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Highway 64 Keeps Wendell Booming

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WENDELL — Walking through downtown Wendell is like walking through the mythicalhometown of Mayberry. Mayberry did not have any big discount chain stores,just local family owned businesses. In Wendell, many of those businesseshave stayed in the family for several generations.

"Wendell, like most small towns in North Carolina was originally foundedon the railroad," said Larry Perry, store owner.

Wendell grew with the railroad and Interstate 64 helped keep it alive.Downtown business owners said the best part about the highway is thatit's two and half miles away.

On Wendell's streets there are none of the big name chain stores of mostinterstate towns, just the same old names people have known for years andyears.

R.B. Whitley built several businesses and sold them to local families whostill run them today. Perry's hardware store was one of those.

Perry's dad bought Whitley's General Merchandise 38 years ago. Perry'sHardware has changed with the times, but much is still the same.

"Each of the men that come in and they like their own individual chair,none of the chair's where we're setting at are matching sets," said Perry.

Some days, folks will actually buy something.

"Quite frankly, I prefer to shop where people know me by my first name,"said Marshburn.

The Perry's know Wendell is growing so they depend on old-fashioned advertising.

That's how most businesses run in downtown Wendell, by word of mouth.And also, just by being in the right place and staying there.

Downtown Wendell does have a few new kids on the block. A computer software company calls Main Street home and a few new restaurants keep downtownpatrons well fed.