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The South Store: A Brief History

An addition here, a facelift there, a porch added, an extra room removed. You’d expect a few changes to have taken place in the century that the South Store has stood at the corner of Scholls Ferry Road and the Hillsboro Highway. However, through the years, one thing has remained constant, the South Store has been a community gathering place. Where once people came to stock upon canned coffee and sacks of flour, they now come for cappuccinos and coffee cake, soup and sandwiches. The faces have changed, but farmers still stop by to complain about the weather and hazelnut prices over cups of coffee. You’re just as likely, though, to bump into a garden designer, electrical engineer, artist or writer.

Opened around 1903 as a combination general store and meeting hall for the local chapter of the Independent Order of the Oddfellows, the South Store got its name as a way of differentiating it from the North Store, which was located a mile to the north. While today the North Store, now known as Petrich’s Store, is still a well-stocked general store, the South Store has become a café serving the best espresso, pastries, soups and sandwiches for miles around. As far back as the 1940s, there was a soda fountain at the  South Store. That was back in the days when the Bunnell family ran the store, and there were dances and pinochle games up on the second floor. Later, in the 1960s, there was a sandwich counter at the back of the store. Today, the tradition of serving food to the residents of the Scholls community continues at the South Store.

The Café with the Rakish Tilt

Now, about that rakish tilt. The way we hear it told is that way back in 1962, on October 12 to be precise, which happened to be Columbus Day, the winds started blowin’ round about these parts. And they blew and they blew and they blew. Just like that big, bad wolf in that story about them three little pigs that decided to be their own general contractors, that storm huffed and puffed, and tried to blow this old South Store down.

Now there was a few official type folks round abouts, that had some of those new-fangled anemometer thingies, you know those funny whirligigs that measure wind speed. Well, them as didn’t have their whirligigs plumb ripped apart by the storm, well they say the winds were blowin’ at over 100 miles per hour. And them winds just kept blowin’. Trees snapped like matchsticks, cars were crushed by falling Doug firs, barns collapsed, heck, whole orchards toppled over.

But in the end, when the winds finally blew themselves out, the old South Store was still standin’. Funny thing is, though, it wasn’t quite as straight as it had been the day before. No, it was sort of listing to starboard like a sailor who’s had one too many schooners of beer. And to this day, the building has stayed just a little off kilter, not quite plumb, and, you know, that’s just the way we like it ’round here at the café with the rakish tilt.