Press "Enter" to skip to content

Hams celebrate 50 years in business

By Kay S. Pedrotti Bill Ham has kept, since 1963, an invoice for the very first sale in his NAPA Auto Parts store in Barnesville. It was displayed last week at a celebration of 50 years in business for Bill, his wife Frieda, and son William. The invoice is signed by the late Bill Jordan, who was working at the time for McKoy Service Station. It’s for a 25-cent oil plug. ‘We won’t see those kind of prices again,’ Bill said at the open house. About 200 people visited the couple, viewed the tool and equipment sale displays and collected door prizes including a 50-inch television set. Ham opened his first store after a proposed offer to buy another Barnesville auto parts store fell through when the owner changed his mind. ’Dad wanted to open a parts store in his home town of Forsyth,’ said William. ‘The existing Barnesville store looked like a good deal and at that time the town was a bigger market than Forsyth. When the owner called off the deal, Dad found a building belonging to the late B.F. Moore, where the present Barnesville-Lamar County fire station is. He rented it and started from scratch. ’Opening the store that way was one reason why he went with NAPA, a company in business since 1925 with an inventory and classification system, recommended stock and other advantages.’ Bill and Frieda met and married in Pembroke, just outside Savannah, where Bill was employed at his uncle’s Chevrolet dealership after a tour in the U.S. Navy. William, who now manages the five stores started by Bill and Frieda, and his two sisters were born in Savannah. The couple have two daughters, Emily Conger and Melissa Sellers. The other Ham NAPA stores and their opening years are Roberta, 1981; Forsyth, 1983; Jackson, 2001, and Griffin, 2008. The local store moved to its present location on College Drive in 1977; William took over management when Bill was seriously ill in 2010. ’Things are different now,’ William noted. ’When Dad’s store opened in 1963 the counter was about six feet from the door and the stock arrived by bus.’ As time went on, the counter was moved back time after time to make room for retail displays and truck delivery was initiated. ’I worked around the store when I was growing up. I can remember when Dad would tell Mom to take me home because I wanted to rearrange the parts on the shelves ‘“ he couldn’t have that. After college I worked in engineering for a while then joined in with the parts business in 1988. Our stores employ about 35 people in the area. It’s been a great time for all of us.’

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by - Copyright 2021