By Nathan Ham
At Tuesday’s Beech Mountain town council meeting, Fred and Margie Pfohl were surprised with a proclamation celebrating the 40th year of Fred’s General Mercantile in the Beech Mountain community.
Fred, who is a committee member for recreation in the town, came to the meeting believing there was an issue involving recreation that was added to the agenda. The event came as a total surprise for the Pfohls.
Longtime friend and former employee Jim Brooks was there to speak about the store and its importance to everyone in the community.
“It’s been fun following the store from the ground breaking and through the years. We are very lucky that Margie and her family moved here permanently to the vacation home on Pond Creek Road and married Fred,” said Brooks.
Fred’s General Mercantile came into fruition after the couple noticed the high cost of food and the limited inventory of items available at the 7-11, which happened to the only store in town. Having to pay those high prices was hard on families, Brooks said.
“Over the years, Fred and Margie, through the store, have tried to fulfill as many needs as possible for our community,” said Brooks.
The Pfohls played a big part in a lot of things in Beech Mountian, including having Christmas Trees along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pine Ridge Road, offering jobs and providing a mentor to many teenagers throughout the years, providing weather data for Ray Russell, WECR and Eric Thomas, as well as starting and supporting numerous events (Sunday Concerts, Crafts on the Green and providing a cook site and ticket sales for the Pig Roast).
“Fred also has been able to promote our community through his free use of the guest quarters and the extra time to serve locally with Mountain Home Music, Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust, the United Way, ushering at Lees-McRae Theatre and serving on the town recreation committee developing and helping with their projects,” Brooks said. “The list could go on, and I hope it does in the future, but more than anything, I think the store has and does give our town more of a feeling of community than any of the other resort towns in this area. Let’s hope that it goes for another 40 years.”
The proclamation issued by Beech Mountain Mayor Renee Castiglione states:
Whereas, it all started with an overpriced can of tuna and Fred Pfohl thought the community deserved better,
Whereas, the store was designed by inventor and Fred’s friend, Jack Pentes Jr., who also designed the Land of Oz,
Whereas, Fred’s General Mercantile has employed nearly 600 people during 40 years of business, and the deli has catered to visitors, residents and Margie’s construction workers, where all can enjoy Margie’s original chili recipe to this day,
Whereas, in December of 1991, Fred’s became the official reporting station for the National Weather Service,
Whereas, Fred’s Mercantile has been open 14,612 consecutive days as of today, February 11, 2019, and as the saying goes, “if we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”
Whereas, Margie and Fred Pfohl have contributed to the growth and prosperity of Beech Mountain; and Fred has served on the first Town Council as well as governed as Mayor,
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Fred’s General Mercantile is a ‘mom and pop’ establishment that functions as an essential and beloved gathering place for the community of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, and has preserved the character of our neighborhood. In keeping with the time-honored tradition of recognizing and honoring its important citizens, the Town of Beech Mountain does hereby extend its gratitude to Mr. & Mrs. Fred Pfohl for service and contributions to this mountain community.
Signed this date: February 11, 2019