WWI was about to end. It was November of 1918 and a young man of 19 was trying to decide what to do with his life. The automobile was almost as young as he was and as his fascination for the “new” technology grew, he wanted to play a role. The teen’s name was Ken Gamble — senior, that is. Kenneth (as he was known) decided to open an “Automotive Department Store” on the corner of South Orange Ave and Sunnyside Terrace in East Orange, New Jersey. That was nearly 100 years ago.
In the Corporate office of North Hills Automotive, Ken Gamble (the III) has a picture hanging of his grandfather’s, “Automotive Department Store”. It serves as a reminder that, “this business is in my blood”. Ken (not Kenneth) worked as a mechanic during and right out of high school. He got his first job at a Sunoco Station at 18 — about the same age his grandfather was when he started.
In 1978, Ken moved his young family to Greenville, SC and in September of 1986 Ken, then 31, decided it was time to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. North Hills Automotive was born!
Today, there is a third generation of Gamble’s following their great-grandfather and father. Jacob Gamble is Ken’s oldest son and partner.
Jacob grew up with talk of North Hills at “every meal” and started working in the shop at age 15. Upon graduation from Winthrop University in 2002, Jacob came to work full time as a Store Manager. Since then, he has endeared himself to many customers and developed a knack for getting things done on time.
There is one more Gamble boy, Rob who is a Business Marketing Major at The University of South Carolina. Time will tell where Rob ends up. For now though, North Hills Automotive marches on, staying up to date with the latest technological changes in the field. 100 years have past since “Kenneth” began his “Automotive Department Store”, and now a century later the tradition continues, one day at a time.