Interview by Abernathy Cochran intern and Gainesville High School junior Donangelo Marshall
Meet Haley Bower! Haley was born and raised in Gainesville and works at her family’s company; Clipper Petroleum. Clipper Petroleum operates as a convenience store retailer, fast food retailer, and wholesale fuel distributor and has been around since 1933. Clipper Petroleum also has its own nonprofit called the Clipper Petroleum Foundation. Recently, Haley has been chosen to participate in Center Point’s Dancing for a Cause annual fundraiser.
We want to thank Haley for recently spending time with us and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “It’s my family’s business so I’ve literally been working there since I was 15. It was my first job and I remember when I was younger than that my sisters and I would go to grand openings and hand out free ice cream. It’s all I’ve ever known and I just wanted to stay in the business and I love working with my dad and my sister every day. I learn something new every day. It’s a very interesting industry.”
Q: Tell me about Clipper Petroleum Foundation, what is the main goal of it?
A: “We started it about eight years ago with our main and only mission to give back to the communities where we do business. Since the foundation, we’ve been able to give over half a million dollars back to local schools and non-profits. There are several places we’ve donated to in town. SISU is a big one and the Special Olympics. We’ve helped a lot of schools like Wauka Mountain, Gainesville City Schools, and North Hall.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Hall County?
A: “I’ve lived here my whole life. Pretty much since I was born. I was born in North-East Georgia and I’ve never left. I went to North Hall High School.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “Probably 2 Dog Cafe, I get the same three things every time, but my all-time favorite is probably the Chicken Avocado Quesadilla. I also love The Meal, and you can add meat on there but I always do the vegetarian style, and I also really love their Greek salad with roasted chicken on it. I‘ve been going there since they’ve been on the Square back in the day.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “I think I would probably like to go to Toyko, Japan. I would love to just experience the culture and the food and it just looks like such a cool city. Very vibrant.”
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “My favorite movie is ‘You’ve Got Mail’ or ‘Love Actually.’ ‘You’ve Got Mail’ is like your typical chic flick, but to be a little bit deeper ‘Love Actually’ is my favorite because it focuses more on loving your neighbor. You know on the news everyone is talking about hate and negativity. I love the first line of that movie because it talks about how when you’re at the airport you never see anyone arguing or fighting or hating on each other, it’s all about love. If you’re standing at the welcome gate when people are coming up the escalator people have sings like ‘I love you’ and ‘I miss you’ and ‘I’m so glad you’re home.’ I think that’s something to always go back to which is just love.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “I would tell people to love themselves. I think most of the time we are a little too hard on yourself and I think that you just need to love yourself exactly as you are now.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “I really want to hike Machu Picchu in Peru. It just looks beautiful and I think It would be a really cool challenge. You get to say that you’ve made it in the wilderness for four days and hiked this massive mountain where it is really hard to breathe at the top because of the elevation, so I think I would be a physical and mental challenge.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “Definitely Duffy, she is an old British musician and shes still live, but I just love her. Amy Winehouse, and Coldplay. I’ve never seen them live but gosh I love their music. Chris Martin is just an amazing musical talent and all of his records are just so different. If you listen to their old school stuff it’s a lot different than it is now.”
Q: What current or local business makes you most nostalgic about Hall County?
A: “Honestly, Cozy Corner or Inn-between. I think it would be a tie between those. I just remember when we were little, going to Inn-Between on Saturdays. It was such a treat to get an Inn-between and I remember even in high school if you had to go to a doctor’s appointment it would be a treat to pick up an Inn-Between. Cozy Corner, I just remember going there with my Grandmother and my mom when I was a little girl, and obviously, I wasn’t allowed to touch anything because I would have broken it since I was a child back then. Those two businesses have been around the 33 years I’ve been alive and can remember them… and even longer, so I think they just bring back good memories of Gainesville for me.”
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Hall County would you have lunch?
A: “I would like to have lunch with Ruth Bader Ginsburg just because I think she’s probably has seen so much and has had so many experiences. She’s been through so many decades and has experienced so many changes in humanity and it would be interesting to hear her perspective, hear her stories and learn from her. I would definitely take her to 2 Dog.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “My favorite thing about Hall County is that we are the Chicken Capital of the world, but during the holidays they have the big Jingle Mingle event where they light the chicken on the square and it’s like a Hallmark movie. I never miss Jingle Mingle and its literally as we live in a Hallmark movie. I think it’s so unique… where else in the world can you say ‘I’m from the chicken capital of the world and we light a chicken for the holidays on top of our square?’
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “Honestly here in Gainesville. Still working at my family’s business.”
Q: What 3 words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Safe, loved and accepted.”
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “Some people might know this but my favorite smell in the entire work is a cabbage patch kid doll. They have this really sweet heavenly smell. I wish that there was a candle. If there was a cabbage patch candle, I would never buy any other candle again except for that candle.”
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “Chef. I think that the dinner table is so important because it’s just when you have the best conversations and it’s just a good community around the dinner table. They could also make healthy meals for you so wouldn’t necessarily need a physical trainer.”