Mountain Grove General Store serves community and travellers

It hasn’t been quite a year yet that the new operator of the Mountain Grove General store took the reins, and he’s been hard at work ever since.

“My name is Bryan Vandigo, and I’m the owner and operator of the Mountain Grove General Store.”

Several yeas back, Bryan travelled from his home in Ohio to North Carolina by way of the Allegheny Highlands. Once he noticed a for sale sign right along Route 39.

”And I had seen the store before, and I had never stopped. But I saw the sign, and figured I would call and see what was going on with it, and went through and just pursued and went through the correct steps to get the store. And it’s a beautiful area, so I thought I’d give it a shot.”

Like many who find the beauty of the area, and serene surroundings what draws them here, he was taking somewhat of a chance.

“Did you have any experience with retail or marketing or anything like that before?”

“I didn’t have any experience with retail before; this is the first time in my life I’ve run a cash register. Thinking back, I did work at a grocery store for a minute. It wasn’t very long, but I do have some restaurant experience.”

Construction and clean-up skills have been pretty valuable as well.

Bryan’s inventory is going to increase, and change with the seasons according to what customers who come through need.

“Do you want to tell us a little bit about what you’ll have this spring?”

“I’d like to increase my inventory to some of the people that use the lake, and maybe sell some boating supplies, rope, lifejackets, things like that, not a huge selection, just small like if you’re in an emergency, other grocery items, just workin’ on stocking all that right now. We’ll have an ABC license soon. I will have beer and wine, and also I will have ice, ice for the summer time.”

“What would you think maybe one of the challenges has been for you that you didn’t expect?”

“One of the challenges that I didn’t expect was, I knew I was going to be working a lot. I guess I didn’t realize exactly how much and, just the fact of building up a business and doing repairs to the facility at the same time. It’s a big time expense, and actually as things go on, it’s getting better, like it’s not such an intense amount of time with repair and stuff like that as I get things done, get some inventory built up, and kind of learn how a business is run, and find ways that can help me save time, but that was definitely the Number One biggest challenge so far.”

**Along with challenges, also comes the gift of a new community glad to know he’s here.

“So far almost every experience I’ve had with people in the area has been really positive. People definitely are supporting me, and I feel warm and welcome, and feel like people are happy that I’m here to build the business, and keep it going; so it’s been a positive experience from everyone that I’ve met so far in the county.”

“Is there anything you’d like to send out to repeat customers, and then potential customers too, as the season changes?”

“Yeah, I’d like to thank all of my customers that come in on a regular basis. I really appreciate their business and their support, and also, would like to say to customers that haven’t been to the area, to stop in and check it out. Over time I’ll be building inventory, and having more things to offer, so just keep checking back, and see what I have going on.” So whether you’re travelling from Warm Springs to Minnehaha or Marlinton, or spend most of your time in downtown Mountain Grove know that Bryan will be there, and strives to have just what you need.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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