Sampson Mountain General Store owner Greg Cash hopes to revitalize the general store feeling when his store opens. (Photos by Tony Casey/Johnson City Press)
Greg Cash hopes when his Sampson Mountain General Store opens up in downtown Johnson City next month that it will give off the same old-fashioned general store feel that he knows well from his youth.
“Where I’m from, we had about six, seven or eight general stores when I was growing up,” Cash said, saying they all fizzled out, giving way to chain stores.
Now he’s trying to bring that nostalgic feel back with the business he’s opening up with his fiancee’ Jeanie Braiden at 118 W. Main St. Hard candy, cold drinks, custom-made pieces of primitive furniture, collectibles and perhaps even Tweetsie Trail walking sticks made in Cash’s workshop in the Sampson Mountains will be available among many other items at the store, which gives the owners a whole lot of excitement.
“We’re going to have a little bit of everything,” Cash said.
Cash and Braiden were looking for the right location to open up their store, with options in Greene County, but Cash said he loves the feel of downtown Johnson City, having studied the atmosphere during the recent Blue Plum festival and also being directly positioned on Main St., which fits well with their goal of continuing with the revitalization of the downtown area through the patronage of small businesses. Extending the flow of foot and vehicle traffic out of the downtown core area and up Main St., Cash said, is the goal.
“We’re hoping to bring traffic this way from downtown,” he said.
Stable Convergence, a local networking company position directly next to where the store will be going, has the popular local Facebook pages: Shop Local in J.C. and Shop Local in the Tri-Cities and think a general store would be the perfect fit.
“If I had more time and assets, I’d have done it myself,” said Ted Bradford of Stable Convergence.
He, like Cash and Braiden, are excited to see what the new business will bring, but says the most important part about what the general store will offer is the ability of customers to be so close with the products they’ll buy. Because Cash will both custom-make pieces and be available to customer questions about the pieces he’ll produce in his workshop, this should come as an extreme value to people who want to put that emphasis on shopping locally.
“He’s going to have better product knowledge and hands-on experience than those at big box stores,” Bradford said. “What he has in no cookie cutter product.”
One piece Cash hopes to have completed soon will be the sign he’s going to be hanging above the business, which shouldn’t take much longer. He expects the hours of operation to be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the possibility of them staying open longer to accommodate those who work day shifts. Making it a true family business, he also hopes to employ the help of his children and Braiden’s. To get the store open, he and Braiden have worked seven days a week, 15 hours a day to get things lined up.
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