The historic Cline’s Store closed its doors when the economy went downhill more than a decade ago. Now, Mike Cline is re-opening the shop to sell antiques, starting a new chapter in the family-owned store’s history.
“It’s just an old country store. When you walk in, it’s just like walking back in time,” Cline said. “I’m hoping it’ll be sort of like it used to be, when people just came and sat around to shoot the breeze, like they used to.”
Cline said he’s got places to sit, a checkers board, knife sharpeners and other things to pass the time with people who visit the store.
With a grand opening Saturday, the store will be open to the community from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cline plans to open the store Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from about 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., he said.
Cline said antiques suit the historic store better than the “yard sale” merchandise that stocked the shop last time it was open.
An old record player, antique tools and dishes, old glass milk jugs and collectible cookie jars are just some of the items Cline has in the store, he said.
“There’s been a lot of interest. People want to see what’s going on in the store, and see what’s in there and what it looks like,” he said.
Cline said he decided to re-open the store when he retired from his job as a wildlife game warden for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
“When I retired, I just didn’t like it. I just laid around and I didn’t enjoy it,” Cline said. “My wife said, ‘You have to do something.’ She came up with this for me to do. It was a good opportunity to re-open my granddaddy’s store.”
Built in the 1920s by brothers, Luther Cline and Levi Cline, Cline’s General Store sold items such as shoes, overalls, sacks of potatoes, school supplies, car parts, flour, dried goods, fertilizer, horse collars and anything in-between.
“They had a little bit of everything,” Cline said of his grandfather’s store.
The store later became a flea market of sorts, run by cousins Bill and James Cline — the sons of the two brothers who built the store.
Cline’s Store sold everything from kitchen sinks to baby playpens, many of the items acquired from estate and yard sales.
Cline said his dad and “Uncle James” closed the store shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.
“It was right after that. The economy went bad and they shut it down,” Cline said.
Now, more than nine decades after the store first opened for business, the next generation of Cline men will once again welcome Waleska residents into the store for business.
Cline’s Store is in downtown Waleska, on Reinhardt College Parkway near the Fincher Road intersection.