Melissa Cordell- L Town Radio Staff Reporter August 29, 2019
Residents of Terrell and others living as far as California were shocked when the Terrell Country Store managers announced the building is planned for demolition. But the managers who lease the building, Bob Sysol and Jo Ireland, think that can be changed now at a September Catawba County Commissioners meeting.
According to the tenants, Since 1863, this building has housed many different shops and businesses. It started as a general store and has since housed antiques and similar items, with perhaps its most unique venture being a place to purchase coffins.
Sysol dreamed of having a chance at the historic building since being a vendor in the previous shop that occupied the building. Finally, in 2013, he and his wife were able to take the keys and turn it into the antique place of their dreams. “One of the old locals around here knew that I loved the place so much. As soon as she heard they [the previous proprietors] were going out, she called me up, and I jumped right on it.”
Sysol hopes that Catawba County Commissioners will decide to delay the demolition of the building for a year to see if the building can be relocated safely to another spot. “The way that it is sort of turning out now– if this building is able to be moved, I really believe it’s going to be moved and saved. There are so many people that want it to happen,” he said.
It’s not just a personal thing to the managers because their shop occupies the building, with Sysol stating that he would be happy to relocate. “So many people are up in arms about it that they [developers] are willing, in my opinion, to work with us a little bit to see if something can be done with the store, so they don’t have to tear it down,” he said. “That’s a good thing. If we can save this building somehow, we need to, because they’re just tearing down the treasures.”
According to Jacky Eubanks, Catawba County Planning and Parks Director, the Terrell General Store is currently on a “voluntary district” on the National Register of Historic Places. While the building sits in this district means that the owner has the right to demolish the building or to relocate it. L Town Radio Station General Manager Matthew Burton attempted to reach out to the owner for comment multiple times with no response. Eubanks went on to say that “at this time he is unaware of any plan to demolish the Terrell County Store. As of now, there are no official filings of plans to tear down the building and have not received any plans or inquiries regarding development of the property.
Sysol and Ireland are running in-store and online petitions to show elected officials and decision-makers that the community cares about the future of the historic building. Their in-store petition has over 1,000 signatures, and their outreach on Facebook has been almost 30,000. Sysol said, “we’re having people from California call and say they’re sorry.” Residents have conveyed to Sysol and Iredell that they have talked to historical societies, individual Catawba County Commissioners, and even Governor Cooper.
Sysol and Iredell were told they had to be out by October 1 of this year. If the building is relocated, they don’t know if they will still be in its future. “I’ll be honest, I don’t know. I would love to, but I don’t know,” Sysol said.
He concluded: “If they can save this building in any way they can, it really needs to be done. Everywhere is tearing down history to build new. It’s really a shame.”
Melissa Cordell is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies and is the Staff Reporter to L Town Radio. To email Melissa with a story idea or news tip email at firstname.lastname@example.org