Hoke Upgrades Long-Standing Operations With Move from Jetton Street to Mooresville
A stream of employees interrupted Rick Hoke’s attempt to respond to a NewsOfDavidson.Org interviewer. “It’s just chaos!” he admitted with some resignation. But what else could you expect from the relocation of 35 employees, a fleet of 10 vehicles, and brand-new offices for the town of Davidson’s longest lived enterprise?
Hoke Lumber Company, which covered 5.5 acres of land facing Jetton Street since 1943, moved to new quarters on May 6 to modernize and grow its business. The company had completely outgrown the Davidson site, often forcing delivery trucks to wait in Jetton Street traffic lanes. The rubble and few crumbling buildings left on the old site contrast to the gleaming new and spacious office buildings, lumber sheds, and showrooms in the company’s new 15-acre location at US 2079 Charlotte Hwy. in Mooresville. The company will continue to serve mostly professional contractors within a 20-mile radius of its new site.
Named simply “Hoke Lumber” since its inception 76 years ago, new roadside signage at the site proclaims the facility as “Hoke Building Supply,” which better reflects its broader commercial reach. Rick Hoke said, “In addition to lumber, we’ve always specialized in windows and doors and docks and decks.”
All 35 of Hoke’s employees made the move with the company, except for one worker who chose to retire. Many live in Iredell County and are excited about having more elbow room on their job stations, with less traffic to wrestle.
“Grandfather Charles Hoke founded the business in 1943, bringing the family over from Lincoln County where he operated sawmills. Charles Jr., better known simply as “Junior,” took over operations in the 1970s.
But Charlie Senior (the founder) still came to work every day except Sunday, always dressed in his usual attire—black dress pants, white shirt and a black fedora. He perched in one of two chairs that sat to the right of the front door and welcomed customers to sit and chat a spell as they entered.
Rick was born in the late early 1950s and began working for the family business at age 14. Almost all the Hoke kids were involved in the business at some point. Rick and Tammy, who co-own the business now, are the third generation, and Tammy’s son, Ryan, and daughter-in-law, Julie, are the fourth generation Hokes carrying on the legacy. Rick’s two sons are working in other fields, and not involved with the family business at this point.
Rick Hoke said that he and Tammy plan to put the old Jetton Street site up for sale at some point but have no interest in developing the land themselves.
The Hoke family members are proud of their achievement in maintaining a customer-friendly company through times when big box building supply stores like 84 Lumber and BMC have gobbled up most of the “mom and pop” companies like theirs. Though the facilities may be new, Rick Hoke promises that the focus on personal service and high-quality inventory will assure its continued success. He said, “We focus on finding the best quality material and selling it to someone who appreciates the quality. The company has been, and always will be, honest and fair.”
With a much larger display space in the showroom, a gracious amount of office space, and much more room for ease of maneuvering 18-wheel delivery trucks in the outside yard, Hoke’s will be stocking more material and unique products.
The family began considering relocating the business in 2005, but the recession quashed the initial query. When the economy began improving, they got serious again. Between the need for proper zoning and a large, flat tract of land, it was not an easy quest.
But the winds of commerce were freshening this area. The business grew rapidly as big businesses like Wachovia, Ingersol Rand, United Airlines, and NASCAR brought good paying jobs and lake-loving employees to the shores of Lake Norman. Hoke’s was ready to supply the building material they needed to settle here.
The boom has continued through the years, but Rick Hoke has mixed feelings about it. “Davidson was a wonderful place to have a business and raise our children,” he said. But the need for his business to have breathing room became too important to stay in Davidson. He misses the days when he could hear the whine of grandfather Charlie’s planer most of the way across town and spend time with friends downtown at defunct hang outs like the Hub. Even though most all of the landmarks from days of yore are gone — Cashion’s Gulf and Stowe’s Esso, Western Auto, Withers Electric, the ice plant and a couple of grocery stores — he will still miss the old Hoke Lumber on Jetton in Davidson.
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.