Like most flourishing family businesses, Hubbard Pipe and Supply, Inc. began with a love story…or two.
Sponsored by Hubbard Pipe and Supply Company.
When Nancy Teachey isn’t on Topsail Island, she’s day-dreaming about it.
Teachey is the daughter of Bonner and Dot Hubbard, founders of Hubbard Pipe and Supply Company in Fayetteville, NC. Nancy, her husband, Wilson (Hubbard president), and her brother David, represent the second generation at Hubbard, now with over 70 employees and four locations.
And, it all started right here. Well, sort of. Nancy and Wilson met when they were 16, on the beach at Topsail Island, NC. Wilson, born and raised near Raleigh, spent his summers waiting tables at the Beach Shop and Grill. Nancy and her family vacationed there every year.
“After I met Nancy, my job at the Grill suddenly became more important,” Wilson said, with an audible smile.
And, after two summers of friendship and nearly a hundred beach walks later, he would muster the courage to ask her out.
“There are so many memories,” Nancy said. “Still, to this day, when we cross over that bridge, they all just come rushing back, like it’s happening right in front of me.”
And, some of it actually still is. Topsail Island, known as the “Mayberry by the Sea”, hasn’t really changed all that much. And, that’s what Nancy loves about it. Godwin’s grocery store is the same as it ever was – no air conditioning, original floors.
The patio playground. The Beach Shoppe. They’re all still there.
This is the place Nancy and Wilson promised each other they’d come back to permanently one day. The place they played together, fished together, and brought their own family to every year.
Good Things Grow
So, needless to say, when the opportunity to expand their business to Wilmington was suddenly on the table, they jumped on it.
When Hubbard came to Wilmington in 2013, the real estate market was shooting through the black. Hubbard’s developers suddenly had an office in Wilmington, and the exact warehouse location they needed had sort of fallen into their lap.
It had always been like this for them, Nancy said. The more doors she and Wilson walked through together, the more doors would open.
And, the love story that preceded theirs likely had something to do with that.
One Love Story Leads to Another
“My mom was my dad’s rock,” said Nancy. “She was his support system. And, that’s what I try to be for Wilson.”
In Hubbard’s humble beginnings in 1972, it was just the two of them. Bonner, at the front, and Dot keeping the books and ordering behind the scenes.
From the outset, Hubbard’s customers were fond of saying that “if Hubbard didn’t have it, you couldn’t find it” – an attribute that naturally lead to expansion.
“He was customer-centric,” said Wilson. “If there was something new on the market, he’d have it in the store before anybody could come looking for it.”
But, in 2002, things changed suddenly. When Dot Hubbard passed away at the young age of 62, Bonner followed two months later, at the age of 64, when he died suddenly of a massive heart attack.
“They say he died of a broken heart,” says Nancy.
The loss of both parents was tremendous.
But, Nancy, Wilson, and David immediately picked up the reigns, committing to honor her parents’ legacy by pouring the same love and dedication that Hubbard had for the business, and the love that he and Dot had for each other, back into it three-fold.
Expanding to Wilmington was part of that dedication. Hubbard Pipe and Supply, Inc. arrived to meet the demand infused by a vibrant real estate market.
If Hubbard doesn’t have it, you can’t find it.
Accordingly, Hubbard has moved beyond plumbing and irrigation supplies, and into lighting, kitchen, and bathroom fixtures and accessories.
Living the Legacy
When designing the Wilmington show room, Nancy, a hobby interior and graphic designer, did what her father would do – support businesses like their own.
“We used all local, family-owned businesses when we opened our warehouse and showroom in Wilmington,” said Nancy.
Service and reciprocation, Wilson said, were two of the many principles that Bonner Hubbard instilled in him.
“He was fond of saying, ‘always support the community, that supports you’, and that’s what we do,” he said. “Every chance we get.”
Cue “Hubbard Serves”
In Wilmington, a young staff and some of their more seasoned counterparts, account for most of the sub-flooring crew at the Wilmington Habitat for Humanity. Hubbard is a member of the Wilmington Home Builders Association and consults when necessary.
Hubbard Supply is still expanding. And, the young Teachey family is growing up. Nancy and Wilson’s oldest son, Will, a senior in high school, is considering engineering at NC State. Mary Grace, 15, plans to pursue a design degree, and MacMillan, the youngest, wants to be a forklift driver. So, they’ve got their bases covered.
“Of course, we’d welcome it if they wanted to be a part of the business,” said Nancy. “But, time will tell. Whatever they decide, we want them to do what they love.”
For now, Nancy says, she loves this – time with her family making the memories she was so fortunate to grow up with; mornings on the porch at their house in Topsail Island, drinking coffee with Wilson; helping the family business flourish and grow into something her parents would be proud of; and telling fish stories, often bigger than her husband’s.