Marshall man retires at 95 after decades of running businesses in town | Business
When Felton Hopkins started his first business in June 1953, he only had $ 2,000 of borrowed money and a plan. Earlier this month, Hopkins retired at age 95, celebrating a long life of commercial success in the Marshall community.
Hopkins said he was 23 and worked at a grocery store in Marshall when approached by the original owner of the grocery store located at 2800 Karnack Highway in town.
“He came up to me and said, ‘Felton, I’m getting ready to retire from this store, and I want you to buy it’, and that’s how it started,” a- he declared.
After an initial attempt to borrow the $ 1,000 down payment for the store from a local bank failed, Hopkins said he ended up asking his uncle, Owen Hopkins, to borrow money. ‘money.
“We went to the bank, and his hand was shaking so much he almost couldn’t sign the check,” Hopkins said, “And I said to him, Uncle Owen don’t do that if it’s not something. that you want had already decided to lend me the money.
After he managed to acquire his uncle’s $ 1,000 and use the money to secure an additional $ 1,000 loan from the bank, Hopkins said he bought the storefront. Although his business has changed over the years, Hopkins has never left his original location.
“The grocery business was booming at the time,” he said, “I paid off those two loans in 12 months.”
From there, his grocery store expanded, with his three sons, Bruin, Rusty and Tom, his daughter Linda, as well as his wife Mary who all took turns working in the store over the years.
“The success of my life is in my family, they put so much work into this place that they would be mad at me if I didn’t give them the credit they deserve,” Hopkins said.
In fact, the business was so successful that Hopkins said he was able to expand the storefront over the years. Until one day in 1975, Hopkins claimed to have bought two cars, closed the grocery store, and placed a small sign outside saying “Hopkins Auto Sales”.
“I spent 46 years in the automotive business and have probably sold at least 10,000 cars,” he said.
His passion for cars, however, began long before the birth of Hopkins Auto Sales, it dates back to when Hopkins was growing up in Marshall during the Great Depression.
“I remember I was barefoot, because I really didn’t have any shoes on back then, and I was running down the street because there was the teacher from the local school, and he had a Model T, that was my first time seeing a car, “said Hopkins,” I remember thinking, if he can have a car, I can too! Then I ended up with more cars than I didn’t know what to do. ”
Hopkins said he had officially “retired” to work full time at his ranch, where he now lives with his daughter Linda.
“I didn’t want to retire! I never want to slow down, people who slow down that’s how they die, ”he said.
Not intending to slow down anytime soon, Hopkins said he plans to enjoy his time in East Texas, enjoying his home in his favorite part of the world.
“I love Marshall and I love Harrison County, this has always been my home,” said Hopkins, “Many thanks to Marshall, to my clients who have become my friends over the years, and for all the support that you brought to me. gave to me. “