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Couple set to reopen general store

December 12, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

INDIAN SPRINGS - In his younger days, Charles "Chuck" Dunn remembers heading over to the old Indian Springs General Store to buy sodas and other things.

Now he and his wife, Jessica, own the store and are living in the other half of the building with their three young sons.

"We're hoping to open in the spring," Dunn said. After working on the house side of the building for eight months, Dunn and his family moved in.

They then turned their attention to the store, which has been updated but with an eye toward preserving the past.

"We put down new wood floors but mixed in with the new wood are strips of the old wood floor," Dunn said. "It really gives the place personality."

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Built in the early 1800s, the store and house burned around 1900 and was rebuilt, according to David Wiles of the Clear Spring District Historical Association.

For about 30 years, Johnny Snyder was the store owner and then the Breeden family had it for a while, Wiles said. In the early 1980s, the store closed.

When the store opens in the spring, it will carry a line of "essential" groceries, soup and sandwiches and lunch meat, as well as off-sale beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and perhaps, hunting and fishing licenses.

"I want to have what the community wants," Dunn said.

While determined to hold onto the old-fashioned general store feeling, Dunn also wants to cater to the needs of residents who have limited time to stop and shop.

"Years ago, they used to deliver groceries out of here," Dunn said. "Our catch will be for customers to send us an e-mail or a faxed order, we'll pack it up and have it ready when the customer arrives," Dunn said.

All that high-tech equipment will be tucked away and an old fashioned cash register found amid the rubble in the store will be front and center on the store counter.

Dunn, 36, was born in Hagerstown but said he grew up in McCoy's Ferry. He is employed by the architecture firm of Robert T. Eckels in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"I was always an artist," he said.

Through a series of jobs, Dunn got into architectural drawings. "David Moats, an architect, was my mentor."

When he was younger, Dunn bought his first house in Hagerstown - a fixer-upper that he brought up to livable status.

Then he moved to Ohio to study architectural engineering. He and Jessica, 29, moved back to Hagerstown, got married and lived in the house Dunn had remodeled.

After a stint in the military, Dunn came back and worked at several architectural firms while he decided on his future.

"Then I figured out what I wanted to do," Dunn said.

He drove past the dilapidated store one day and saw a Lincoln Continental automobile advertised for sale. Dunn called the phone number on the car and a very strange thing happened.

"I called about the car and asked about the property instead," Dunn said.

He and Jessica are now settled into their new home with sons, Cain, Cash and Colt.

"I love the feeling of meeting new people and seeing old friends," Dunn said. "We have already heard a lot of stories but we want to hear more."

Both Chuck and Jessica Dunn agree that their goal is to provide a good service to their neighbors.

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