Todd General Store

Last updated

Todd General Store
USA North Carolina location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location3866 Railroad Grade Road, Todd, North Carolina, 28684
Coordinates 36°18′32″N81°35′51″W / 36.30889°N 81.59750°W / 36.30889; -81.59750
Part of Todd Historic District (ID00000017 [1] )
Designated CPJanuary 28, 2000

The Todd General Store is located 10 miles south of West Jefferson and 11 miles north of Boone, off Hwy 194, overlooking the South Fork of the New River, and on Railroad Grade Road, one of the most scenic bike routes in North Carolina.


The Todd General Store is a contributing property in the Todd Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

According to Kirk Carrison of Preservation North Carolina, the Todd General Store is one of only five or six authentic general stores remaining in North Carolina. The Todd General Store is the oldest operating store in Ashe County and remains "the gathering place" for local residents where stories of days past are still swapped, relationships are built, and community spirit nourished.

Todd General Store suffered heavy damage from a fire that broke out on the evening of February 25, 2021.

The Past

Established in 1914, The Todd General Store (originally Cook Brothers General Store) was built by Walter and Monroe Cook in anticipation of the arrival of the Norfolk and Western "Virginia Creeper" railroad. [2] Todd was the end of the line, the last of 13 stops for the train, which traveled from Abingdon, VA, to Todd's Elkland station twice a day.

Todd General Store carried a wide variety of general merchandise, clothing, shoes, hardware, food, feed, dried foraged herbs, and farm implements. Most of the items the store sold were brought in by train. It was one of nine stores that served a growing community that also included four doctors, a dentist, a Ford garage, a bank, grist mill, drug store, post office, train depot and four churches.

W.G. Cook Store

Walter bought out his brother's interest in 1917 and continued to operate the business as W.G. Cook Store. [3] At that time most of the trade was conducted on the barter system, as money was scarce and almost non-existent in Todd prior to the arrival of the railroad. Ledgers were kept containing what was owed and what was traded. Customers would trade chickens, roots and herbs and other items of value for merchandise or receive "W.G. Cook" tokens that were only redeemable at this store. Many of the bartered items would then go to Virginia on the train.

The General Store was the center of the community and served all the shopping needs of the local residents. Customers would gather around the wood cookstove to swap stories and catch up on the town news. Most customers either rode horseback or walked. Only a select few could afford automobiles and the few roads that existed were full of potholes.

The Lean Years

The Norfolk & Western pulled up its tracks from Todd to West Jefferson between 1933 and 1936. This was also the time of the Great Depression and Todd's businesses begun to close one by one. The W.G. Cook Store was the only store that survived through those lean years. Cook was the store's proprietor for 43 years before selling it to Kenny Goodman, who then changed the name to Goodman's Grocery. [3]

Goodmans Grocery

Kenny Goodman ran a thriving general store business for some 20 years. During the last years of his tenure, he began to see the decline of the traditional general store. Automobiles became common place, new and better roads were built and chain grocery stores and department stores were constructed in Boone and West Jefferson. With this new accessibility to the outside world people began traveling to town to buy their goods. Mr. Goodman decided to sell the store that had been the center of trade for so many years.

Three More Owners

The store changed ownership four times during the next eight years. Goodman sold the store to Bob Peet who changed the name to the Todd General Store. [3] Peet was unable to keep up with the changing demands and business declined. Peet sold it to Al and Carol Shelly who ran it for a couple of years before selling it to Dennis and Alice Dent, who operated it for another couple of years. During the proprietorship of these three owners, the stock was depleted as the decline of the rural country general store continued.

The Morgans

Joe and Sheila Morgan purchased the Todd General Store at the beginning of 1985 and operated the store for the next 17 years.

In the first few months, the Morgans undertook needed structural repairs to the building, constructed bathrooms, brought in running water, put in an extensive septic system, and built a parking lot. They searched for replacement fixtures and advertising memorabilia in an attempt to recapture the look of the General Store as it had been in its heyday. Advertising was done throughout the region to attract visitors to the store hoping that their visits would add an economic base to allow the business to remain open year-round to serve the local community's needs.

