Selling the store … keeping the memories

Pat behind the counter in the old store

Lorane – As many of you already know, Jim and I have owned the Lorane Family Store in Lorane for almost 43 years now. In 1926, Bill Mitchell and his wife Hattie bought the land on both sides of the road, where the store currently sits. Their home still sits across the street and in 1932, they sold the small parcel of land to Earl C. Herendeen, a cousin, where he put a small barbershop and service station. He only had it for two years, however, when he sold it back to Bill and Hattie in 1934. They added on to the barbershop building several times and established it as a grocery store that they ran as the Lorane Service Station until we bought it from them in December 1977 following Bill’s tragic death resulting from a robbery and his kidnapping from the store in 1969. During the time following his death, his daughter, Estelle Mitchell Counts, ran the store for her mother and family until Hattie’s death in 1977. Ironically, the Mitchell family also had it for 43 years.

Jim and I have had the store on the market for the past two years because we are no longer able to run it ourselves and … it’s time. We will soon be handing the reins over to another family who we are in the process of selling it to. In one of my columns this month, I will introduce the new owners to you. We are so excited to see it passing from our hands to theirs, and I think the community of Lorane will be, too.

The Mitchells and the Edwards have seen many highs and lows occur that impacted not only the store, but the community, too, in some cases. Some of the lows were quite memorable. In 1973-1974, while the Mitchell’s still owned it, the world went through an oil crisis where the price of a barrel of oil increased 400%. In Lorane and elsewhere, gasoline was at a premium. Drivers of cars lined up at the gas pumps without knowing if the gas would run out before they got enough in their cars to get to work. Gas prices reached the unheard-of price of $1 a gallon.

Bill Mitchell’s kidnapping and robbery of the Lorane Service Station was the most devastating crime that happened there, but Jim and I also had several break-ins during our tenure … the most dramatic being a stolen semi-truck cab that crashed into the front part of the store so that the crooks could attach a cable to our ATM machine inside and pull it out. It was found a few days later on Ham Road.

We are hoping to feel a sense of joy and relief, as well as nostalgia when we hand over the keys to the new owners in August, but this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has added stress and concern for the welfare of not only our customers, but our employees, as well. With our family’s help, we have been able to keep the shelves stocked with items that are needed locally to try to save community members from having to make frequent runs into town. Our daughter, Gloria, hung a clear plastic curtain from the ceiling in front of the counter to help contain any viral spread between customers and staff, and we have maintained distancing of at least six feet for those inside the store. 


Contact Pat through her website, http://allthingslorane.com

Jim behind the counter in the old store.



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