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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sidney Leneer Pete Underdown, June 18, 2000. Interview I-0091. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Hickory Springs prospers thanks to Parks Underdown and several managers

The Hickory Springs Company succeeded to the present day because it operated as a corporation rather than depending on the leadership of one man, namely Parks Underdown. It benefited from his ideas but did not close down like the other businesses when circumstances were bad.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sidney Leneer Pete Underdown, June 18, 2000. Interview I-0091. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

KATHLEEN KEARNS:
Can I ask you one more Hickory Springs question and then we'll stop. Why do you think that Hickory Springs managed to survive and grow the way it has when all of Parks's other businesses-or most of them-went under in one way or another? What was the difference?
PETE UNDERDOWN:
Well, of course I don't like to say that anything great happened while I was here, but it was a start, because it was about gone too. And we just decided that we didn't have to depend on any one person, that we could operate as a corporation and got it incorporated. And I think that was the start of it. And as I say, Parks was a visionary. He went out and found things to make. He wound up with this foam deal somehow. I don't know how he got it, but he got it. And that was a big boom to him. That put him right in the lead of where he was. And then Bob Bush and Neil have done a wonderful job with the rest of it. And I think maybe if it hadn't been for Bob and Neil it might have gone under at one time. But Bob was kind of a salesman like Parks was. He could sell you almost anything. And Parks could do that. Now he could sell you most anything that you ever heard of.
KATHLEEN KEARNS:
So none of those other businesses were incorporated?
PETE UNDERDOWN:
Oh, no. They were just worked out of your back pocket.
KATHLEEN KEARNS:
So that was really crucial.
PETE UNDERDOWN:
Newton Furniture is an example of that thing. When business got bad, everybody wanted to back out. And Earl Newton got a chance to sell his part of the building to Hickory Springs. He was glad to do it.
KATHLEEN KEARNS:
This was what became Brookford?
PETE UNDERDOWN:
Brookford.