Moore’s General Store

February 21, 2014 |

Not long ago, it was common for nearly every small community to have their own general store, or two, or three. At the center of the store there would be an old potbelly stove, glowing with heat, that drew people together. Some of the most vivid memories are of candy jars, fresh sliced bacon, buckets full of marbles, and the smell of roasting peanuts. Others remember the men who sat clustered around the stove, telling stories and lies. But ask anyone to show you whatever happened to these old general stores, and often they point out the empty buildings or vacant lots where their favorite places are no longer standing.

At least one of these old store buildings has not disappeared. Moore’s Store in Hillsboro, West Virginia will turn 100 years old this summer. In the 1980s the store finally closed, but the space was converted into a restaurant. Since then it has been the Rosewood Café,  the 4 Winds Restaurant, and in 2009 Blair Campbell transformed it into the Pretty Penny Café. The tin ceiling, the old shelves along the walls, and the wood floors—Blair says they are all original from when the store first opened in 1914. There are even the classic, old wooden ladders with rollers at the bottom, which William Moore used to climb to reach some of the goods stored on the top shelves, 12 feet from the floor.

“Oh he had everything in it. Had men’s clothing and women’s,” says William’s widow Opal Moore,

“He even had automobile parts. The kids used to come from school and buy their lunch. They’d buy cookies and cokes. And stay in there then till time to go back to school. They used to just get chips and pop and candy bars and cookies.”

Painting by Betty Greenlee Warner

Painting by Betty Greenlee Warner

Marshall Isabell opened the first store here in 1914, and it was later sold to R.D. Moore, William’s father. Opal points to a photo of her husband William. She admits that the store was not her favorite place to work; she much preferred to be out working in the garden. But to thousands of children who grew up in Hillsboro, Moore’s store was a favorite place, somewhere to go during lunch or after school, which was practically next-door. They remember it as the place they all went to buy candy and soda. And William Moore was the beloved keeper of all this treasure.

“I bought cokes and peanuts there as a child, and sat on the steps out front as a teenager long after it closed, one of my favorite spots in the town. That storefront served as one of my ‘spots’ for years…I could probably write a novel about the life lessons I learned on those steps,” remembers Bob McClure.

“I remember the big glass candy jars on the left as you entered the store. Mr. Moore was a Great man!” says Dave Workman.

But the store wasn’t just a place to buy snacks and candy. Moore’s store also sold most of the town’s groceries and hardware. Even auto parts were sold there.

“He had all kinds of stuff. Had dishes and nails and screws. And those bins back there, you know, I don’t know what they keep in them now. They used to have them full of nails. And he had a great big round thing of cheese. And he had a cheese cutter and just cut off slices. Then he had a slicer that he’d get a whole bacon and slice it up for people. It was real good bacon, better than what you get now. Any way you want it he could slice it,” says Opal.

But when modern, larger grocery stores came to nearby areas in the 1980s, the historic Moore store quickly lost most of its business.

“It was pretty busy back a long time ago. But then after they got all the Kroger Stores and Walmart and everything down in Lewisburg there wasn’t much business.”

Today, people in Hillsboro drive forty miles south to the Kroger or Walmart to do most of their shopping. But the Pretty Penny Café still “buys local”, using local produce, eggs and meat from farms in Pocahontas County for the meals they serve. A bakery in nearby Frankford supplies bread for the sandwiches. And like the old store, the Pretty Penny Cafe has become the community gathering place to many people in Hillsboro. On any given Friday evening, local old time and bluegrass musicians play here, and the café often has two or three touring bands playing each month. Two upcoming shows are next week: The Suitcase Junket on March 6th and the Carpenter Ants on March 8th. Call the Pretty Penny for more information 304-653-2646.

Opal with one of the tomatoes she's grown in her garden. Photo by Roxy Todd

Opal with one of the tomatoes she’s grown in her garden. Photo by Roxy Todd

The candy jars might have disappeared, but the walls of this building still resonate with the memories of what was once Moore’s General Store.

