Like so many companies nationwide, Little Rock-based Curry’s Termite, Pest & Animal Control was concerned that restrictions and concerns stemming from the ongoing covid pandemic would hamper its business.
“In fact, it turned out to be somewhat of the opposite,” said Scott Pinney, co-owner with wife Tammy Curry Pinney of the family business, which was founded in Pine Bluff 96 years ago and is now in its fifth generation. “More people called us looking for help with their pest infestations. Business could have been even better if we had enough employees to do all the work.”
Daughter Lauren Pinney Stephens, also on Curry’s staff, explains that “people were at home more than usual during the pandemic. It made them more aware day by day of pest activity that was going on all the time while they were at the office.”
As Curry heads toward his centennial in 2026, the branches of his family tree are spread. The company was founded in 1926 by RG Curry in Pine Bluff. Two of his three sons, Gene Curry and Owen Curry Sr., followed him as the second generation.
Owen Curry Jr. opened the Little Rock office in 1947 at its current location, 202 Bishop St., north of the state capitol. His third-generation brother, Scott Curry, continued to manage the Pine Bluff office. A third office in Monticello is also still in operation.
Scott Pinney started working for Curry’s in 1984 and soon after married Tammy Curry, great-granddaughter of the firm’s founder. Tammy’s stepsister Tami, a manager of the Pine Bluff office, completes the fourth generation.
The fifth generation includes Scott and Tammy’s daughter Lauren and their son, Tyler, who have both worked for the company since before college. Also on the staff is Tyler’s wife, Alexis.
“Tyler and Alexis have a toddler, Tatum,” Scott says. “Who knows, but he might grow up to be the sixth generation in our business.” Tatum is already wearing a T-shirt that says “Bug Expert” with images of a termite and half a dozen other creepy-crawly critters.
Handling insects accounts for 93% of Curry’s work. Thirty-eight percent of that involves termites, with other bug species making up the remaining 55%. The last 7% of the calls are for catching and relocating animals. Details about the company can be found at curryspestcontrol.com.
Among the various pests, “bedbugs are a problem that has increased significantly in Arkansas over the past decade,” says Scott. “In the United States we basically got rid of them in the 1950s, but now they’re back. They probably drove their way back to America because of the increased travel from Europe. Then they drove all over the United States and a problem here about a dozen years ago.”
Arkansas has also seen a notable increase in fire ants, which Scott describes as “more of a weather trend. As Arkansas slowly warms environmentally, the northern limit for them continues to move northward.
“When I started working here in the mid-1980s, fire ants used to be confined to southern Arkansas. Now they are appearing as far north as Greenbrier. The growth of new subdivisions also plays a role, as fire ants love freshly cleared areas. Ants in general are nothing new, but they’ve moved into the No. 1 spot as the top pest.”
Squirrels are the biggest part of Curry’s animal control business, Lauren says, “and they’re definitely the most destructive issue that our animal techs address year-round, along with rats. They can chew through almost any house material to find a nesting spot. Sometimes the armadillo is a different kind of challenge. Because of their poor eyesight, we literally have to lead them into our traps.”
The current management is proud of the company’s awards and honors. Scott notes that “we are frequently named the best of the best by various reader groups. But the best honor we have received is our 2016 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics in the highly competitive small business category.”
Curry’s also values customer feedback, and not just the online compliments that provide free advertising for the firm’s services.
“These are also opportunities for us to hone our services,” says Scott. “We can learn where we excel or about problem areas we need to work on. Good or bad, without feedback we wouldn’t know how to serve our customers better. And customer service is the business we’re in.”