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Is new life possible for historic Driftwood store?

Having grown up in Driftwood during her childhood, Lisa Elliott remembers how the Driftwood General Store and Post Office was essentially the “hub of everything.”

The building functioned as the closest place for area residents to purchase feed for their livestock, send a letter, or catch up on the local gossip.

“Everyone knew everyone in town on a first-name basis,” Elliott said. “It was so friendly and wonderful growing up there.”

The Driftwood Historical Conservation Society is negotiating with Driftwood Store owner Dan Winters to buy the building located in downtown Driftwood in order to preserve it. Above, a couple takes pre-wedding photos at the iconic building. (photo by Bill Peary)

The Driftwood Historical Conservation Society is negotiating with Driftwood Store owner Dan Winters to buy the building located in downtown Driftwood in order to preserve it. Above, a couple takes pre-wedding photos at the iconic building. (photo by Bill Peary)

While the store no longer operates, one group is planning to possibly purchase the structure in an effort to preserve its heritage.

The Driftwood Historical Conservation Society (DHCS) earlier this month kick-started plans to possibly purchase the store.

Casey Cutler, DHCS director, said the society hopes to preserve the facility for generations to come.

“It’s a living heritage. That’s what’s so fascinating about it. The community has a sense of it being there … We hope to preserve it and keep it a living heritage.”
Casey Cutler, DHCS director

Cutler said the idea for purchasing the store was first brought up about six months ago. At that time, the DCHS discovered Dan Winters, a local photographer who owns the property the store current is on, was in the process of selling the store.

Since then, the DCHS, with the help of Jon Jones, who is Winter’s neighbor and is part of the society, began informal talks on negotiating a price “that everyone feels is reasonable,” Cutler said.

He said Winters has joined Jones at meetings, where they all realize the focal point is to “preserve it for generations.” He said discussion “naturally evolved,” as Winters talked about the possibility of selling the store as he doesn’t live in it.

“If we can, to do that would be a very important landmark for this area,” Cutler said.

How the society could pay for such a purchase, however, is something they need to work out, Cutler said.

Currently, the DHSC is in the process of obtaining its non-profit designation.

Discussing what they could do with the storefront is also a topic of conversation as well.

Cutler said the society is talking with Winters about his wishes for the property.

Should the DHCS purchase the store, one use could be to utlize it as a community center, Cutler said.

Another could be a community coffee house, which would allow residents to “catch up with what’s going on with the locals,” he said.

“We’ve been dreaming of what we can do with it,” Cutler said.

One idea Elliott had was to turn the walls of the building into a tribute to many of the older residents in the area.

She believes the store could be revitalized as a general store once again.

“Not necesarilly a liquor store or a beer stop, but a kind of place where you can get some of the essentials needed by the community to save a trip.”

For Cutler, the Driftwood store is “everyone’s history.” He said many Driftwood residents have taken photos of themselves in front of it.

The priority is to ensure the store keeps standing for years to come.

“It’s just like Camp Ben McCullough. These are time capsules,” Cutler said. “Members of the community will come back to this place for decades.”

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