By Korey Hampton
When we say that French Broad Rafting and Ziplines is a “family business” that’s no exaggeration. It’s not just something we say because our employees “feel like a big family” or because there’s a few staff members whose kids work here – though both of these things are true. But the reality is that are a lot of family connections here.
The owners are twin brothers Michael and Mitch Hampton as well as Mitch’s wife Korey Hampton – yours truly. The complete list of the Hampton extended family that has worked in the business is big – a total of 15 including our parents, in-laws, cousins, kids, stepkids and grandkids.
But the only married couple in the bunch is Mitch and I. Sometimes people ask us what it’s like to be married to your business partner. In fact, one time a few years ago a reality show producer contacted us about featuring our company on a show about raft guides. They came to visit us and did a few days of filming on and off the river. In one of my interviews the crew asked me repeatedly about our relationship: did we ever argue at work, what types of family conflicts happen in the office, do we take office stress home with us? What’s it like working with your spouse?
What I told them is that it’s actually pretty great. They must not have liked my answers, because they kept prodding. I told them we got married, among other reasons, because we work well as a team. We have different strengths but the same goals and different personalities but the same love for the great outdoors. Most importantly we like to spend time together, which is a good thing because we work some unbelievably long days, especially in-season.
So as Valentine’s Day is approaching I am thinking about how I will probably spend the whole day at work, which is okay because my husband will be there with me. And in case you’re wondering, those producers decided not to make that show about us. It turns out that happy relationships and big, fun family businesses don’t make for must-see TV. In the words of the producer, we were a little boring. Oh well, I’ll take that one.