CORBIN — By Bobbie Poynter / Community Editor
Moon Pie and a cold RC Cola — like a Norman Rockwell painting, just the thought brings back memories of a slower, more leisurely era.
That’s the atmosphere Quentin Lawson is striving to attain in his new business venture, the Appalachian General Store, located at 2008 South Main Street near Whayne’s Supply.
As a child growing up in Woodbine, Quentin and his family spent most of their time in Corbin, shopping or doing their laundry in the exact same building that now houses the quaint, rustic store. Having a clear picture of the type of building he was looking for, Quentin had his eye on the old abandoned building for the past couple of years.
“I wanted something to remodel,” he said. “and I knew I could make it into what I wanted.”
What Quentin wanted was a place where people could come in and instantly be transported back in time. Nearly everything you see and hear in the store, from the bluegrass music whispering softly in the background to the antique tin signs hanging on the back wall, helps create the ambiance of an old-fashioned, laid-back circa 1930’s country store. There are even tables and chairs — with the ever-present checkerboards — and rocking chairs out on the front porch so that patrons can sit back, relax and enjoy the afternoon.
The store is still a work-in-progress, and its owner hopes to have it fully stocked within the next month. By the time the Appalachian General Store holds its grand opening, Quentin plans to have it stocked with local produce, rustic home décor, rocking chairs and furniture, local jams and jellies, honey, flowers, antiques, and Amish goods.
Much of the store’s inventory will either be grown or built by the owner himself. The display cabinets and jelly cupboards already housing the store wares are handmade from old lumber and tin recycled from the buildings at the Lawson’s family farm.
And, yes, all of the displays are for sale.
An old-fashioned sandwich shop is also planned for the back of the store where customers will be able to splurge on homemade pies, cakes, breads, and deli sandwiches.
As the year rolls around, The Appalachian Country Store will roll with it, stocking its shelves with in-season goods and holiday décor.
Quentin has already received his first personal request from a customer looking for lye soap, which is now displayed front and center on the store’s check-out counter.
Wanting to stay true to the rustic, homemade ambiance of his store, Quentin hopes to work with local musicians (of all genres), artists and craftsmen either buying their products for resale or selling on consignment, as he has with the lye soap maker and the owner of some prints of old Corbin hanging on the back wall.
“Right now I’m looking for anything original in the way of homemade items, such as old-time pictures, furniture, or rocking horses,” said Lawson. “It would be great if a local crafter came to me with an idea for tables and chairs for the front porch.”
For now, Quentin, with help from his wife Shawnda, a home-bound teacher for Whitley and Bell counties, will continue to build and stock the store’s shelves and welcome the community to come in, sit down in one of the comfortable rocking chairs and relax, maybe even listen to some old fashioned front porch pickin’.
Quentin Lawson, 31, has lived in the Tri-County all his life, growing up in Woodbine and graduating from Whitley County High School in 1997. His father, Roy Carr, was a merchant marine and his mother, Carolyn Carr Hansford, currently works at Tri-County chiropractic. His twin brother, Anthony works in Williamsburg in the construction business.
Quentin and his wife Shawnda have been married seven years and, along with starting up a new business, the couple recently became foster parents to two children, Elli (5) and Charity (3).
“It’s a new experience,” said Quentin of his new role as a parent. “It’s more than rewarding. They make me want to be a better person in order to make a positive difference in their lives.
“We’ve still got an awful lot to do to get it all just right,” said Lawson, referring to both his new family his new business,” but the store’s open now and we welcome everyone to come in and check it out. At the very least, we can surely offer you a Moon Pie and an RC.”
The Appalachian General Store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is located at 2008 South Main Street in Corbin. Anyone wishing to find out more about the store can call Quentin Lawson at 524-3776.
Bobbie Poynter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org