Rock store reflects history

Published 1:54 pm Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ever wonder about the story behind Perrin & Sons, the small rock building, which is a combination bait shop and service station on Highway 280 in Brook Highland? It contrasts sharply — like an artifact from another era — with glass and steel offices looming nearby.

I remember Perrin & Sons back in the day when Highway 280 was a winding two-lane road. My family drove this route to go to Lake Purdy or Oak Mountain, where we’d spend the day swimming, fishing and having a picnic lunch. Perrin & Sons is where we stopped for minnows and sometimes an Orange Crush soda.

The Perrin family purchased this business in the late 1950s. Now landscaping items — mulch and stone –dominate the Perrin’s exterior lot. And this time of year, firewood is available for purchase. A fruit stand holds vine-ripened Florida tomatoes.

But take a moment to go inside. There’s where you feel taken back in time.

On one wall hangs two large fish caught below Logan Martin Dam, donated by Richard Dotson. An open tank of minnows is just inside the door on the right. Up high and beyond the tank sits a real Bobcat, stuffed of course. Browse the store and you’ll see other creatures, including a squirrel and a mallard duck.

Jamie Perrin took a few minutes away from customers to share a few facts with me. He’s been a part of this business since age seven.

“What inspires you to keep the business going?” I asked.

“It’s a family business. My wife is here helping keep a family tradition going. We enjoy seeing our customers,” he said.

Many things have changed since 1957 — for each of us personally and in the world. Wars have been lost and won, presidents have come and gone; we’ve graduated high school and college, got married, had children, successful careers and have seen our children do so likewise. Some changes have been positive, some painful. A few remnants of past history, like the Perrin’s business, spark pleasant thoughts.

I’m glad for living museums like the Perrin’s family business, a place to reflect on quieter times and bittersweet memories. Spots like this seem harder to come by as time marches on. Stop in, buy a soda and enjoy a sentimental journey for yourself.