Terri Hyatt, along with her husband Harrison, have owned Teddy Bear’s Video and Sun Tannery in Yanceyville for the past 29 years.
In that time, the two have watched the store transition from a video rental store, to a sun tanning establishment and finally a convenience store.
The duo have also watched their customers grow from young boys scared by the original “Jurassic Park,” to adults with children of their own.
“I remember taking my two young daughters and a couple of the boys who used to play video games in our shop and packing them into my Ford Escort and you remember how small they were. I took them down to see “Jurassic Park” and there was this one little boy who came into the store that always acted so tough, but when the movie came on, he was in my lap scared,” Hyatt said, laughing.
According to Hyatt, the young, now a full grown adult, still comes into the store with a daughter of his own.
It’s one of the many memories Hyatt and her husband have occurred over the years.
“One of our customers, one of our dear customers, her name was Mattie Gunn, she’s passed on now but when her daughter was born, the first place her mother came after the hospital was here,” Hyatt recalled, a smile forming across her face.
“We were the first ones to see Nee Nee, Mattie’s daughter when she was born and last June, she had a baby and Harrison and I got into the car and went to the hospital when her baby was born, we were the first ones to see her.”
It only makes sense the Hyatt’s have seen two, three generations of customers come through the store. The store has been in Harrison’s family going on 20 years.
Teddy Bear’s opened in February 1990 by original owners Francine and Ronald Davis from nearby Danville. Francine was Harrison’s sister and she was happy to have her brother help out at the store, which was still a video rental place.
Fifteen-years later, Francine and Ronald decided they wanted to shift their main focus to their business, Virginia Vending Service in Danville, and Francine gave her brother an opportunity to buy her out, which Harrison accepted.
Since then, the business has been theirs.
For the past 29 years, the two have owned and operated Teddy Bear’s throughout a plethora of changes.
As mentioned, it was once a video rental store but as satellite and cable TV began taking over, demand for video tapes decreased, forcing the Hyatt to switch their focus.
Soon, Teddy Bear’s would have a full menu of Hunt’s Brothers Pizza, Crispy Crunchy Chicken and beverages of the adult and non-adult variety. Not to mention a complete bill pay system, lottery tickets and sun tanning booths, which were added in 1995.
“With cable and satellite and things like that, we were forced to get away from the video rental business but we had to change with the times,” Hyatt said.
For Hyatt, one of the biggest perks of her jobs, is getting to know and serve generations of Caswell residents.
“Meeting people, mingling with people, I’m a people’s person, an extrovert,” Hyatt said, laughing. “I don’t meet strangers and I can put myself in any situation and fit in.”
Harrison always jokes with Hyatt about being nosey, but it’s her being who she is.
“I want to know who you are, I want to know what you do, how many kids you’ve got because if you’re going to be my customer and see you every day, I want to know who you are because you’re my livelihood.”
There is a perk that Harrison and Terri can share.
Terri started coming into the store around the same time Harrison started working there. Both were coming off divorces and had kids, but they met each other and became fast friends.
Terri eventually started working part-time at the store and she and Harrison’s relationship developed past friendship and into dating, before getting married.
It all started at Teddy Bear’s.
“I’m still his boss,” Terri said, laughing. “It’s awesome, though. I mean that’s the one thing I can say about the store, it gave me my husband. It brought happiness to my life. It gets a little crazy sometimes, being around each other all the time, but we’re good together, though.”