French Broad Rafting & Ziplines, Marshall, North Carolina, USA

The Hampton Family began their career in the outdoor industry nearly twenty-five years ago on the rivers of the southeast. After working as professional raft guides and managing for other rafting companies for many years they opened their own company in 2002. A year later they merged with two other rafting companies, including the venerable French Broad Rafting Company, taking over for retiring owners Ron and Sandy West. Continuing a thirty-year tradition of the family-owned, locally-focused business, the Hamptons have grown French Broad Rafting every year and recently became the largest outfitter on the French Broad River. Their reputation in the industry is bolstered by the high level of expertise that comes with having such a veteran staff (many of the raft guides on staff have been with the company for decades) as well as their focus on the personal experience and outstanding customer service you’d expect from a small business.

But the journey has not been without its’ setbacks. In November of 2006 the French Broad Rafting outpost burned to the ground. Everything was lost that day, from the rafts and paddles to the t-shirts and computers. What was “found” however, was the overwhelming support of family, friends, employees and the local community. Countless people stepped forward to make sure that this little family company continued to provide jobs, support local organizations and introduce thousands of people to this small but beautiful piece of the Appalachian Mountains.

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