job at C&S bank. By the time he retired, Ralph was the President for C&S Bank in middle Georgia. After retiring, he was called on by banks and companies to assist with turnarounds and creative financing strategies. He and his wife, Dorothy “Dot”, moved to Jamaica in the 1970s to oversee the turnaround of the first Jamaican-owned bank. After successfully turning the bank around, he moved to Tampa to sell the assets of a merchandising company and returned to middle Georgia to straighten out the finances of a large funeral home, and provide advisory services to several other businesses around the southeast.
Ralph made it a mission to buy back his family’s land in Elko, and by the time he died, Ralph had repurchased over 500 acres. Elko Creek runs through the center of that land, dividing it nearly in exact halves.
At age 80 Ralph was still in contact with executive recruiters, and until his death in 1998, he remained heavily involved in various real estate and financial activities. His strong work ethic continued on with his oldest son, Don, who worked until four days before his death at age 68 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Don shared a passion for banking and finance with his father and grandfather, graduating with a degree in banking and finance from Florida State University and later an MBA from Georgia College and State University. Like his father, Don began his career in banking with Trust Company Bank in Atlanta in 1974. After moving back to Macon with Trust Company, he worked his way up as a commercial banker to Executive Vice President. By 1996, the banking world was changing rapidly, and Don didn’t like where it was headed. In keeping with his love of finance, Don became a stockbroker and Certified Financial Planner with Robinson Humphrey in Macon and later moved to Merrill Lynch. Throughout his career, he was known as a trusted advisor overseeing the finances of many middle Georgia families and also served as an institutional pension consultant to city and municipal pension funds.
Don’s youngest child, John, didn’t stray far from the long line of finance professionals in his family. Graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Financial Planning, John began his career as a financial analyst with Wachovia Securities in Atlanta before joining his father at Merrill Lynch in Macon.
Attracted to the fee-only, problem solving approach of independent wealth management firms, John joined Patton Albertson and Miller, a boutique wealth management firm with offices in Macon, Atlanta, and Chattanooga. After 2 years with the firm, John launched the Merger & Acquisition advisory practice at Patton Albertson and Miller, becoming a partner in 2015. After realizing a major gap that exists between business brokers serving small, main street companies and investment bankers serving large enterprises, John launched Elko Creek Capital to help business owners and entrepreneurs, management teams, private equity groups, and family offices sell, buy and grow companies with $1 million to $50 million in annual revenue.
Having grown up hunting and fishing along Elko Creek and spending many weekends planting pine trees, camping, and learning to appreciate the value of hard work, family history made naming Elko Creek Capital the easy part. Facing new challenges and simplifying the transaction process for business owners is the fun part.
Seeing business owners achieve their goals is the rewarding part.
We do what we do because we are fascinated by the tenacity, grit, and resiliency of business owners and entrepreneurs.
We love learning about businesses and we welcome the opportunity to hear about the journey and history you have been through with yours.
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