May 25, 2005 - The Mast General Store was
built, or rather, the first of its many rooms was built, in 1882 by
Henry Taylor and the store opened in 1883. Henry had run a much smaller
store across the road for many years prior to building of the new
structure. In 1897 half interest in the store was sold to W. W. Mast,
a member of a pioneer family that settled present day Valle Crucis.
The store was known as the Taylor and Mast General Store up until
1913, when the remaining half of the enterprise was purchased by W.
the next 60 years, the store was owned and managed by the Mast Family.
During that time, W. W. and his family tried to carry all the items
that their neighbors might need - from plows to cloth and "Cradles
to Caskets," which led to the popular saying, "If you can't buy
it here, you don't need it."
Credit was extended to all who needed it and payments were often
made in trade (a chicken for a sack of flour, and so on). If you
wander back in the store, you can see where the chicken hatch door
is in the floor (near the ribbon chest). The hatch was put beneath
the floor to prevent those individuals who wanted to get more than
they bargained for by taking back their chicken and bartering again.
Operation of the store was passed from W. W. to his son Howard,
who continued to run the business in the long-established manner
of providing for the needs of the community.
The store was sold by the Mast Family in 1973 to a doctor in Atlanta
and a professor at Appalachian State University. Around about that
same time, the site was named to the National Register of Historic
Places as one of the finest remaining examples of an old country
November of 1977, the doors were closed presumably just for the
winter season with hopes of reopening in April of 1978. However,
those plans did not pan out. Many residents of Valle Crucis banded
together in an effort to save the old store and Exxon even helped
with the drive to preserve the landmark.
John and Faye Cooper purchased the Mast Store and reopened it
in June of 1980. Since that time the store has regained its reputation
as "the store that had everything." The Valle Crucis Post
Office reopened in October of 1980, thus giving the valley back
The operation has expanded in recent years to include other locations
with character and history. The Annex was opened in 1982; the Old
Boone Mercantile was opened in 1988; the Little Red Schoolhouse
was opened in 1989; the Waynesville store was opened in 1991; and
the store in Chapel Hill was opened in 1993 (however, this store
closed in 1994). A store in Hendersonville was opened in August
1995, a store in Asheville in 1999, and most recently a location
in Greenville, SC (2003). Mast Store Online opened in 2002.