Hugh Hardy bought Carroll’s Sausage Co. about a decade ago and has been doing well for himself at the home-based store in Sycamore and locations in Albany on Philema Road and Sylvester on U.S. 82.
Hardy, however, is getting ready to take a huge step in growing the small business.
Not long ago, Hardy obtained a former industrial building in Ashburn along Interstate highway 75 between Shoney’s and the widely known “Peanut” statue on the west side of the expressway.
He’ll break ground at 11 a.m. Thursday on renovating and expanding that space to provide more than 20,000 square feet for a unique “country shopping mall.”
The key feature of the business will remain the Carroll meats sold from the butcher shop.
The store will include other country foods.
He plans to add a produce patch and garden down the road and feature farm tractor and trailer rides through the garden for those travelers along 75 who rarely, if ever, are exposed to life on the farm.
The shop also will feature Georgia’s best known farm commodity — peanuts. There will be a stand selling boiled and parched peanuts, Hardy said.
Hardy, who got his start in the meat business by working at a grocery store when he was 16, said Carroll’s was started in 1988. He bought the business in 2001 from Thomas and Ann Carroll.
Hardy says he plans to be ready to open around April and will have a projected staff of 30 employees. “I’m looking to employ 50 before it’s all over,” Hardy said.
He’s expecting the visibility from I-75 to be a major factor in growing the business.
He’s also expecting a big crowd of locals for the Thursday ceremony. The enticement, all you can eat sausage dogs.
HOUSING: Foreclosure rates have inched up slightly in Albany during the past 90 days.
However, the generally stable local housing market remains in better shape than the state and national averages.
The foreclosure rate in Albany for September was 1.73 percent, up slightly from 1.42 the previous September. Still, the rate is below the state average of 2.65 percent and national average of 3.48 percent.
The number of housing loans in Albany that are 90 or more days delinquent is 5.48 percent. Again, this local rate is better than the Georgia rate of 7.90 percent and the national rate of 7.17 percent.