Cherokee Market, which had inhabited the former general store since April 2010, will soon be open in a similar relic on Highway 20: the old W.A. Lathem and Sons General Merchandise building in the Lathemtown community, also a one-time general store.
Lisa Meyer, owner of the market, said she spent all of Monday night hauling things away from Bell’s Store, as the lease Flash Foods gave her ran out at midnight.
“We were there until 3 a.m.,” Meyer said Tuesday. “It just hit me a little while ago: We’re officially in Lathemtown. I don’t even think about that store down there no more. We’re making the best of it.”
Meyer said she hoped to be open next week, though it depends on a county inspection. In the meantime, she said she’d be open on the porch of the new location today, so she can capitalize on the week of July 4th, which is always busy.
The store, formerly a hub of activity in the Buffington community, looked ghost-like Tuesday morning with boards put up around the doorways and windows.
As early as Monday, Bell’s Store, built in 1935, is planned to come down, said Taylor Weaver, of Canton-based Weaver Grading & Hauling.
“It just depends on the filings (with the county). And we have to do the proper asbestos abatement,” Weaver said Tuesday.
Typically, the process would have started earlier, but the company and Flash Foods wanted to give Meyer time to get out, Weaver said.
“We didn’t want to be in there disturbing it,” he said. “We wanted to give her the time she had and not bother her.”
The pending demolition will come after months of efforts to save the building by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners, the Cherokee Historical Society, residents and members of the Bell family, namely W.F. Bell. Bell grew up in the small home attached on the backside of the building and has put its history down in a book, “Buffington and Macedonia in Days Gone By.”
As opponents aired their distaste for Flash Foods’ plans, the company offered to give the building to the historical society, or basically anyone, if they would move it off the property. In the end, no one could come up with the thousands it would cost for the move, or a place to move it.
Flash Foods then agreed to let the historical society have the bricks from the building. The historical society is selling them to donors and plans to use them to make a new courtyard at the organization’s Rock Barn near Cherokee County High School in Canton.