Here is a list of just a few of the other stores that once stood along US 219. Leave a comment to add the store you remember best.

Byrd/Holesapple Store, once located in Second Creek, WV, in Monroe County, located across the street from Reed’s Mill on Second Creek Road, and just over a mile from US 219. This store was once owned by Joseph and Lucy Byrd. Many people remember their pet parrot, who is actually buried in the couple’s mausoleum not far from the old store. Click here for the rest of this story.

CJ Stores: There were once at least 20 CJ stores – owned by CJ Casdorph of Ronceverte, who also ran a wholesale business. Mrs. Mohler of the Monroe Watchman remembers a CJ store in Union next to the newspaper office, one in Gap Mills, and one across Peters Mountain in Paint Bank VA.

Charles Burns LaRue’s Store in Hillsboro. “He was a blacksmith in his early ages, and his shop was out behind the house where he and grandmother lived. It was just a small country store, but I remember the pot belly stove, and grand-dad and uncle graham setting around it talking.”-Tom Michael. Click here to see photos.

The Hefner General Store and Post Office was located beside the mill in Mill Point. The store was first run by Billy Auldridge and was built around 1900. “They had guns, all kinds of rifles, shotguns, pistols, right behind the post office.  It was in the same building.  Then they had the different kinds of stuff, like snake root, witch hazel, in bottles that you could buy for remedies, home remedies.  Coffee.  There was just all kinds of stuff you could think of — furs and ginseng, bloodroot, and goldenseal—different things like that.” –Bill Hefner. Click here for the rest of this story.

Benton Smith’s Store was located near the Marvin Chapel Church (in between Marlinton and Hillsboro). “He sold gas, candy, milk, bread, pop etc. and worked with leather.”- Dorothy Lane.

Marlinton CJ Store: “Dad did all the butchering but if some wanted sliced ham or something like that, you sliced it yourself. Some of the people working there that I remember were Eldridge Waugh, David Mason, Arlene Beverage, my sister, myself.”- Tom Michael, whose dad ran the Marlinton CJ Store. Click here to see photos from this store.

The Peoples Store and Supply (Brill’s) was owned by Ira Brill and was located along 219 at the Greenbrier River bridge in Marlinton. No longer standing today. A book about Brill’s store is available through the Pocahontas Times’ store:  The Store: Memories of the Peoples Store and Supply, by James Samuel Brill. Click here to see photos.

C.J. Richardson’s Store: an old-fashioned hardware store Still open in Marlinton. Click here to read more.

Sharp’s Country Store: L. D. Sharp, a 5th generation descendant of pioneer settler William Sharp, first opened the store in Slatyfork in 1884. Today, Sharp’s Country Store is Pocahontas County’s oldest, steeped in local story and family tradition for over 120 years. “My mom was born here on the farm in 1928. She has fond memories of standing behind the very glass cases that held the penny candy…waiting for the kids to make up their minds. She said they would ponder it as if it were the most important decision of their young lives.”-Tom Shipley. Click here to find out more.

White’s Way Grocery in Elkins was located where McDonald’s stands today.

Sam and Goldies (Griffith): “It sat at the entrance to Clifton Run Road (Lazy Run Rd) on 219 in Kerens WV. The upstairs housed the Odd Fellows Lodge. I don’t think it still stands today.”

DePollo’s Store in Thomas (now the Purple Fiddle Music Tavern): “The DePollo store was a grocery store, but they usually had about five or six chairs, and the fellows would get off work or something and they’d go buy their beers and they’d drink their beer in those chairs. And when Dr. Miller died, John DePollo who owned the store then, had a chair with a plaque on the back of it, reserved for Doc Miller. Nobody ever sat in that chair after Doc died, they just kept it dusted it off, but that chair belonged to Doc Miller.”- Jerry DiBacco. To listen to the story click here.

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Category: Elkins to Marlinton, Family & Community, Marlinton to Lewisburg

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