in Valle Crucis
OPENED IN 1883
The Original Mast General Store
The original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis was built in 1882 by Henry Taylor and opened in 1883. Taylor had run a much smaller store across the road for many years and in 1897 half of the interest of the store was sold to W.W. Mast, a member of a pioneer family that settled in the valley. The store was known as Taylor and Mast General Store until 1913 when the remaining half of the store was purchased by Mast.
For the next 60 years, the store was owned and operated by the Mast Family. During that time, the store carried all the items that neighbors might need from plows to cloth and “cradles to caskets” which led to the popular saying, “if you can’t buy it here, you don’t need it.”’
Operation of the store was passed down through the family and continued to provide for the needs of the community. The store was sold by the Mast Family in 1973 to a doctor in Atlanta and a professor at Appalachian State University. Around that time, the site was named to the National Register of Historic Places as one of the finest remaining examples of an old country store.
In 1977, the store closed its doors, and Valle Crucis residents banded together to save the old store. John and Faye Cooper purchased the Mast Store and reopened it in June of 1980, creating a precedent of the Mast Store coming into communities and reviving their Main Streets. The Valle Crucis Post Office reopened in October of 1980, thus giving the valley back its identity, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The operation has expanded in much the same manner as when Mast was operating the establishment. The Annex was opened in 1982, the Old Boone Mercantile was opened in 1988, the Little Red Schoolhouse was opened in 1991, the Hendersonville location was opened in August 1995, a store in Asheville opened in 1999 and the first location outside of North Carolina is located on Main Street in Greenville, SC.
The 1909 Annex building, just down the road from the Original Mast Store in Valle Crucis, houses the Mast’s famous variety of casual fashions from Woolrich, Northern Isles and Columbia along with others and outdoor gear from Royal Robbins, MSR, Gregory, Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear. In the same building is a nostalgic haven for sweet tooth sufferers, where you will find barrels simply overflowing with more than 500 varieties of confections from the past including Mary Janes, Squirrel Nut Zippers and wax bottles. At one time a competing general store, the Annex has held numerous titles including Watauga Supply Co., and the Valle Crucis Company. Inside, the historic walls are fashioned from wormy chestnut cut from now extinct American chestnut trees that once covered the gentle slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. The track ladder along the left wall remains where shopkeepers from the past fetched down overalls and other piece goods for their customers.
The Boone location of the Mast General Store is located 630 West King Street in downtown Boone. With two stories of merchandise and a huge “candy barrel” for those with a sweet tooth, the Boone location brings all of the amenities of the original stores to the town of Boone.
Original Store hours:
Monday through Saturday from 7am to 6:30 pm
Sunday from noon to 6pm
Annex Store hours:
Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm
Sunday from noon to 6pm