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‘A true family business'
Store expands at busy crossing
Hammonds old1
A photo of the first store decades ago. - photo by Submitted
There’s no place like home. Just ask the Hammonds.

For more than a century, the family business has occupied the plot of land known as Hammond’s Crossing, where Keith Bridge and Browns Bridge roads meet in northeastern Forsyth County.

Since 1986, the property has been home to Hammond’s Fishing Center, a 3,500-square-foot bait and tackle store.

On Feb. 1, the store will move just a few yards away into a newly constructed 9,000-square-foot facility.

“We have outgrown the building we’re in now,” said Thomas Hammond, who owns the business with wife Candy.

Candy Hammond said their store currently carries about $600,000 in retail inventory and they’re “going to increase it by about $100,000.”

“It’s a two-story building, but on the second floor it’s a loft that’s going to be my office and my daughter’s hair salon,” she said. “It’s a true family business.”

Kelli Hammond Hawkins, current owner of Salon 306, will be moving to the new center in about a week to prepare to open by Feb. 1.

Hawkins said she was a little worried about opening a salon above her parents’ fishing-centric business, but the unusual setting could prove to reel in more customers.

“It’s going to be more family-oriented and I can give my attention to my clients ... and my prices are going to be a little bit more reasonable to target people who can’t really afford a high-end salon.”

The Loft Salon at Hammond’s Crossing will feature coloring, cutting, waxing, up-dos and makeup.

“It’s not too often a man can go to the fishing store and get his hair cut,” Thomas Hammond said. “Or his wife can go with him and get a color, and he can go and shop.”

Hair salon aside, the new center will be more of the same, he said.

In addition to a larger marine inventory, the center will have an additional focus on water sports. Over the years, the fishing center has become the go-to place for anglers.

But for the Hammonds, “it’s just home.”

“This land was given to my husband by his father,” Candy Hammond said. “It’s a Hammond family tradition that there has been a family business run here by the Hammond family since 1898.”

The property has been home to a fabric business, bait shop and convenience store, which was stocked with whatever food Thomas Hammond’s parents, Artie and Tom, could afford after selling their cows.

But nothing stands out in Thomas Hammond’s mind more than the original business, which his grandfather, Will, opened in 1898.

“Back then it was cotton country and he’d run the trade store,” he said. “If you’d bring your chickens in, then you could get dried goods or you could bring your cotton in and he would trade store goods for cotton.

“Then he’d carry it all to Atlanta on a horse and wagon and sell it. That’s the way it worked back then. He acquired a lot of land doing that.”

The family now owns about 10 acres at the crossing and has no plans of moving, Candy Hammond said.

“We’re passing this on. My whole family is here,” she said. “Kelli’s got the hair salon, her husband Tim Hawkins and my son Jason Hammond run the store. My daughter-in-law Samantha Hammond does the boat storage, Thomas takes care of the live bait and I do the paperwork.

“I used to do it all, but I’m too old for that now. I’ve never cut hair though.”