The Mann's Store

Robert and Virginia Mann purchased the store at the start of 2002 and provided more structural repairs and updated the store's arrangements, providing more seating for audiences of the store's many musical and cultural events, an internet station, and adding a new wooden deck to the back of the store. The store was closed in 2016.

The Cook House

The W.G. Cook house (built in 1916) served as the residence of the store owners until the Morgan purchase. In 1986, the house was converted to use as retail space offering antiques, crafts and collectibles. In 1994, the house was again converted into a rental residential property until December 2000.

2021 Fire

On the evening of February 25, 2021, Todd General Store was heavily damaged by a fire that occurred around 9:45 pm EST.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Convenience store</span> Small store that stocks a range of everyday items

A convenience store, bodega, convenience shop, corner store or corner shop is a small retail store that stocks a range of everyday items such as coffee, groceries, fruits, vegetables, snacks, confectionery, soft drinks, ice creams, tobacco products, lottery tickets, over-the-counter drugs, toiletries, newspapers and magazines. In some jurisdictions, convenience stores are licensed to sell alcoholic drinks, although many jurisdictions limit such beverages to those with relatively low alcohol content, like beer and wine. The stores may also offer money order and wire transfer services, along with the use of a fax machine or photocopier for a small per-copy cost. Some also sell tickets or recharge smart cards, e.g. OPUS cards in Montreal or include a small deli. They differ from general stores and village shops in that they are not in a rural location and are used as a convenient supplement to larger stores.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grocery store</span> Retail store that primarily sells food and other household supplies

A grocery store (AE), grocery shop (BE) or simply grocery is a foodservice retail store that primarily retails a general range of food products, which may be fresh or packaged. In everyday U.S. usage, however, "grocery store" is a synonym for supermarket, and is not used to refer to other types of stores that sell groceries. In the UK, shops that sell food are distinguished as grocers or grocery shops.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kroger</span> American retail company

The Kroger Company, or simply Kroger, is an American retail company that operates supermarkets and multi-department stores throughout the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wegmans</span> Supermarket chain in the northeastern United States

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a privately held American supermarket chain. It is headquartered in Gates, New York, and was founded on January 30th, 1916 in Rochester, New York.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winn-Dixie</span> American supermarket chain in the southeastern United States owned by Southeastern Grocers

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., styled as Winn✓Dixie, is an American supermarket chain headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Winn-Dixie operates more than 546 stores in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi. The company has had its present name since 1955 and can trace its roots back to 1925.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Publix</span> American supermarket chain in the southeastern United States

Publix Super Markets, Inc., commonly known as Publix, is an employee-owned American supermarket chain headquartered in Lakeland, Florida. Founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, Publix is a private corporation that is wholly owned by present and past employees and members of the Jenkins family. Publix operates throughout the Southeastern United States, with locations in Florida (858), Georgia (207), Alabama (88), South Carolina (69), Tennessee (55), North Carolina (53), and Virginia (19).

Carrs–Safeway is a supermarket chain that is based in Anchorage, Alaska, and is a subsidiary of Albertsons. It was acquired in April 1999 by former parent Safeway from an employee ownership group, who itself had purchased the company from founder Larry Carr and his partner Barney Gottstein in 1990.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A&P</span> Defunct American grocery store chain

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P, was an American chain of grocery stores that operated from 1859 to 2015. From 1915 through 1975, A&P was the largest grocery retailer in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piggly Wiggly</span> American supermarket chain

Piggly Wiggly is an American supermarket chain operating in the American Southern and Midwestern regions run by Piggly Wiggly, LLC, an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers. Its first outlet opened in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee, and is notable for having been the first true self-service grocery store, and the originator of various familiar supermarket features such as checkout stands, individual item price marking and shopping carts. The current company headquarters is in Keene, New Hampshire. A total of 499 independently owned Piggly Wiggly stores currently operate across 18 states, primarily in smaller cities and towns.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">General store</span> Rural or small-town store

A general merchant store is a rural or small-town store that carries a general line of merchandise. It carries a broad selection of merchandise, sometimes in a small space, where people from the town and surrounding rural areas come to purchase all their general goods. The store carries routine stock and obtains special orders from warehouses. It differs from a convenience store or corner shop in that it will be the main shop for the community rather than a convenient supplement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clarence Saunders (grocer)</span> American grocer

