CARTERSVILLE, Va. -- “An experience to remember. Come on in."
Whatever your retail heart desires - whether its hodge or podge. Blanton and Pleasants in Cartersville puts the general in store.
“If you can’t find it holler,” says Spanky Pleasants. “I hate to tell someone I don’t have anything.”
From snow skis and snow boots to Christmas cards, plumbing supplies, and antique roadsters. They have it at this general store in downtown Cartersville. They’ll even sell the junk from your attic.
“That is one way we stay in business. Anytime we get something for nothing and you sell it for a dollar that is 100% profit,” says Spanky.
The driving force behind this cornucopia? James Spanky Pleasants.
“It is a labor of love,” says Spanky. “Out of those 90 years I’ve been here 59 of them.”
“There is nobody like Spanky,” says his granddaughter
Spanky shoulders a long tradition. A family business that opened in 1929.
“Still try to get the best service possible. That is what we got to give is service,” says Spanky.
No one remembers Cumberland County without this landmark.
“It’s been here a long, long time.”
Blanton and Pleasants was the big box of its time.
“We tell the story that we were the Walmart before there was a Walmart,” says Spanky.
The institution serves as a grocery store, gas station, and a gathering spot.
Customer Dave Hale has been a familiar face since 1991.
“I’m in here four times a day if I got nothing to do,” says Hale.
Spanky Pleasants always has plenty to do. The 75-year-old knows every inch of the building.
“We’ve got some obsolete vacuum cleaner bags. If you can’t find it somewhere you come to Blanton and Pleasants,” says Spanky. “At one time in the village there were seven stores. Just in Cartersville. And we’re the only one left.”
Spanky guides to just the right the spot. Spanky not only makes you feel pleasant. You can leave with a new look too. Spanky’s barber chair is set up right in the middle of the store.
Once a staple across the American landscape, stores like this couldn’t compete against behemoths. But Blanton and Pleasants has survived well into the 21st century by adapting. Spanky’s After Dark opens for monthly concerts in the back room.
“It draws the community together,” says Spanky. “My goal is to make Cartersville a destination if you want to put it that way.”
Spanky doesn’t plan on retiring but says his store is in good hands.
His granddaughter Kim is the general manager.
“Once people get a taste of back there. Or here and all of it. They love it. They want to come back,” says Kim.
Blanton and Pleasants is a 90-Year-old institution where customers walk in but leave as friends.
“We’ve been blessed that is for sure,” says Spanky. “I like happy people and I like happy endings. I watch Hallmark on television because I like happy endings. Consequently, Blanton and Pleasants has been a happy ending to me.”
If you would like to celebrate 90 years of history, Blanton and Pleasants is holding Spanky Fest on May 18th. There will be food, music, and fun in Cartersville.
If you know of someone I should feature in my “I Have a Story” email me at firstname.lastname@example.org