First opened in 1958 by Sam and Anna Hudson in the Garner, NC area, Hudson's Hardware & Grocery strived to provide their local community with a reliable 2-in-1 grocery and hardware store to fit their needs. Fast forward to 1985 when their son Leigh, with his wife Pug, opened a second location in Clayton, NC., and took over the business. Today, in order to differentiate themselves from big box chain retailers, Hudson's Hardware & Outdoor Equipment is known as a four-in-one full-service hardware store, full-service outdoor power equipment center (sales and service), farm animal feed and health pet store, and lawn and garden with a retail nursery.
Over its six decades in business, they've grown significantly due to their belief in the importance of product knowledge, a competitive price, and legendary customer service and that each of those is equally important to ensure the best value in goods and services for their customers. By listening to their customers Hudson’s provides a wide variety of products and services that typically are not available in most of the big box hardware retailers while serving both the general consumer and commercial businesses and contractors.
When asked about why Leigh believes you should shop local and not at a chain retailer, he said, "By shopping local, you must remember that 60% of profits remain in the community, and we donate a portion of that profit to any local cause within a 10-mile radius to support the local community, we feel it’s important for who we are and the community we live in".
Leigh will be retiring from daily activities in June and handing off store operations management to his grandson, Stone Gulley. Both Leigh and Stone are active members of their local Rotary clubs for a combined total of 40 years. Stone currently serves as president of the Garner Rotary Club and Leigh has served in many leadership roles over his 40 years of Rotary service in the Clayton Rotary Club and beyond. Rotary clubs are members of the larger Rotary International which supports over 36,000 autonomous clubs that provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance worldwide goodwill, understanding, and peace through fellowship of businesses, professionals, and community leaders. Leigh said, "We believe in being active in the community and giving back to the local community, so by supporting Hudson's Hardware & Outdoor Equipment you’re also supporting the local community".
Each Rotary Club chooses their own causes to support, and the Clayton Rotary Club supports Rotary International’s number one goal to eradicate Polio worldwide along with members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which works to eradicate Polio from all countries around the world through vaccination of children. Eradication would mean that there are no new cases of Polio in any country around the world for a period of three years. and the Clayton Rotary Club and Rotary International work hard to ensure that Polio is eradicated. Rotary International granted $600,000 for a successful Philippine eradication effort in 1979, followed by an international initiative in 1985 to vaccinate all of the world’s children between the ages of 1 to 5. So far in 2023, there is only one known case of the wild poliovirus in remote Pakistan versus 350,000 cases per year in 1985. When Leigh opened his second store in Clayton, NC, they were tasked by Rotary International to raise $6,000, but instead they raised almost three times that amount.
In 2013, Leigh served as district governor to assist the 46 clubs in the Raleigh-Durham area of central NC. Since getting involved as the district Governor, Leigh was able to work with a local artist to create a painting of a typical Rotary club meeting and sold framed prints that raised over $30,000 for the Polio eradication movement.
Since getting involved with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, they've raised $2.1 billion for the cause, and vaccinated over 3 billion children in 122 countries all around the world. They work closely with the CDC, UNICEF, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the WHO, and believe that everyone plays a part to eliminate the disease from the world.
As an independent business owner, it's clear that Leigh cares about much more than just his bottom line, as he works tirelessly to serve not only his customers and community but as the driving force behind the Clayton Rotary Club's efforts to end Polio around the world. Due to his hard work, in 2021, Leigh Hudson was awarded one of Rotary International's highest honors, the Service Above Self Award, which is given to only 150 of the 1.2 million members each year. Leigh has always gone above and beyond not only in his business, stocking over 25,000 unique items and offering a wide variety of services, but has also done his civic duty for his local community and the world. in working with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. To learn more about the Global Polio Eradication Initiative click here, or to learn more about Hudson’s Hardware & Outdoor Equipment click here.