Meet the Connell family – new owners of the Todd General Store! You are sure to see Matthew, Andrea and their children Eleanor (8) and Charles (3) around town in the coming days and weeks as they work to reopen the general store which has been closed for several years.
Opening in July, the Connells plan to provide goods, services and a gathering space to residents and visitors to Todd consistent with the store’s history and the needs of the community.
The Todd General Store originally opened in 1914 just before Todd became the end stop of the Virginia Creeper railway. Today, according to Ted Alexander, Executive Director for the Western Region of Preservation North Carolina, it is one of very few authentic general stores remaining in North Carolina. The store is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is a key part of the Todd Historic District.
Throughout its history, the Todd General Store served community and visitor shopping needs and served as an informal community gathering place. The Connells envision running it as a true general store – with some updates. Household goods, a limited food menu including coffee, smoothies and ice cream, and space for planned and informal gatherings will be downstairs. Upstairs the Connells eventually plan to install artist maker-spaces to highlight and support contemporary crafts. The space will include a small gallery and will host workshops with an emphasis on ceramics and pottery.
The Connells came to the area as part of the Appalachian State University faculty where Andrea is a faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts. Matthew will be running the store full time. Part of what drew them to the store in the first place was the small town sense of community that makes Todd such a special place. They look forward to collaborating with local businesses and organizations as a community partner as well as making the store a welcoming destination. “The hard work of evaluating and actually purchasing the property is behind us and now the fun part begins”, says Matthew. If you see them out about town, please stop and say hello!