TOPSAIL ISLAND -- Longtime residents of Topsail Island have seen plenty of changes over the years. Doug Medlin has lived in Surf City for more than 50 years. While the town has grown, Medlin says one thing hasn't changed -- the emphasis on family. Doug Medlin owns stores in the fishing village, one of the first complexes to greet you as you cross the bridge into Surf City. He has lived on Topsail Island since he was four. Medlin said, "Lot of change since 1952. At that time there was about maybe eight or ten families that lived on the island full-time. In fact, there were like six students that lived on the island when I started school in 1954." Medlin's father owned the island's first ice company in the location where his stores are now. His son Chris has worked here with his dad for 13 years. Lifelong Surf City resident Chris says you can't beat the island's sense of community. Chris Medlin said, "Growing up I could stay out on the beach till nine, ten o'clock at night and never had to worry about anything and it's still somewhat that way." Chris's father says it's the generations of local family businesses that set the island apart from other local towns. Doug Medlin said, "It is still a family area and we've tried to keep it that way, just to keep it family oriented. And I think we've done a mighty good job of it." Chris Medlin said, "It's not as fast-paced as a lot of the other beaches, so I think you can probably relax a little bit more here." Medlin's wife owns a real estate company in the fishing village and Chris's wife works there, too. Chris Medlin said, "There's a lot of pride that goes with it, knowing that your family has been in the area for so long and you take pride in your town." Doug Medlin says growing up he would only see people from North Carolina visit the area. Today, he meets people from all over the country and the world who come to visit.
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