The Store is Gone!
By Tommy Branson
The store at the end of the Carrollton-Tyus road, the only store at the time, the one across the highway, the Carrollton-Bowdon highway is gone!
This store has been known by many names over the years. It was built by the Williamson’s, Mr. Arie and Mrs. Mildred, during my mother’s childhood. It was operated by them and made into a place where friends and family would see each other there on occasion and use it as a meet and greet. My mother, Betty, has told me stories of her riding a horse up there and either Mr. Arie would put her back up on the horses’ bare back or she would lead the horse across the 166 hwy to a ditch on the other side of the road and climb aboard from there.
I’ve also heard a story of a friend of my granddaddy’s (R.L. McGuire) asking him who was driving his car on a particular day because it was seen turning onto Tyus road up on two wheels earlier in the day. Mother still goes too fast!
This went on during the late 30’s through the early 50’s. The store was sold in the 50’s to the McIntosh’s, Mr. Charlie and Mrs. Day. It was always a treat for me to stop there. A lot of people from my generation grew up seeing each other at this store. Our parents would talk and so would we. Mr. Charlie was a well remembered man. To me he was always willing to help, pumped gas for a lot of people, with joy in his heart! He gave me quite a few free cokes, the small bottle, as long as I drank it there and left the bottle, not a problem. I remember getting to drive the tractor there and fill it up with gas – what a treat for a kid! My memories include going to the store and filling up an air tank to blow up a tire and seeing family and friends there using it as a meet and greet just like the generation before ours.
Mr. Charlie retired in the late 70’s and rented the store to the Farmer’s. Mr. Farmer ran the store for a few years and family and friends again used it as a meet and greet on occasion. When the Farmers’ retired, the store went back to the McIntosh family. Mr. Monk, son of Mr. Charlie, had the store for years. His daughter, Janice, worked with her dad along with Mr. Ed Long, one of the best butchers in the county. I used to enjoy going in there and cutting up with those two men, what a pair.
The community continued to meet and greet each other through the years. So many of my generation had grown up around that store and now had families of our own with our own kids growing up doing the meeting and greeting there at the store at the end of the road .
From Mr. Monk the store went to Janice and her husband Mark. M & J’s was still a place of memories, a store for the neighborhood, a hardware store, a grocery store, a true convenience store and most of all a family friendly store. It was a place where you were called by name when you hit the door, a place to meet and greet family and friends.
When Janice and Mark decided to give it up, it went to Rocky. He was a good man, but a little out of his comfort zone. You throw a man and his family from India into a bunch of Georgians, well… Rocky did well for a few years. He didn’t have quite as much business, but there were a loyal few who would still meet and greet at the store. Some did it out of respect for the store itself, others out of loyalty!
When the store was sold again, it was to a development firm, so much has changed over the years. A Family Dollar now stands in Mr. Aries front yard, a Food Lion has come and gone and the old store is finally has been torn down. It died a hard death, it sat empty for years, piece by piece falling apart, the glass broken, the walls crumbling and the whole time the kudzu taking over. It was a sad death to a place full of memories – a lifetime full of fun, happy memories. I’m glad they are finally burying the store – give it the respect due.
We’ll miss you, the store at the end of the road, but we’ll always have your memories.
Story inside Rudene Green’s publication Inside Carroll
Picture credit to Maggie and Martha McIntosh