In 1939 Bass Mercantile was the center of everything for the Owens and Parton families.
It truly was more than just a store. Bass Mercantile and country stores of its kind served as the center of communication, exchange and much more. The tall shelves of the mercantile were stocked with gingham fabrics in every color. Customers could find sturdy work gloves, brand new overalls and much more. It was a place to shop for brogan shoes to wear in the winter and other store-bought items.
Mountain folks like Billy Owens could pick up a box of nails and a pound of sugar in one visit. It’s also where Applejack could find a new set of banjo strings. And if something needed to be ordered it could be found within the pages of the tried and true Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog.
The Mercantile also served as the hub of communication for the town. Often these stores housed the Post Office. They displayed everything from help wanted ads to wanted posters of outlaws. Folks gathered on the porch of the store to hear the latest news from Knoxville and Nashville, TN. Updates even trickled in from President Roosevelt in Washington, DC.
At Bass Mercantile, the Owens and Parton families would have eagerly awaited news about the Smoky Mountain Family games. And when Avie Lee and Lee announced their wedding, you can bet the news was passed around Bass Mercantile for days on end.
Today, the items on the shelves of Bass Mercantile have changed a little but the warm, friendly atmosphere is the same.
Photos courtesy of Sevierville Historical Society
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