Caraway General Store opens

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Caraway General Store was welcomed with a ribbon cutting on Thursday. Pictured are Council members, John Boatman and Mitchell Tipton, Treasurer Rick Stevens, owner Merett Emery, employee Jerry Foster, Mayor Barry Riley, Melton Emery and Councilman Roger Williams. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock

It has been a time of rebuilding for the town of Caraway as the community recovers from the tornado and storm damage of Oct. 31, 2013. Most of the main street businesses and buildings were destroyed. Merett Emery, a lifelong resident of Caraway, is among the citizens who want to see new life come back to their hometown. Through his efforts, Caraway now has a general store that will stock a little bit of everything to meet the needs of the citizens of the area.

The tornado damaged Emery's home and farm shop as it continued on to Main Street. It was a difficult time but the residents of Caraway and the surrounding communities came together in a clean up effort.

The longtime Western Auto business was among the stores damaged.

Emery knew how important the store was to the community and he spoke with owner Lynn Haag about helping him get it back up and running.

"I knew how much we as a community depended on the store and I wanted him to know we would be there to help him any way we could," Emery said. "At that time I was not thinking about building a store."

When Emery found out the landmark store would have to be leveled and Mr. Haag had decided to retire and not build back, he started thinking about building.

The building process has been long but the end results have been worth it as the 60x150 foot building is stocked and open for business as of Monday, Feb. 9. The location is 110 Kentucky Street, sitting where Haag's Furniture Store to Caraway Drug Store were located.

Emery likes to restore and keep memorabilia from the area and he is very pleased with two signs attached to the front of the store. One sign is a Western Auto sign put up by Nelson Haag in 1947. The original Western Auto store was expanded in the 1950s and a new sign was added.

When Emery purchased the inventory from the store he wanted the signs. He had them restored and displayed.

He also has made space for the soda fountain from the Caraway Drug Store. It will be the "loafing spot," a place to gather. He also has a glass cabinet that was used for years in the drug store. He is having a sign from the old Tasty Freeze restored and it will be in the store as well. The office area features an original window from the Caraway Depot, which was purchased by Emery's parents and turned into their home.

The new Caraway General Store will offer lawn/garden supplies, hardware, farm fencing, gates, Valspar paint, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, bicycles, appliances, welding supplies, large variety of nuts and bolts, and much more.

"If anyone needs something we will do our best to find it," Emery said.

In addition to the store, the new business will feature an automotive service area for oil changes and new tires. Customers will be able to drive in from main street and exit in the back. The service area should be ready in a week or two.

Store hours will be 7:30 a.m. To 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The store will be closed on Sundays.

A grand opening will be held in the near future.

Caraway Mayor Barry Riley and several council members were on hand to welcome the new business with a ribbon cutting.

Timmy Reams worked at the Caraway Western Auto store for 17 years and will be working at the new Caraway General Store. Jerry Foster will also be working in the store with Merett and Timmy.

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