Samples a staple in city for decades

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015

WORKING HARD: Gerry Samples checks the serial number of an Exmark lawnmower for a customer. Photo by Ashley Collins.

WORKING HARD: Gerry Samples checks the serial number of an Exmark lawnmower for an interested customer. Photo by Ashley Collins.


For the past 40 years, the Samples have owned and operated Samples Western Auto in Picayune.

In 1972, Kenneth and Gerry Samples purchased the store from H.M. Schrock. The husband-and-wife duo grew up in Picayune and always dreamed of becoming involved in the city’s business industry.

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“We knew the former owner personally. After we heard he was looking for a buyer, we pursued it and have owned the store ever since,” Gerry said.

Over the years, Kenneth served as the main manager at the store while Gerry assisted but spent most of her time raising their four children.

As their business flourished, the Samples’ contributed time and money to local schools in the areas of Pearl River and Hancock Counties.

Kenneth was instrumental in starting the Football Touchdown Club while Gerry helped create the Pride of Tide Dance Team at Picayune Memorial High School.

When her husband got sick in 2009, Gerry took over the business. Since then, the former school teacher has been running the business full-time and dedicates herself to providing the best customer service.

“We see third and fourth generations of customers walk in here. It’s very heartwarming when you’ve been a part of their family and they keep coming back here,” Gerry said.

The store currently sells lawn and gardening equipment, car tires and batteries and home appliances, including washers and dryers. They used to have an auto shop but with the decline of Western Auto, they were forced to cutback on automobile repair services.

Gerry said she’s proud to be part of the community and credits

their businesses’ success to her husband’s work ethic.

“Our children definitely inherited their father’s work ethic and my drive,” Gerry said.

In the future, she hopes one of her children will take over the family business. Whatever happens, Gerry doesn’t see them closing the store in the future.

Recently, the Samples’ received a sales award plaque from Exmark for being one of the top Exmark lawnmower dealers in the six-state region. Gerry said their store has received the award several times.

Western Auto is located at 301 W. Canal St.

The store is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information, call store staff at (601) 798-6224.