News & Politics

Gas, Grub & Gossip: No Dust on These Floors

Country stores are good places to get what you need and to see everything from friendly faces to ghosts.

Betty Mullenax inside Trent’s Country Store in Arbovale, West Virginia.

In the early 1900s, the Cass Railroad carried logs to the mill in Cass, West Virginia. Now the refurbished steam engine, which boards five miles past Arbovale, helps carry tourists to Trent’s General Store. “I look forward to coming in every day because I get to see the people,” says Betty Mullenax, who sold the store to her daughter and son-in-law in 1992 but still works there. Once a month, the family oils the store’s wooden floors. “It gets dusty if you don’t,” Mullenax says. It gets sweaty, too. There’s no air conditioning, but the steaks, hamburgers, pork chops, and bacon in the walk-in cooler are ice-cold.

Photograph by David Deal