A gift for everyone is the slogan for Carolyn Tolbert-Procter’s store Longtown Gift Depot in Boonville.
The store, which held its ribbon cutting event on Nov. 9, is located at the intersection of Longtown Road and Ralph Road in Boonville.
The store was originally built in the 1950s and has served as a gas station, general store and grocery store over the years. It has been particularly popular amongst Starmount High School students because they could stop in for a quick snack or drink before classes.
Proctor said that she bought the location 12 years ago because she felt a calling from the Lord. She didn’t know what she wanted to do with it at the time and her late husband couldn’t understand her motivation.
“I bought this place and told my husband that I felt that the Lord was telling me that I needed to buy this building,” Proctor said. “For years my husband would say that he wished the Lord would tell him why I decided to buy the building.”
Proctor said she spent 27 years serving as a nurse for Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem before retiring. She opened her first business next To Yadkin Valley Seafood after having been retired from a year.
Proctor had no previous experience in running a retail store but she said she felt a strong passion for merchandising.
“I knew nothing about merchandising,” Proctor said. “I would sit up at night after work and look at books of merchandise and I just had a love for it. I think my love comes from my Pappy Jim Long because he always traded and bartered and he had a little store at the end of the road not far from here. That’s where people always did their shopping in this area.”
Proctor said that the Yadkinville location was a similar gift shop store in a larger space. She stayed at that location for five years before closing.
“I closed the store in Yadkinville because my mom was sick and in hospice,” Proctor said. “I closed the store in 2009 and my husband died a few months later of lung cancer and we didn’t even know he was sick.”
Proctor said that after she remarried to James Proctor this year she decided that she wanted to go on a new business venture at the store that spoke to her 12 years earlier.
“I just recently married earlier this year,” Proctore said. “We just got to talking about doing this and James works in computer clean up so we decided to go into business together.”
Proctor said that her husband’s company is called Raven’s Nest and will also operate out of the gift shop location.
The store offers a wide variety of items such as collegiate gifts, pet related items, jewelry, pocketbooks, scarves, home décor, candles and collectible items from Willowtree and Jim Shore.
“I try to offer a variety of things,” Proctor said. “I try to find things that everyone might be interested in.”
Proctor said that she plans to start offering drinks and snacks at the shop to encourage Starmount High and Starmount Middle School students and their families to stop in before and after school.
Proctor said that while many people doubted the success of the store in its rural location and in a struggling economy she has faith that this is the right move for her.
“When I started the business a lot of people said I was crazy,” Proctor said. “They asked me what I was thinking going back into business with the economy being so bad but I believe in living and doing what makes you happy. Life is too short not to do things I enjoy. I have a very positive outlook that the store will be successful.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.