The nonprofit is pre-selling the bricks that make up Bell’s Store, with plans to use them for a new courtyard at the historical society’s Rock Barn in Canton, and put the money raised toward helping to save other relics of old Cherokee in the future.
The fundraising efforts are ramping up after the historical society admitted defeat in April on its efforts to protect the former general store, built in 1935, from a developer’s plans to tear it down to build a gas station. The Cherokee Board of Commissioners and the current tenant of the building, Lisa Meyer, also took part in the unsuccessful charge against Flash Foods’ plans.
The developer has given Meyer, who runs Cherokee Market in the store, until June 30 to vacate the building and has promised to be careful with the destruction, loading the bricks on to pallets so the historical society can haul them away.
Joyner said the now-doomed landmark has served as a catalyst for Cherokee County to be ready for any such situation in the future.
“I’m not expecting to raise tens of thousands of dollars,” she said Friday, speaking about the fundraiser. “It’s going to be a seed fund, so if we’re faced with this in the future (it can be solved).”
To keep the proceeds high, Joyner said the nonprofit is looking for volunteers to work on the courtyard construction and help clean the bricks.
Besides getting money together for future fights, Joyner said organizers hope the project preserves the legacy of Bell’s Store, which at one time was a hub of activity in Buffington. As the Cherokee Market, the store has also seen a wealth of activity, with avid customers from all over stopping to pick up produce, Joyner said.
Meyer said she liked the historical society’s plans.
“I think it’s a great idea,” she said Friday. “Anything to help them raise money and preserve the Bell name.”
The bricks, which will be engraved with the purchasers’ names, can be purchased online at www.rockbarn.org, or by calling (770) 345-3288.
Meanwhile, Meyer is getting down to the wire on her move to the former W.A. Lathem and Sons General Merchandise building, a more than a century old relic of the Lathemtown community.
She said the time of year is making it difficult.
“This is my prime season,” Meyer said. “We’re trying to get down there and work when we can, but we’re running out of time.”
Still, after months of uncertainty during the ordeal with Flash Foods, Meyer said she’s determined to keep her doors open, and she plans to be in business at the new location promptly by July 1 or even before.
“I’m not scared anymore,” she said. “I’ll make it work. Don’t worry about that.”