Chimney Corner Lawnmower, Inc., with stores at Hudgins and White Marsh, is celebrating its 50th year in business this month.
Founder Frank Crittenden said he and partner Bobby Diggs are offering specials on products throughout April in recognition of the special day. Crittenden began the business on a part-time basis on April 1, 1961 to supplement his income from teaching at Mathews High School.
Crittenden ran the business alone for a time, first operating from a building in Mathews that once housed a Pontiac dealership, then relocated to a shop on Route 223.
The present Mathews store, located on Buckley Hall Road at Hudgins, opened in 1976. That was the same year that Crittenden picked up a partner, Bobby Diggs of Hudgins, who had worked a number of years at Newport News Shipbuilding and had been a student of Crittenden at MHS years before.
The business added products, services and staff through the years, Crittenden said, and they opened a sister store on Route 17, White Marsh, in 1996.
When he first opened the business, Crittenden recalled there were few riding lawnmowers and no tools such as string trimmers or leaf blowers. He sold a lot of manual lawnmowers in the early years.