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Store becomes a family affair

Sandra Simpson and Scottie Jenkins reminisce about growing up in the family store.
The establishment which is now 40 years old is like home to them.
“That’s just one reason not to get rid of it,” Jenkins said. “It would be like losing something; it is part of us, and it keeps us together as a big family.”
Joann Hampton and the late Bill Hampton started Hampton’s Enterprise on Reepsville Road in 1964.
She was 30-years-old when they opened the establishment and now at the age of 70, her children took over ownership in May.
“I knew it was time to do something different after 40 years it is time to get on with something else,” Hampton said.
She said the children wanted to keep it in the family.
“We have had some good years here. They all grew up here,” Hampton said.
“When they come back to the store it is like coming home,” she added.
Her three daughters and son run the store, some working evenings and all of them rotating weekends.
Simpson, who is a speech therapist at Union Elementary, works evening shifts at the store. She is planning to retire soon and when she does she will work at the store full-time.
Jenkins, who works at First Citizens Bank in Lincolnton, comes and works at the store when she can.
Myra Heavner, the youngest sibling who runs her own business, works on the weekends.
“The store has been in the family so long we wanted to keep it in the family and see how long we could do it,” Heavner said. “We hope to take it another generation.”
Billy Hampton, the middle child, grew up with his dad fixing cars.
He took over the wrecker service in 1991 when his father passed away. He has two locations, one beside Hampton’s Enterprise and another in Lincolnton.
“This is all I have ever done. I have grown up here,” he said.
The garage where Billy works on the cars was actually what was once the family room.
Heavner used to play the piano there and remembers how her mother used to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“We were practically raised out of that store,” she said.
Joann has a house behind the store and checks in from time to time on her children.
She enjoys talking to a lot of the regular customers and is fascinated with all the new faces.
“There are so many people that have moved up here and I don’t know them,” she said. “I used to know everybody.”
She also has seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
“They help a lot too,” she said.
“It would seem we are going to be here awhile,” she added.
by Amy Wadsworth

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