All small businesses have to change with the times.
No one knows that better than Helen McLean and her family. Helen, her son Al, and her daughter Louise, run Hope Mills Saw and Mower, one of the oldest businesses in town.
Started in 1966 by Jimmy McLean and John Henley, Sr., the business was originally known as Hope Mills Tire Sales and Service.
It evolved through the years, becoming a small engine repair and parts business that employs thirteen employees. Helen McLean says there would be no business without her family’s involvement. Al is the manager, Louise is the bookkeeper and their family’s involvement now also includes a grand-daughter who works there full time.
Al McLean, who has worked around the shop since he was 10 years old, said they often have to turn business away. “We get so much work sometimes, we just can’t get it done in a timely manner,” he said. “People sometimes need their lawn mowers back quicker than we can repair them.”
On a summer day, it is not unusual for the business to have 500 customers, not counting the phone calls. It is a busy place with people dropping off equipment and buying new merchandise and parts.
Helen McLean said her husband Jim had the original vision for the store.
“He saw this and he knew it was something that the community needed,” she said, lamenting his death several years ago. “I wish he was here to see it now.”
The business has thousands of customers including the City of Fayetteville, PWC, Raeford and Ft. Bragg.
“The Town of Hope Mills has been good to us,” said Helen. “We are so grateful to all our customers and we are proud to be part of the business community here. Jimmy was born and raised here. He loved this town.”