Just a week after the new Han-Dee Hugo’s opened up in Garland, business owner Rogers Clark said the accompanying Subway is set for its own opening this coming Monday.
People came out in hordes upon the Han-Dee Hugo’s opening last Thursday, and Clark said the months and months of renovations to the property proved well worth it, as the citizens of Garland and the travelers through the southern Sampson town now have a place to fill up and get a snack — all while providing some tax base to the town.
“That was the goal,” said Clark, who owns and operates Sampson-Bladen Oil Company as well as numerous BP stations and Han-Dee Hugo’s stores in Sampson and surrounding counties with son John Clark. “We’re very well pleased. The people wanted it and the people are supporting it and they’re happy with it. We’re happy to be there.”
Subway will be the next arrival at the Han-Dee Hugo’s property on North Ingold Avenue (U.S. 701). Company and town officials said the eatery is expected to see a similar warm welcome.
“They’re looking forward to having the Subway there,” said Clark. “There’s not much for us to eat down there in Garland.”
At the beginning of this year, the Garland Board of Commissioners lauded Jimmy and Rebecca Hill, who ran the Corner Store business on the same property before making the decision to sell after nearly 30 years at the establishment. Clark praised the Hills during that town meeting and promised town officials that the property would not go idle.
Clark said the property had been leased since the late 1930s, during which time three service stations built on it. The new Han-Dee Hugo’s is the fourth, with the property bought by Clark about a year and a half ago.
“We had a good dealer done there, Jim Hill, and he and his wife ran that business,” said Clark. “And he said they were getting older and he wanted to get out. I told him we were interested in buying, and that’s exactly what we did. It was very amicable.”
He additionally acquired the lot behind the store to not only renovate the business, but expand it. Along with the revamped gas station and much larger convenience store, the property will house the Subway and an entirely separate lot on the rear portion to accommodate diesel fuel customers.
For months this year, a sign was posted in front of the BP station emblazoned with the words “Coming Soon” and logos for Han-Dee Hugo’s and Subway pictured. As work was ongoing, Clark expressed his satisfaction with being able to bring something new and improved to Garland.
“I’m happy to be in Garland, this time as our business,” Clark said earlier this year. “We will carry a good line of merchandise and try to make a good business citizen of Garland. We have 74 different locations and we’re looking forward to being here.”
Now, the sign with pictures has officially given way to the real thing, and the Garland Board of Commissioners acknowledged the results have been well received.
“I think they were very pleased with the turnout,” said Mayor Winifred Murphy of the property owners. “Mr. John Clark said that first day was just really great. It looks like it’s steady.”
“They’ve had steady business,” said Commissioner Matthew Register. “That first day was — wow.”
The property has been closed for nearly a year so a complete renovation could be completed. Now completed, a new chapter in Garland’s history is about to commence, one of which Clark said he is happy to be a part.
“We wanted to upgrade our presence in Garland,” he said. “It’s for the residents and it will help the travelers a lot. There are a lot of travelers that come through here from the first of April through October. It will be a convience to all of them.”
Murphy said she was there the first day of the business’ operation last week and saw a lot of happy, and amazed, faces.
“I was there early morning (the first day) and I talked with Mr. Rogers Clark and I told him I wish I could just stand there and be a Han-Dee Hugo greeter and see the expression on everyone’s faces,” the mayor said, “because everybody was just in awe of what was happening. I couldn’t stay all day, but throughout the day people were just amazed — and we are also.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.