April 29, 2014. LifeStore began operations in 1939 as Ashe County Building and Loan Association and is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
“We are proud of our history and want to celebrate the accomplishments of this institution and the communities that have supported us through the years,” said Judy Current, marketing and public relations director.
West Jefferson businessman Glenn B. Graybeal founded the Ashe Building and Loan in January 1939 which for 12 years offered only home loans and sold shares in the company. The company added more savings options in 1951 when it transitioned to Ashe Savings and Loan. The company became Ashe Federal Savings and Loan in 1982 and AF Bank in 1997. In 1999, AF Bank opened a branch office in Boone operating as Appalachian First. The following year, it purchased the Cameron Harris insurance agency on Shadowline Drive. In October 2004 AF Bank and AF Insurance in Boone moved into their new home at 1675 Blowing Rock Road. The company changed its name to LifeStore in September 2009.
“With all the products we offer today, we are most proud to say we are still a local hometown bank with FDIC backed deposits and loans that are locally approved by people who still live in this community,” said Current. “We still operate locally, make local decisions and support our communities.”
The celebration will extend throughout 2014. Employees, customers and the community will have many opportunities to be involved. On Friday, June 20 there will be a grand celebration.
“We have a number of employees who are working to make the celebration something memorable for everyone,” Current said. “We will be releasing more details on this event soon.”
LifeStore Financial Group, headquartered in West Jefferson, provides banking, investment and insurance services. It is a federally chartered thrift holding company that owns 100% of the common stock of LifeStore Bank (Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender) and operates branches in Boone, Jefferson, Warrensville and West Jefferson. LifeStore Insurance is an independent insurance agency that serves these markets along with Elkin, Lenoir, North Wilkesboro and Sparta.