“The next year was the worst year ever with rain,” Todd Carter explains. “They probably didn’t make $200 the whole fair.” But the brothers returned to Raleigh again the following year in hopes of making a return on their investment, which eventually, with better weather, they did. Todd Carter anticipates that on a good day at the fair the booth currently sells 1,500 to 2,000 ears of corn—a staggering number that is the result of early relationships that the Carter brothers built with fairgoers, plus their willingness to change over time.
The initial plywood booth has been traded for a newer tent and trailer. And 15 years ago, the stand shifted from serving boiled frozen corn to fresh roasted ears. Hill’s, under the direction of Todd Carter and his cousins, Stephen and Julian Carter, now sells fresh squeezed lemonade and orangeade, too.
Hill Carter passed away three years ago, and Larry Carter, Todd Carter’s father, retired two years before that. But this morning, shucking corn behind his family’s 41-year-old business, Todd Carter—on vacation from his usual work at RTP—made it clear that the booth is at the fair to stay, rain or shine. Wearing shades, however, he seemed happy for the sun.