When Gloria Hilderbran and Diane Reese bought a downtown Powder Springs building to house their antique business 15 years ago, their first task was removing old egg cartons nailed to the ceiling.
A dance studio had once called the building home, and the cartons helped with acoustics. The business partners counted each one as they took them down—2,004 in all—and Hilderbran jokingly calls it their “first major task.”
She laughs now at the tediousness of it, but “it wasn’t funny when we were trying to get all of those down.”
Hilderbran isn’t sure what the last memory will be when the closes its doors at the end of July, but she does know what memories she’ll miss most: the older members of the community coming in and telling stories of their parents taking them shopping when it was a general store.
“Most of them can remember buying their first pair of shoes in here,” she said. “One little old lady came in here and told us she remembers her first pair of black patent leather shoes. … That was a big deal to little girls.”
The store closing will be the start of 73-year-old Hilderbran’s retirement, while Reese, in her 50s, will continue to be a manager at in the .
“It was hard for me. It was not as hard for her,” Hilderbran said. “I’ve been (in the antique business for) 45 years and I love it, and I’m thinking: ‘What am I going to do?’ Once you start buying and selling antiques, I don’t think you quit. I think you kind of die doing that.”
Before the last day on July 31, items will be discounted up to 50 percent. The store is open Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Country Store Roots
Hilderbran and Reese went into business together 16 years ago and opened up the Country House, which was, like the Country Store, located on Powder Springs’ most iconic road, Marietta Street. But seven months in, it burned down and they bought the Country Store, which sells antiques and modern-day items made to look old.
“Most younger people want the look but not necessarily the antiques,” Hilderbran said.
The building is divided into three sections—the recognizable front white section with the Coca-Cola painting, an old stable in the back, and a middle portion joining the two.
The stable is estimated to date as far back as the 1830s and was used to hold horses for a nearby hotel when tourists would come from all over for the city’s medicinal springs. It’s considered by some to be Powder Springs’ oldest standing structure.
The front section can be traced back to the 1860s through census records, but Hilderbran doesn’t know how long it was there before then. The wooden sales counter used today likely dates back to the building’s original years, she said.
“Just looking at it and the way it was constructed and the wood—I would think it went back to the late 1860s,” she said.
Along with the dance studio, the building has also been a blacksmith shop and a general store, which “sold everything,” including cotton and livestock food, because it was “probably the only store around here,” Hilderbran said.
In 2006, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places under two names: the Butner—Mctyre General Store, and the House Family Blacksmith Shop.
The next inhabitant: a quilt shop.
Kiwi Quilts, which sells supplies and offers classes, is set to move into the store in the fall from its location near Florence Road and Highway 278 .
Regardless of what tenants come and go from the building, Hilderbran noted how one thing will remain constant—“The history will always be here.”