The Garland Board of Commissioners showed its gratitude this week to a company whose business venture it is hoped will mark a new era of prosperity in the town and begin a domino effect of economic development in southern Sampson.
Garland mayor Winifred Murphy presented a framed certificate to Sampson-Bladen Oil Company officials during the town board meeting Tuesday night, thanking them for investing in Garland and what it has meant — and could mean for years to come.
Rogers Clark, owner of Sampson-Bladen Oil and numerous BP stations and Han-Dee Hugo’s stores in Sampson and surrounding counties, accepted the recognition alongside Jeff Oppenheim, Sampson-Bladen Oil district manager of food services who oversees the day-to-day operations of Subway in Garland.
“We are so thankful they are in our town,” said Murphy. “This is a certificate of appreciation presented to Sampson-Bladen Oil Company for investing in the town of Garland by opening the Han-Dee Hugo and Subway and providing quality, friendly and efficient service to all the citizens and customers.”
The recognition, the mayor said, was awarded “by the Board of Commissioners and the mayor of the town of Garland on behalf of all the citizens in the town of Garland.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening for the new Han-Dee Hugo’s convenience station and combined Subway restaurant was held Feb. 6. Murphy was there as John Clark, director of operations for Sampson-Bladen Oil, cut the ribbon flanked by town officials and other Samspon-Bladen and store representatives.
The mayor said Tuesday she was elated about the success that could be achieved through the partnership and what a large investment in Garland could translate to in terms of future economic development.
“We sincerely appreciate your being here and for investing in Garland,” said Murphy. “It has made a significant difference. We want you to be here for a very, very long time. I know you have been here for a long time, but like malls have their anchor stores, we consider you two anchor stores on the corner.
“I’m sure your business is doing really well,” she said, “and I’m sure the other businesses in Garland will continue to do well with your presence here.”
Those in attendance at the meeting applauded as Murphy presented the certificate to Clark.
“We appreciate this and we appreciate the recognition,” he said. “We also appreciate the support we are getting from the people in Garland and the surrounding area. The first time I came in here and talked about it, you asked me to build a nice, attractive place, to landscape and do the things that needed to be done. Like I do so many times, I overdid it.”
Han-Dee Hugo’s opened at the beginning of December and Subway welcomed customers just weeks later on the same North Ingold Avenue (U.S. 701) property.
At the beginning of 2012, the Garland town board 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.
He presented preliminary plans that would see a huge facelift at the property, one that has now come to fruition.
“We’re proud and happy to remain a member of Garland and have our business here,” said Clark. “We appreciate the support and we look forward to getting better in the months between April and October. We’re going to be here and we’re still looking to see if there are any other things that we can do to bring something else into Garland.”
Like the mayor, board members expressed their gratitude toward Clark, Sampson-Bladen and the investment and commitment made to the town.
“We appreciate you,” said Haywood Johnson.
“Show us that appreciation by stopping in,: said Clark, with a laugh, “three times a day.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.