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Book traces Hardee's local roots

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From Contributed Reports

Sunday, January 14, 2018

It had been a topic of discussion for a number of years, but late last fall Jay and Jaime Gardner of Wade-Cary and Mike Hancock of Boddie-Noell resolved to do more than just talk.

Within a month of that conversation, the three had reached out to a nearby author about writing the history of Hardee’s.

Just a year later, “Born in Rocky Mount: Stories From the Early Days of Hardee’s” was launched at the Independent Hardee’s Franchisee Association convention in Orlando. Early response to the book has been positive, both from those who lived the early days of the company and newcomers anxious to learn how a single 15-cent hamburger unit turned into one of the nation’s largest fast food operations.

The book was written by Bethany Bradsher, a Greenville author who has written seven other books about topics as varied as the Dixie Classic basketball tournament, the Super Bowl and Caroline’s Cart, a grocery cart invented by an Alabama mom to serve special-needs children and adults. Bradsher had interviewed Jim Gardner for her 2014 biography of former Carolina Cougars head coach Bones McKinney, and that connection led to the collaboration on the Hardee’s project.

Bradsher interviewed more than 20 men and women who played some part in the early days of Hardee’s and poured through stacks of early company magazines, annual reports and other articles to put the company’s story together. She relied heavily on guidance from the Gardners and Hancock throughout the research and writing process and gathered pictures from Lewis Advertising, the Charles Killebrew Collection at the University of North Carolina and the historic collection at the Spartanburg Public Library.

“Born In Rocky Mount” is priced at $15.95 and can be purchased on Amazon.com.

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