Hoyt Lovell is a country boy. And Tadmore used to be a more country place.
“We used to have the country stores. And now you have the Piggly Wigglys and the things that come in,” said Lovell, owner of Lovell’s Service Center in the heart of Tadmore on Gillsville Highway in East Hall County.
Hoyt came to one small town from an even smaller one in the early 1960s.
“We come from Blairsville, Ga., up in the mountains,” he said. “Back then, Mom and Dad came down here for work. They went to work in cotton mills, from farming.”
He was a student at Tadmore Elementary School and then East Hall High School — there was no middle school then.
Eventually, he would come to own the mechanic business that he has run for 24 years.
“When the cotton mill closed down, we got into the shop business,” he said. “Me and my dad and my brother started the business.”
Lovell said he prefers the quiet life found in Tadmore.
“Lord, I hate them big cities. I’m country,” he said. “The biggest thing I do is go to horse sales on Saturday nights.”
Lovell, true to his country upbringing, said he is fond of animals.
“I own some cattle and some goats,” he said. “My brother owns five horses, and they need to be ridden more.”
Growth in the Tadmore area has made it harder to ride, though, he said.
“When the economy was good, a lot of subdivisions started popping up where there used to be farms,” he said.
“Everything’s so populated around here now, there’s no place to ride,” he added.
That doesn’t stop some, though, who ride up and down the roads on horseback.
“I’ve seen them ride to the store on horseback, but that’s dangerous,” he said.
Many of those who ride are Hispanic residents who moved into the area.
“I wish I could learn Spanish, you nearly have to know a little bit here,” he said. “I have a lot of Hispanic people come (to the shop).”
But in most ways, he said Tadmore is still the simple place it was when he moved there.
The 1950s Coke machine across from the desk in his office is a testament to that.
“As far as anything else changing, it hasn’t really changed that much around here,” he said.