100th anniversary celebrated – continuing a family tradition

The staff at E. E. Vaughan & Son, Inc. in Lawrenceville, Virginia wore special T-shirts in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary: first row, from left to right, Owner Charles Vaughan, Krystal Miller, Amber Jackson, Kashayla Macklin, Sarah Allen, Kay Elliott and Megan Lewis; second row, Keith Matthews, Kennedy Greene, BriAnna Alexanders, Hunter Elliott, and Everett Lynch. Jacky Zhu is not pictured. (Sylvia Allen/Brunswick Times-Gazette) See more photos and the history of the store in the Sept. 1, 2021 edition. 

Festivities planned for Sept. 10, 2021 and Sept. 11, 2021.

LAWRENCEVILLE – E. E. Vaughan & Son, Inc. located at 200 Meredith Street reached a milestone and is celebrating 100 years of serving the Town of Lawrenceville, Brunswick County and surrounding area. The founder of the business was Ernest Everette Vaughan – Sept. 9, 1889 - Nov. 22, 1948. His son was Francis Anderson Vaughan – March 17, 1923 – Aug. 13, 2003.

Charles Vaughan, the son and grandson, is very thankful for the community support over the years and expressed appreciation to his loyal customers, employees, vendors and supporters.

“We really have no big plan but I have been doing some genealogy and enjoyed learning more about my grandfather and the business,” Charles said.

According to information provided by Charles, E. E. Vaughan was the 10th of 12 children born to George Henry Vaughan and Sophia Lois Harrison Vaughan. He was a veteran of World War I. Having contracted the Spanish virus in 1918, he avoided being sent overseas since the war ended before he had recuperated. He married Lucille Virginia Anderson on July 3, 1919. Lucille moved with her family from Rockingham County, N.C. in 1914 to Dolphin, Virginia at age 16.

“The family was in search of better farmland for their tobacco crops. Many other families made the trek from North Carolina to the area during this era. E. E. Vaughan, affectionately known as ‘Dump’ Vaughan, opened a small dry goods and convenience store beside their home in Dolphin in 1921,” Charles said.

Charles said the store in Dolphin was the original store. The family added a second store in 1983 in Lawrenceville where the Tabernacle of Zion is now located and moved to the current location in 1991. They became affiliated with Ace Hardware in 1985. They became affiliated with Southern States in 2006.

Charles said it has been a good fit working with Ace Hardware.

“Ace sells hardware, lawn and garden, paint, electrical and plumbing. We are also affiliated with Southern States and the two companies are really not competitors. The two vendors work well together,” Charles said.

Charles said the company has seen great changes in agriculture over the years, especially tobacco. He remembers when there was a Southern States store in Lawrenceville and one in Alberta, a Moseley Agri-Co, another farm supply store plus E. E. Vaughan & Son. The Southern States in Lawrenceville closed around 2000. Charles also said the last dairy farm in Brunswick County recently closed, another change.

Charles said another big change has been keeping up with technology. The company bought the first computer in the mid 1980’s and he depends heavily on the younger employees when it comes to technology. He said the company has hired part time help, juniors and seniors from the local high schools, and from Southside Virginia Community College.

“Their flexible schedules work really well and I will be the first to admit that I depend heavily on them when it comes to technology. They are sharp kids. You have to update software about every 5 years. We have also had a great number of women working for us over the years. The job doesn’t require much manual labor or CDL license. They make great employees,” Charles said.

Charles said the company’s customer base is mostly local. He is now dealing with the third generation of farmers and gave an example – William Griffin, his son Sam Griffin and his son Josh Griffin.

“We deal with mostly local people. They are our core business,” Charles said.

Bettie Vaughan, his wife, said all four of their children worked in the business and they feel it gave all of them a good foundation for their current careers.

Charles said Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be Vendor Appreciation Day. They have asked vendors to provide items for gift bags. There will also be drawings for larger items. On Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 at 11 a.m. they will cut a cake to celebrate the special occasion.

“Friday will be a chance for the vendors to come and meet the people and give out some free samples. Our family will be here on Saturday. Michael Redman and Mike Hoelen will provide some music. We hope the community will come by and share this special event with us,” Charles said.

Charles said, “In hindsight much good fortune, a little luck, key individuals to help when most needed, great employees that always worked for less than they deserved and finally several generations of dedicated customers to allow E. E. Vaughan and Son, Inc. to continue to open its doors for the past century.

“E. E. Vaughan and Son, Inc. is truly a family business. Success has been challenging and much less financially rewarding than had hoped for. It has provided a lifetime of memories for my family. My mother and three siblings all were devoted to its success. Bettie and our four children have all strived to make it as successful as possible, and plan for its continued operation well into the future.”

Members of their family include Harrison Vaughan, Meredith Vaughan Sawyer, Charlotte Vaughan Crane and Sallie Vaughan. Their spouses are Danielle Vaughan, Tom Sawyer, and Adam Crane. Their grandchildren are Turner Sawyer, Brent Sawyer, Maverick Sawyer, Steed Crane, Blair Crane, Reagan Vaughan and Cora Vaughan.

The store is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is (434) 848-4124.

If you would like to share a story about E. E. Vaughan & Son, Inc., email to news@brunswicktimes-gazette.com or drop a hard copy in the slot of the front door of the Brunswick Times-Gazette office, 213 North Main Street or mail to P. O. Box 250, Lawrenceville, Virginia 23868. We will compile the notes and publish them at a later date.