We Remember... HJ Hubbard
April 17, 1924 - September 1, 2006
As I sit in my office remembering and composing this message to you, our friends, I am in my old bedroom; the one I shared with my twin sisters; the one adjacent to the living room where my parents slept on a pull-out sofa for four years after my brother was born. After growing up in the depression and serving during WWII and the Korean conflict, starting life was not easy for my father and many others of his generation.
You've heard Dot's story through the years, but Hubbard Peanut Company would not have been the success it has become without HJ's story of hard work and entrepreneurial vision. With four children to help feed and educate, his day didn't end at 5:00 P.M. when he left his full-time position as a manager at Union Camp. He was integrally involved in every aspect of business at Hubbard Peanut Company from developing and designing packaging to planning and overseeing every building or equipment expansion. With help from local machinists, he worked tirelessly after hours to invent equipment that would allow Dot to cook peanuts in a more efficient, less strenuous manner while maintaining the Hubs quality. Early on, "Hub" was the key delivery man, dropping off small packets of peanuts that carried his nickname everywhere he went. His typing skills were unmatched and for many years, it was HJ who sent out the order forms and invoices that followed. Vacation time was time to paint the house or take care of repairs. Santa Claus put up the Christmas tree after the last peanuts had been shipped for the season and we children had gone to bed late Christmas Eve. We remember... oh, how we remember.
As he began to fail due to insidious disease, the things that had always been important were never compromised. Our dad was a meticulous man with strong ethics. Strict attention to detail, cleanliness, organization, and perseverance were lessons he taught well and lessons that have carried through to all with whom he worked closely. Yes, we remember, HJ Hubbard, a man of integrity, strong spirit, and goodness.
Whether you are a new customer to Hubbard Peanut Company or a long-time friend, your business is very valuable to us. What Hubbard Peanut Company has become today is the result of the efforts of many . . . including our wonderful dad. Thank you for being a part of our story . . . and thank you for choosing Hubs.
The Hubbard Family - Lynne, Sandra, Terri, and Harvey
Fifty Years and Counting... Our Blessings
(From our Fall 2004 Catalog)
We can't pinpoint the day that Dot Hubbard sold her first peanuts to the drugstore on Main Street in Franklin, but we know the year was 1954. With one baby at home and twins on the way, she knew she wasn't going back to Franklin Elementary School to teach. Dot began cooking peanuts in her limited amount of spare time and HJ delivered them to anyone in town who would pay $.10 for a one ounce black striped clear bag of Hub's Home Cooked Salted Peanuts....a dozen or so cello bags in a little white plastic basket! Soon those bags were all over town... even though HJ was chided about charging twice as much as the widely known, but significantly different, Planters brand that were cooked next door in Suffolk. Many local businesses kept Dot's little kitchen style deep fat fryer busy.
They were still a one car family when Dot could no longer skin enough peanuts and cook them by herself to meet demand. HJ began to catch rides to his accounting job at the mill each morning, carrying brown bags full of peanuts to deliver along the way. It was then that Dot loaded the girls into the car....always after Captain Kangaroo was on television... and drove around the village of Sedley, picking up tubs of peanuts that friends and neighbors skinned. She would carry them home, cook and then package them, hoping the little ones would nap each afternoon while she worked.
Eight years and a son born in the meantime, Dot and HJ moved, but only a mile away. The family, as well as the business, had expanded to the point that both outgrew the original five room house that had been home. Nights, holidays, and weekends were devoted to managing a business without benefit of computers or fancy equipment.
HJ stayed busy in his spare time with many construction projects, some small, but others quite large. He set out to invent a continuous cooker with help from a few "local engineers". Night after night they toiled to design "a machine" that would cook more than 60 or 70 lbs an hour so that Dot could keep up with the growing volume of orders. Through sheer perseverance the band of nightly visitors to the Hubbard home succeeded in designing equipment that allowed Dot to cook more peanuts, but maintain the quality that customers were expecting from Hubs.
Through the years, Dot and HJ's five room home was transformed. Today's executive offices were once the dining room, living room, and bedrooms; warehouses and kitchens were once play-ground and pasture land.
In 1954, most televisions were black and white, a car could be purchased for less than $2,000.00, and telephones in Sedley were on "party lines". Most typewriters were manual rather than electric, computers were only a dream and so was man in space. Stamps were $.03, and minimum wage was less than $1.00 per hour.
Success can be defined in many ways, but the little business that Dot and HJ began 50 years ago when they returned to Sedley far surpassed their dream of simply providing well for a family of six. They started a business that set a standard and they did it without a prototype for how it could be done. The learning curve was steep, and they walked before they ran, but Dot and HJ made it....with help and support from many, many people in Franklin and Southampton County. They were survivors and today the little business is celebrating 50 years of life in Sedley. Still owned by the four children, Hubbard Peanut Company is moving into the next 50 years armed with tradition, spirit, and the desire to provide well for its new family of friends, customers, employees, vendors, suppliers, share holders, and the community.
Thanks to all! We count you as part of our blessings.