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Padgett NC - Client of the Month - May 2016 -

The North Carolina Hammock Company has been in business more than 25 years. But from the beginning, owner Leonard Wagner, has kept up with the times. This month, local Raleigh business owner, Leonard Wagner, reveals his secrets of long-lasting small business success.

A Peaceful, Easy Feeling

Padgett NC - Client of the Month - May 2016 -

Easy-going, relaxing, enjoyable. That’s how Leonard Wagner describes the hammocks, swings, rockers, and outdoor furniture North Carolina Hammock Company sells. But it’s an equally-fitting description of Leonard himself, who spends much of his time in his own rocking chair on the porch of his farm in Efland. “You can’t own the whole world,” says Leonard. “But you can own your little piece.”

He still remembers playing with the cash register of his parents’ Durham textile store as a child. Entrepreneurship is in his blood. His parents learned from Leonard’s grandfather, who owned an army surplus store. Leonard says watching the ups and downs his family went through in business gave him the head start he needed. He has always been a business owner, or as he likes to say, he has never had a job in his life.

N.C. Hammock is Born

Padgett NC - Client of the Month - May 2016 -

Leonard started out making furniture and even receiving patents on few inventions before deciding he had a natural ability for sales. He wanted to draw on his years of experience in the furniture industry. But he also wanted to sell a product that matched his fun, laid-back personality. In 1990, North Carolina Hammock Company was born.

He named his store NC Hammock, not just because his business is based in North Carolina, but because 95% of his inventory is made right here in-state. Leonard says this is not only a good call for the local economy, but for the quality of his product. “I stand behind the products I sell, so I only work with companies that do the same.” Although he only works with a few, select manufacturers, he still provides a wide variety of products. Many are eco-friendly, including a durable, no-maintenance line of furniture made from recycled milk cartons.

Doing Things Differently

Padgett NC - Client of the Month - May 2016 -

Leonard also made another big decision with NC Hammock. He had owned brick and mortar retail stores, managed staff, and spent countless dollars on overhead costs for years. This time, his retail storefront would be a booth at the Raleigh Flea Market. “In retail, if you don’t have traffic, you don’t have business,” he says. Thousands of people walk by his booth in a weekend. Combined with word-of-mouth from satisfied customers, Leonard doesn’t have to worry about big advertising expenses like most businesses.

Leonard also attributes much of his success to being an early adopter of e-commerce. He has been selling online at for more than a decade. “It’s one of the best things to happen to retail,” says Leonard. While he has been very successful with his online store, he says he still would not give up his Flea Market booth. “They work better together,” he says. “It helps legitimize my website. You need to have a place where people can come and meet you and see and touch the products.”

Continuing a Legacy

Padgett NC - Client of the Month - May 2016 -

This is advice his daughter, Meghan Wagner, is taking to heart. Meghan is keeping the family tradition of entrepreneurship alive with her successful store, The Go Girl Shoppe. Meghan also has a booth every weekend at the Raleigh Flea Market, along with an online store and booming social media presence. “I’m lucky to have my dad as a role model,” says Meghan. “I definitely ask his opinion on everything.”

Leonard says he gives his daughter the same advice he would give any aspiring business owner: don’t be afraid to fail. “You will make mistakes. You will lose money. You won’t always have a steady paycheck. There’s never a guarantee,” says Leonard. “But if you really, really want it, stay on it. I’m glad I did.”

Padgett’s 3 Wise Questions

    1. If you could bake a success pie, what would the ingredients be?

“The three C’s: confidence, consistency, cash flow.”

    1. If you could go back in time to the beginning, would you do anything differently?

“I wouldn’t change a thing. You need the failures to learn how to succeed.”

    1. If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

“I would love to have lunch with my parents. They’ve been gone a while and I would love to see them again. I’d love for them to see what I’ve accomplished in my life.”

The North Carolina Hammock Company
Open Weekends 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. at the State Fairgrounds:
1025 Blue Ridge Road
 Raleigh, NC 27607
(800) 520-9663

The Go Girl Shoppe
Open Weekends 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. at the State Fairgrounds:
1025 Blue Ridge Road
 Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 998-0056