Clarence Saunders was an American grocer who first developed the modern retail sales model of self service. His ideas have had a massive influence on the development of the modern supermarket. Saunders worked for most of his life trying to develop a truly automated store, developing Piggly Wiggly, Keedoozle, and Foodelectric store concepts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harris Teeter</span> American supermarket chain

Harris Teeter Supermarkets, LLC., also known as Harris Teeter Neighborhood Food & Pharmacy, or The Teet is an American supermarket chain based in Matthews, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. As of January 2023, the chain operates 258 stores in seven South Atlantic states and Washington, D.C. Supermarket News ranked Harris Teeter No. 34 in the 2012 "Top 75 Retailers & Wholesalers" based on 2011 fiscal year sales of $4.3 billion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Giant Eagle</span> American supermarket chain

Giant Eagle, Inc. and stylized as giant eagle) is an American supermarket chain with stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and Maryland. The company was founded in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and incorporated on August 31, 1931. Supermarket News ranked Giant Eagle 21st on the "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on sales of $11 billion. In 2021, it was the 36th-largest privately held company, as determined by Forbes. Based on 2005 revenue, Giant Eagle is the 49th-largest retailer in the United States. As of summer 2014, the company had approximately $9.9 billion in annual sales. As of spring 2023, Giant Eagle, Inc. had 493 stores across the portfolio: 211 supermarkets 8 standalone pharmacies, 274 fuel station/convenience stores under the GetGo banner, and one standalone car wash under the WetGo banner. The company is headquartered in an office park in the Pittsburgh suburb of O'Hara Township.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Big Bear Stores</span>

Big Bear Stores was an American regional supermarket chain operating in the U.S. states of Ohio and West Virginia between 1933 and 2004. The company was founded in Columbus, Ohio, and was headquartered there until its acquisition by Syracuse, New York-based Penn Traffic in 1989. Upon Penn Traffic's bankruptcy in 2004, all remaining Big Bear Stores closed. For nearly 75 years, the chain was a Central Ohio institution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Virginia Creeper Trail</span>

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 35-mile (56 km) multi-purpose rail trail. Located in southwestern Virginia, the trail runs from Abingdon to Whitetop, Virginia, near Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and the North Carolina state line.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Earth Fare</span>

Earth Fare is an American health and wellness supermarket with 20 locations in 8 states throughout the Southeast United States. It sells natural and organic food that the company claimed to have the highest product standards in the United States, and was one of the largest natural and organic food retailers in the country. After closing all stores in February 2020, three locations reopened in June 2020 and a total of 20 locations operate as of March 2021.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Giant Food (Landover)</span> American supermarket chain

Giant Food of Maryland, LLC, also known as Giant, is an American supermarket chain with 165 stores and 153 full service pharmacies located in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. It is headquartered in Landover, Maryland, an unincorporated area of Prince George's County, Maryland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Acme Fresh Market</span> Grocery store chain in Ohio, US

The Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Company, under the trade name Acme Fresh Market, is a grocery store chain based in Akron, Ohio, that has 16 locations in Summit, Portage, Stark, and Cuyahoga counties of Northeast Ohio. It was established in 1891.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Todd, North Carolina</span>

Todd is an unincorporated community straddling the county lines of Watauga and Ashe counties in northwestern North Carolina, United States on the South Fork of the New River. It lies at an elevation of 2,992 feet. The population was 2,141 at the 2010 United States Census. The ZIP Code for Todd is 28684.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Carolina Highway 194</span> State highway in North Carolina, US

North Carolina Highway 194 (NC 194) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Entirely in the High Country, it runs from US 19E, in Ingalls, to the Virginia state line, near Helton.


  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. Murphy, Tim (2003). Road cycling the Blue Ridge high country. John F. Blair. p. 87. ISBN   978-0-89587-283-8.
  3. 1 2 3 McGuinn, Doug (2007). The Last Train from Elkland. p. 29. ISBN   978-1-4276-1667-8.