Chelsea store stocks old and new for the New Year

Danolyn “Nana” Poole, Lori Harris, co-owners Mary and Dale Neuendorf, Wendy McDougal, Nita Stringfellow, Gary Stringfellow enjoy Chelsea General Stores’ grand opening on Dec. 18.  (contributed)

Danolyn “Nana” Poole, Lori Harris, co-owners Mary and Dale Neuendorf, Wendy McDougal, Nita Stringfellow, Gary Stringfellow enjoy Chelsea General Stores’ grand opening on Dec. 18. (contributed)

By SHELBA NIVENS/Community Columnist

When Chelsea City Councilman Dale Neuendorf was a child, he loved spending time at his grandfather’s old country store in South Carolina.

Today, as an adult, he has one of his own in Chelsea.

Chelsea General Store, Dale and Mary Neuendorf’s new enterprise, celebrated its grand opening and ribbon cutting Dec. 18. Tent Sale will run until Jan. 7, while they continue stocking both old and new items.

The store has camping gear, lots of Army surplus clothing and military items in cases, on racks, shelves and wall. A “neat find” Clint Schert, the store’s general manager, thinks especially interesting is a folding, military trench spade.

Merchandise includes tools, heaters, emergency items for hunters, food like nuts and Amish goods, an odd assortment of household goods, one-of-a-kind items—some they haven’t yet identified—and more.

Noting that Chelsea did not have a general store, although the town continued to grow, Neuendorf felt a general store would fill a need in the community, he said. And it would be fun to own and operate.

Struck with a creative idea around 3 a.m. one day, Dale did a quick sketch of how he wanted the front of the building to look. An artist friend filled in with paint to give a mural artist an idea of how to paint it. The results hang on the wall of a seating area in the store.

Dale said they plan to have free popcorn in the afternoon from an old-fashioned popcorn machine. He hopes to replace the current for-sale heater with a functional wood-burning one in the seating area, and perhaps set up a checker board. He wants it to be a real gathering place for the community, like the old-fashioned general store where people drop in, sit and visit; have a snack and cold drink or coffee; and shop for things like hardware and tools not found in other local stores.

He noted that the store is also convenient for people traveling U.S. 280.

More than 100 people attended the store’s opening, including Mayor Earl Niven, city council and chamber of commerce members.

“We’d like to thank everyone who came,” Neuendorf said. “We’re proud to be part of such an awesome community!”

Chelsea General Store is located at 14555 Highway 280, next door to Chelsea Antique Mall. Visit Facebook.com/chelseageneralstore.