Customer Testimonial

Lazy 5 Ranch

Local entrepreneur driven by a passion for animal care and education.

When your passion becomes your business, exceptional things can happen. That’s the case with Henry Hampton, owner and CEO of Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, North Carolina, and The Farm at Walnut Creek in Ohio. His two farms may be the only two places in the world where you can get on a horse-drawn wagon and feed exotic animals.

Lazy 5 Ranch encompasses about 700 acres of land and is home to over 120 species and breed of animal—many rare or endangered—including giraffe, zebra, camel, African antelope, cattle, deer, horse, sheep, and goat. Their current inventory includes about 5,000 head of livestock.

A Family Business

The purpose of the farm is to give people an opportunity to interact with animals and learn about them in a natural setting. Henry’s father was a vocational agriculture teacher who mentored many young men and women in the livestock business. Henry learned a great deal at an early age, guided by his father’s teachings and hands-on lessons gleaned from growing up on a farm with a family that produced and showed livestock.

Cash Is King

While Henry knew all about running a farm, designing park infrastructure, and handling and transporting animals, building a business around it required a whole different set of skills. On the path to entrepreneurial success, he’s learned some valuable lessons especially related to financing.

“We had zero cash,” Henry said. “And you try to take a giraffe to the bank and borrow money, that is not going to work. So we started very small, three wagons with myself and two daughters as the drivers, and we built from there.”

Finding The Right Partner

With zero cash at the start, Henry has relied greatly on the support of Peoples Bank who supported his vision and guided him along the way.

“The staff has been excited to make things work for us,” Henry said. “They've been more understanding with what we need as far as financing goes, and as we build, they've been accommodating to construction delays. They've been easy to work with as far as deposits and change and things like that too.”

Henry says he has worked with plenty of other banks that didn’t put the time and effort into understanding his business needs or what made his business distinctive.

“Peoples Bank, on the other hand, has shown that they think about what we need, not just what they want or need,” Henry said. “They take into consideration, for instance, cash flow. It’s seasonal to a point, so whenever they're working with us and working on the possibilities, they consider that. And with our construction loans, sometimes they are weather driven, and so there’s valleys and mountains in cash flow and they take those things into consideration.”

During the winter months, when the farm grows quiet of visitors, they get by on lines of credit.

Challenges aside, Henry’s business continues to grow, little by little, piece by piece.

“Every penny that's ever been made here went back into it,” he said. That's what we're building. It's just built on itself.”

Another positive to working with Peoples Bank: The local bank understands the history of Henry’s business, what they do, how it works, and the impact of the business on the community.

Giving Back

Over the years, many school groups, children with disabilities, families, and employees have spent a good amount of time on Henry’s farm working with the animals. They speak of the experience as educational, even therapeutic. Sometimes life-changing. Visitors often tell Henry they’ve never imagined anything like it. Says Henry: “We feel like we are lucky in that we're able to give back to the community and to people.”