Country stores and general stores were the original one-stop-shops in the South, offering everything from farm equipment to fresh produce. They served as the community hub as they sold the odds and ends for rural areas long before the days of online shopping.
From 1865 to 1930 no institution influenced the South’s economy, politics, and the daily life of its people more than the crossroads store. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of these stores were scattered throughout the region.The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture
These stores still exist throughout the South, selling the same items they always had along with new and improved services. You’ll find many throughout your travels in North Carolina, each with its own unique history.
See our previous post on general stores of North Georgia.
Mast General Store, Valle Crucis
While there are now multiple locations around the South, the first Mast General Store opened in the High Country in 1883. It sold everything the residents of the valley needed. And it still operates as the community’s post office.
These days, you’ll find hardware, cast iron skillets, and gifts along with clothing, shoes, and other outdoor attire. Vintage signs cover the building from its past. They still offer coffee for 5 cents.
Old Hampton Store, Linville
But they also have a restaurant and tavern that is known for its North Carolina barbecue and local craft beer. They host frequent live music nights, featuring bluegrass and Appalachian music.
Where to Stay Nearby: Linville Falls Campground, RV Park, and Cabins
Fred’s Mercantile, Beech Mountain
Downstairs is their restaurant, the Backside Deli, which serves some of the best biscuits around. On the top floor, where Fred and his family previously lived, is now where they sell local crafts and housewares.
Where to Stay Nearby: Pinnacle Inn Resort
Rockford General Store, Dobson
Located a short drive from Winston-Salem, the Rockford General Store in the small town of Dobson was originally the Jesse Lester Tavern. Dating back to the 1800s, it’s still where you can find vintage sodas, fried bologna sandwiches, and sonker, a local dessert similar to pie.
Today they have a restaurant and amphitheater. You can also browse for antiques and souvenirs. The store is also on the Yadkin River, so you can go kayaking from there.
Where to Stay Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites Dobson