Homegrown Hammond: Sally Stevens Carlisle
How long has your family lived in Hammond?
I am a lifelong resident of Hammond. My grandparents opened a business here in the 1940’s selling crates to Strawberry Farmers and raised their “Cross” family here. My Mama raised her family here and now Rob and I are raising our family here. So, our family history goes way back. I grew up around Southeastern and live on one of the same streets that me, my mom, and my grandparents all lived on at one point. Rob and I were very fortunate to build on property that I would swing from in those trees as a kid.
Where did you go to high school and year of graduation?
I went to St. Thomas Aquinas, class of 1993. We were the 4th graduating class for St. Thomas, back when STA didn’t have a football team…so we cheered for basketball and soccer games for Homecoming.
Where did you go to college and year of graduation?
I went away to school for a year, then came back and worked. As I moved up the ladder at what was then, Bellsouth Mobility, I knew I had to get a college degree to advance in management. I went to Southeastern and graduated in 2002. I was a “non-traditional” student while working. I guess I am a good example of setting a goal and completing it…even though later than I had expected! Even now, our family treats Southeastern as our playground. We walk to baseball and football games. Friends and family gather on the campus to tailgate and park in our driveway. SLU is pretty special to us.
How did you start your business? Family owned?
I partnered with, Robby Scates, someone who had the same philosophy about business and family. He and I both worked in Insurance for a corporate agency and worked together for many years. My step-dad is the former LA Insurance Commissioner, and he encouraged us to become Independent Agents. Robby’s father-in-law is a lifelong resident and business owner here and also encouraged us. Josh Golding, also a Hammond native, works for Hartwig Moss Insurance in New Orleans and they came to the table to be a partner in our business, they have been a family owned business for 150 years and 5 generations. So, along with Robby and I, we all believe in family values in business. With our strong roots in Hammond and Ponchatoula, we thought the puzzle pieces all fit together when we formed Berryland Insurance.
Funny story on the side, Rob (Carlisle) and I own the building where our business is on Cypress Street. In college, Robby Scates lived in the apartment on the backside of our building and that’s how we all met. So, needless to say, over the last 15 years, our roots brought us back to where it all began.
What is your favorite thing to do in Downtown Hammond?
We love eating, shopping, and walking throughout Downtown Hammond. There are not many places in the United States that still have a beautiful downtown where you can walk everywhere and enjoy all the amenities Hammond has to offer. We love the Farmers Market and the Columbia Theatre. Hammond is so quaint and charming.
Where do you like to spend your time Downtown?
We frequent all the downtown businesses. I can’t say which ones are my favorite because they are all so great and have such a special niche here. Everyday, we walk to lunch and try all the many options we have for such great service, dining and drinks.
What is your favorite memory of Hammond?
I remember literally growing up in the Radio Station while my mom worked there. I worked there in High School and then I would babysit for the Chauvin, Durham and Wong Children – Now they are all successful business owners following in their parents footsteps. After graduating from SLU, I worked at the Radio Station and lived at the Morgan and Lindsay Apartments. As a kid, I remember getting my teddy bear “Scarlet O’Beara” from the Camel’s Hump – a décor store - which is now the Red, White, and Brew. I remember getting my first paid of “Keds” from Imperial Shoe Store. I also remember growing up at the Crescent – because back then, it was cool to bring your kids in there (um – hmm – only during the day though), right?
What are you most excited about in Hammond?
Hammond is thriving! It is a true pearl in an oyster. The charm of this beautiful City is felt by all who enter it. I have been fortunate to work or visit other communities and no one has what we have here. I value being a part of our Greater Hammond Chamber and our Downtown Development District. They are so supportive and love seeing people be successful in business in our very own community and enjoying the culture.
Why have you stayed in Hammond all this time?
It’s a dream come true to live, work, and play in your own hometown. Who wouldn’t want to raise their kids in such a special place. I love having my kids experience what I was able to have growing up… and the over the last 15 years – there is a whole new fresh air and breath of life in this town. It’s my place, Hammond is my Happy Place!