Small-Town Spotlight: The Edgefield General Store

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Modern-day Mayberry

Edgefield, South Carolina is a modern-day Mayberry. Its town square naturally coaxes you into leisurely Southern strolls, shop-browsing, and community gatherings. And as the “Town of Ten Governors” of South Carolina—with ten governors and lieutenant governors hailing from the area—Edgefield has a long legacy that continues to evolve. John and Rebekah Robeson are a large part of that continuing legacy. This husband and wife team meld the past with the future from one of Edgefield’s most long-lasting landmarks: the Edgefield General Store.

Past, present, future

Shortly after it was built in 1878, the Edgefield General Store burned down and was rebuilt again in 1891. It has always been a dry goods store of sorts and seen several beloved owners. The stained-glass storefront still bears the name of one of the earliest managers, Israel Mukashy, who ran the store from 1900-1950. And current customers fondly remember manager Archie Keesley who sold clothing. With Hershey’s hand-dipped ice cream, a soda fountain, and the building’s original ceilings, floorings, and counters, the General Store retains the charm of 20th-century small-town American experience.

Rebekah Robeson began work in the General Store in 2015 and was promoted to manager in the spring of 2017. She and her husband John were searching for a historic home and a small town away from bustling city life. Edgefield met all their needs. The tight-knit community is the cherry on top of the chocolate milkshake: “It’s a beautiful area in itself, but the people make it truly special,” says Rebekah. “Downtown has a close-knit group of business owners that are determined to see the area grow and prosper in the future.”

John, who works in graphic design, photography, and marketing, takes an online-first approach in putting Edgefield on the map. His creative talents are evident in Edgefield’s social media presence (check out their aspirational Instagram feeds!), and he designs their line of T-shirts (like the wild turkey tees, a nod to Edgefield’s National Wild Turkey Federation).

“I’m now around Edgefield all day on Saturdays, meeting folks, listening to needs and desires, helping business owners where I can, and taking photos,” says John. It helps to have such a picturesque setting as his inspiration: “Every day I make a point to notice and be thankful for the rolling hills, windswept pines, and painted sunsets. They help put my mind and heart at ease.”

Rebekah takes pride in the General Store being a mixture of respect for Edgefield’s history and an energetic vision for the future. The décor may be in the style of an old-fashioned General Store, but the “old” blends with the new. The store now carries more local items from Edgefield and South Carolina like teas, food and décor, as well as trendier items like day planners and grooming/beauty products for men and women.

“Unbeknownst to many transplants and even locals, Edgefield is rich in beautiful hiking trails and camping sites,” according to Rebekah. “We wanted to carry merchandise that would encourage our buyers to get out and explore our area.” Expect to find whatever you need in the way of adventure: camping bags, water bottles, and various types of outdoor and everyday knives.

Plan your getaway to Edgefield on South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast! Take a slow turn around the square to absorb small-town Americana, and yeah, definitely grab a milkshake at the General Store while you’re at it. The experience is one that you’ll never forget.

Category : 
History & Heritage
Author : 
Lexy Kessel
February 1, 2019
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