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6

November 2016

F

Forty-five-year-old Dan Donaldson has had a number

of professions in his lifetime. He has been a police officer,

insurance investigator and a private investigator.

But, inMarch 2009, he and his father, Ralph, embarked

upon an unusual profession that unleashed his creative

side and would ultimately bring him the most joy. Dan

Donaldson is a modern-day broommaker.

“My father got me into it,” Donaldson said. “My father

was a frustrated farmer. He wanted to farmhis whole life.

He wanted to do something unusual.”

It was around 2007 or 2008, when his father saw a spe-

cial onTV about a guy whowas growing broomcorn and

making brooms.

“A light went off in daddy’s head,” Donaldson said. “He

thought that was something he could farm as a hobby.

We could control the whole process from planting the

seed, to creating the raw material, to adding the value

and creating a final product.”

Ralph Donaldson asked his son to go with him to the

JohnC. Campbell Folk School inBrasstown, N.C., and

learn how to make brooms. The father-son team made

the trip there and discovered that they not only had a

passion for broommaking, but they also had an aptitude

for it.

The Broom Brothers (the name they chose for them-

selves) grew broomcorn and traveled the Southeast, par-

ticipating in arts and crafts festivals continuously from

March 2009 until Ralph passed away in June 2014.

MAGIC

BROOMS

An accidental decision was the best one

for broommaker Dan Donaldson

by

VIVIAN MORGAN

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