Pace General Store reopens

Published 9:04 am Monday, June 20, 2011

Members of the Morgan family including, left to right, Tonya and Cynthia Pace, leon Morgan and Tangie Ciarvolo plan to reopen the M.A. Pace General Store in Saluda with a ribbon cutting Saturday, June 18. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

A wreath in memory of Robert Pace lovingly graced the door of M. A. Pace General Store in Saluda until just recently.
Robert Pace passed away last October and with his death came the closure of his family business that first opened in 1899 – a staple of the Saluda community.
“People said they didn’t know where to go in the mornings after he passed away,” said Saluda resident Tangie Ciarvolo. “Robert was such a gentle soul of a man. I think you can ask any man on the street and they would tell you the same thing.”
Ciarvolo and her family, which includes her father, Saluda commissioner Leon Morgan, aspire to revive this piece of Saluda history by reopening the store this Saturday – the day before its 112th anniversary.
“We’re not trying to be Eunice or Robert,” Morgan said. “We’re just going to try and provide a good service to the people of Saluda.”
No one can replace Eunice or Robert, according to Ciarvolo and her sister, Tonya Pace. The two and their sister Tammy Frisbee grew up running down to the counter at Pace to grab a piece of 1-cent candy and a glass bottle coke. The Morgan girls said they idolized Eunice Pace’s movie-star-like style with her red lipstick and the flowers she regularly wore in her hair. They said she always kept a squirt gun behind the counter too, exactly where it remains today.
“It makes me feel really proud to carry on something that meant so much to us,” Tonya said. “It has always been a huge part of our hometown.”
Retail business runs in the Morgan family, too.
Morgan’s daughters, Tangie, Tammy and Tonya, are ninth-generation Saluda residents. They’ve all played a part in running the family’s own antique store. Their great-grandfather, General Russell, even worked for M.A. Pace back in the 1920s.
“I think Kay (Pace’s daughter) wanted someone to run it who was from here, who knew its history,” Ciarvolo said. “When you’ve known a place like this all of your life you almost feel protective of it. So, we’re going to keep it the way they had it when we were kids.”
M.A. Pace General Store originated a block or two down main street from its present location in what is now Saluda City Hall. Old ledgers displayed in the store date back to 1906, while a still-working scale was first patented in 1904. The shelves along the far right side of the store continue to house old shoeboxes and various cases display items sold in the store during the early part of the 20th century.
M.A. Pace Sr. died in 1945 and at one time or another all six of his children had a hand in running the store. It was Robert Pace, though, who carried on the namesake business until the day he died.
The new store owners will host a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m. Saturday and will remain open until 5 p.m.

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