Broyles General Store, a family-owned business on West Main Street, celebrated its 70th anniversary on Saturday.
Hundreds of people showed up for a free hot dog, Moon Pie, and RC Cola to mark the occasion.
Store owner David Broyles greeted customers in what was a festive atmosphere marking the continuous operation of the business since it opened in 1951.
“We had a better response than what we expected,” David Broyles said of Saturday’s celebration.
“Hopefully, it’ll be (open at least) 70 more years,” he added.
David Broyles’ grandfather, Kelly Broyles, opened the general store as a feed and seed supplier for farmers.
As the area economy shifted, so did the general store.
A greenhouse was added in the 1980s, which led to a greatly expanded line of flower and vegetable plants for home gardeners.
Fifteen years ago, the feed and fertilizer warehouse next door was converted into the Garden Emporium. It features an array of home and garden decor, and a large selection of gift items.
In the last decade, according to David Broyles, more lawn and garden supplies were added, as well as a large toy department, and a section with old-fashioned candies.
“My grandfather worked for a chicken hatchery before opening” Broyles General Store in 1951, he said. “Now we sell mostly lawn and garden products.”
David Broyles said he and his sister, Kelly Broyles, took over the business three years ago when their father, who owned it, died. Their nephew works in the store now, and will hopefully continue the business after they’re gone, he said.
John Price, owner of the Top Dog Hot Dog Stand, and his wife, Ella Price, presented David Broyles with a framed poster marking the 70th anniversary of the general store. The artwork was created by David Broyles’ daughter, Emma Broyles.
Mary Fulton, of Greeneville, was at the celebration and purchased a garden flag with the Tennessee state flag on it, and looked at gift items.
“I love coming in here,” she said. “This is my second time shopping this week!”
Debbie Harris and Brittaney Harris heard of the celebration and came to the store to see what they had to sell.
“This is the first time we’ve been here. We like it,” stated Debbie Harris.
David Broyles said on Saturday the store ran out of 280 hotdogs it had acquired for the day, as well as 400 cans of RC Cola.
He estimated 500-600 people stopped by on Saturday. “We had a really good day, a lot of traffic, and no rain,” he said after the celebration ended at 4 p.m.
Each year, hundreds of Tusculum University students, faculty and staff team up and devote some of their time to service projects in honor of Tusculum benefactor Nettie Fowler McCormick.
Dating to 1913, Nettie Day has evolved over the years from a campus-wide neatness competition in honor of McCormick, who notoriously preferred surroundings to be clean and tidy, to a day of civic engagement on and off campus. Due to the pandemic, service activities this year and in 2020’s weeklong rendition of the event are primarily on campus.
Friday was 2021’s “Nettie Day,” and Tusculum’s campus was abuzz with activities that students and group leaders said they were excited would benefit others.
Vicky Johnson Bos, assistant professor of English, worked with her freshman orientation group Friday morning to make jump ropes and dog toys out of T-shirts cut and braided together, which she said was time-consuming but worthwhile. She said she picked the project from a list of options from Amanda Delbridge, assistant director for the Center for Civic Engagement.
“I’m a dog lover, so this was definitely something I wanted to do,” Johnson Bos said.
She said the jump ropes will go to Greeneville’s Isaiah 117 House and the Boys and Girls Club. The dog toys will go to the Humane Society, along with treats made by another orientation group on Friday afternoon.
Visual communications student Landry Tea was part of Johnson Bos’ group.
“This has been super fun,” Tea said Friday morning.
She said she worked on one big, extra-long jump rope the group made especially for the Boys & Girls Club.
“I am just really excited to help give them something,” said Tea. “I love it. I’m happy we can all participate and help out.”
“Nettie Day is one of my favorite days,” Johnson Bos said. “I did my undergraduate here, and I always loved the civic involvement aspect. I just love being at a civic arts institution where we give back.”
In another part of the Niswonger Commons building on campus Friday, other students including Corey Moraux, who moved recently from South Carolina to study sports management at Tusculum, worked on making fleece tie blankets to be given to veterans going through chemotherapy or dialysis at Johnson City’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Moraux said the project had personal significance to him as his family includes both veterans and loved ones battling cancer.
“I’ve never made a blanket before, so it has been a neat experience,” said Moraux. “It has been really fun. Since I’m not from this area, it is so good to feel welcome and to help the community.”
Still more students and faculty built two footbridges and planted several trees near the Doak House Museum with Associate Professor of Public History and Museum Studies Dr. Peter Noll. Noll said that project is a continuation of one started in 2020’s Nettie Week on a wooded part of campus that represents a “multipurpose area that combines nature and agriculture uses with the campus’ cultural history.”
“The bridges are access paths,” Noll explained, for a mile-long trail that is open and accessible to the public as well as Tusculum students. “We’re just trying to make this a pretty place for people to enjoy and spend time.”
The access is along the tree line behind the academy, a small building behind the Doak House.
“It’s a really relaxing area in the woods. It’s very pretty,” said sophomore history student Samantha Nelson, part of Noll’s Nettie Day crew.
“It’s nice at the end of the day to see our work will stick around in the future,” said junior history and museum studies student Eirik Dahlgren. “Usually we work on essays and assignments that get graded, and then that’s it, so it is nice to do something that will stick around.”
Senior history student Andrew Campbell agreed.
“One of the biggest things we’re taught here is civic engagement and community involvement, and especially after COVID, it’s nice to get out and do something for the community again,” said Campbell.
Noll said he hopes to see more visitors from off campus use the area.
“We’ve also built picnic benches and tables,” he said. “I would really like to see some scouts or other community or church groups use the area for camping.”
Delbridge said Friday’s activities also included packing 2,500 food boxes for Second Harvest Food Bank; planting trees; painting what she called kindness rocks with encouraging words to be placed around the community on and off campus; painting special education classrooms at Doak Elementary School and bathrooms at Tusculum Park; cleaning playgrounds at Doak and Tusculum Park; and other work outside at the nature area.
She said one of the goals with Nettie Day is to inspire students to continue their civic engagement after their studies.
“Civic engagement is part of our mission, and this is a way to introduce it so it becomes a lifelong thing,” said Delbridge. “We want to expose them to things they can do beyond college and show them how we can help the community in small ways and make a big difference.”