Mast General Store – Part II

The Mast General Store, whose years of service to the Valle Crucis community were only interrupted for a short time in the late 70s, seeks to share that warm, neighborly atmosphere with new generations of visitors and residents – some not old enough to remember when general stores dotted the countryside and others who remember when a trip to the store was indeed a special occasion.

Visitors to the original store in Valle Crucis are greeted at the doorway by "essence of emporium," an aroma only achieved by mixing specific amounts of fresh-brewed coffee, garden-fresh produce, fragrant hickory smoke from the stove, oil used to treat the more-than-a-century-old floors, and good conversation among friends. Once over the threshold, each wall, shelf, and about every inch of floor is merchandised with anything from Bag Balm to gourmet salad dressing and from cast iron skillets to steel-toed work boots.

Do you remember the crank-driven cherry pitter your grandmother used to make your favorite pie? You'll find those in the Original Store's middle room. How about the most comfortable rocker you'll ever sit in? Try out an Amish rocker straight from Pennsylvania. Or maybe you just want to pass some time – have a seat on the back porch swing and enjoy a bottled Coke (how long has it been since you saw one of those?

The Original Store, built in 1883, both embodies and embraces a way of doing business that for the most part has become a victim of our fast-paced world. But for those willing to deviate from the every-day offerings and take a short drive into the country, the Mast Store will greet them as a neighbor.

Not to worry if you can't make it to Valle Crucis for a shopping experience of years past, the Mast Store has brought back the ambiance of an early 20th century department store in the historic downtowns of Boone, Waynesville, Hendersonville and Asheville. Harken back to the days when the only "malls" were those stores lining both sides of your town's main street. If you thought pleasant, unique shopping experiences were nearly extinct – try any of these locations where old-fashioned service makes the difference.