Ronnie Blackwell enjoying the day at his country store counter (photo by Kirk Gollwitzer).
Ronnie Blackwell enjoying the day at his country store counter (photo by Kirk Gollwitzer).

Archived Story

Landrum‘s Dark Corner General Store provides taste of good days

Published 6:28pm Friday, December 20, 2013

Dark Corner General Store opened for business on Nov. 1 in Landrum and since then Ronnie Blackwell and family have enjoyed meeting the local people and helping them find stocking stuffers for the holidays.
Blackwell, who was retired, handed the keys of his business, Superior Auto Body in Boiling Springs, S.C., to his son.
“My wife and I did this just to have fun,” said Blackwell, who shares a love for the ‘50s and ‘60s.
“Things were easier then and life was a whole lot simpler,” Blackwell said, as he sat behind the counter and pointed to the original drink coolers, bottle holders and vintage signage. “The theme of our store is old-time candies, toys and gifts from years past. We have lots of stocking stuffers, children’s toys and home décor for the ladies. We have candy for those with a sweet tooth, knives, wallets and metal signs for the men.”
Dark Corner General Store is very much a family affair and team effort as well.
“Our daughter-in-law is very excited about the store,” said Blackwell.
In fact, it was she who came up with the name for the store on a whim, developed the logo and is working on a website. Through the Internet, the Blackwells established vendor connections, developed marketing ideas and specifically select items they want to offer to the public.
The Blackwells are not an undercapitalized business, leasing a space just to see what happens, but are here for the long haul. Last year, Blackwell bought the store and began renovations.
“We installed new flooring; thoroughly cleaned the interior and painted the walls and antique ceiling tiles. The front of the store is inviting with large glass windows capturing the ambiance of a small town general store,” Blackwell said.
Local foot traffic in the tiny town is great, he said, however, the ever increasing presence from visitors provide him the confidence of retail success.
“It’s amazing to me to see so many people driving into Landrum from far away on a mission to shop,” said Blackwell.
Local support from everyone including the local officials has been outstanding, said Blackwell.
“We believe that as a rule our prices are cheaper,” said Blackwell as he stocks large barrels overflowing with nostalgic treats and stick-to-your-teeth retro-candy.
According to Blackwell, the store is currently at about 50 percent inventory capacity with additional room to grow in the back.
“We hope to bring on a clothing line and T-shirts in the future,”
The area known as Dark Corner, Blackwell said, conjers up images of moonshining, murders and mayhem but is also an area of rich historical significance. Blackwell said he always has enjoyed learning about the history of the area that for more than 200 years has been a mystery to many.
Dark Corner General Store is located at 112 East Rutherford St., Landrum, S.C. 29356. For more information, visit them on Facebook or call 864-457-1400.

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