Good food and unexpected entertainment
Not all general stores have gone the way of such classic TV shows as Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons, which featured the mercantile as a character integral to the storyline. Many of these community treasures continue to thrive as a gathering place and event site.
“We have regulars that meet for their morning coffee and fellowship,” says Sarah Hunley Tallman of Hunley’s Grocery in Wisdom in Metcalfe County. Hunley Tallman is the daughter of Elbert Royce Hunley Jr. and Martha Hunley, who took over the store from Elbert and Mary Hunley in 1992 when Mary passed away.
A central hub for the Alvaton community about 10 miles from Bowling Green, Boyce’s General Store has become the place for the locals to “get all the news about loved ones,” says Brie Golliher. Also known as the Pie Queen, she has owned the store with husband, Brad Golliher, since 2012.
Boyce’s celebrated 150 years in business in 2019. The store was built in 1869 by Rev. Bill Lightfood and has become a symbol of Southern hospitality, where folks can enjoy authentic and delicious homestyle cooking.
“Over the last seven years we have really focused on making the store a destination for the community and people visiting the area,” says Brie Golliher. “We support Kentucky farmers by buying almost 75% of our product from Kentucky Proud farms.”
Also famous as the home of the Pie Queen, Boyce’s serves up such sweet masterpieces as Brie Golliher’s coconut cream, chocolate meringue and peanut butter fudge pies.
Each spring, Historic Penn’s Store hosts an event built around Kentucky Writer’s Day. Formerly known as the Kentucky Writer’s Day Celebration, it was renamed the Jeanne Penn Lane Celebration of Kentucky Writers in 2018.
“This was in honor of my late mother, who founded the Penn’s Store celebration of the state event,” says Jeanne’s daughter and current owner, Dawn Lane Osborn. The event will be held during May this year with a kick-off event at the end of April. (See Penn’s Facebook page for details.)
Penn’s also hosts planned and spontaneous music jams, both popular with the musicians, locals and tourists.
“Kentucky is blessed with many talented folks,” says Osborn, “And we’ve also enjoyed the talents of folks ‘just passing through’ who have graced us with their musical abilities.”
This includes a couple who visited the store in 2018 while celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary. “The husband announced he had on his bucket list to play his guitar on the porch at Penn’s, so I invited him to get out his guitar and ‘take it away,’” recalls Osborn. “For the next few hours, he entertained locals and tourists with his renditions of country classics and an original or two. As we’ve always said, you just never know what to expect at Penn’s Store.”