At the age of 26 and under the careful mentoring and encouragement of more experienced friends, Bernie Butler formed Butler Development in 1986 in Jackson Mississippi to develop build-to-suit retail and office projects for specific clients who needed help establishing new locations in about nine Southern States. They included cities like Jackson Mississippi, Mobile Alabama, Tuscaloosa Alabama, Augusta Georgia, Charleston South Carolina, Vidalia Louisiana, Savannah Georgia and others. The first of those efforts was a 30,000 square foot building and campus for Southern Technical College in Jackson in 1986 and culminated with the 4 story, 63,000 square foot, class “A” Lakeland Medical Center building in Jackson in 1992.

Mr. Butler took the next thirteen years to help start and launch a couple of companies, helped build several regional advertising and marketing companies and was hired to lead the national re-branding of the National Federation of Independent Business which is the largest small business lobby in America.

He started D9 in Franklin Tennessee in 2002 to work on new commercial development opportunities in the Southern footprint that he was familiar with from his work before. That opportunity was created by two good friends who funded and encouraged that effort. It would not have happened without them. The result was the initial development and land work for multiple Walgreens locations, several sites for Cracker Barrel and a shopping center development in Aiken South Carolina which was started by D9 then sold to local investors.