I bought my first television from Vernon Baker in 1965 and packed it along with the rest of my belongings into my 57 Ford when I left Floyd to start college and a career in journalism.
Baker had bought into the business, then called Harris Furniture, two years earlier. His store occupied the building on Locust Street next to the Amoco Station.
The Amoco station is long gone. Soon, Harris & Baker Furniture will join the Amoco Station, Rakes Chevrolet, Thomas (later Skyline) Ford and many other businesses in the dust bin of Floyd history. After several months of trying, and failing, to find a buyer for the business, Harris and his wife will sell off the remaining inventory and retire.
I walked the streets of Floyd Wednesday and thought about the many businesses that were once part of the town: Moses Restaurant, Rutrough Drugs, Western Auto, Ben Franklin. My mother and I lived in an apartment over Hobacks Furniture Store on Main Street. Hobacks is gone. So is the building. The employee parking lot for The Bank of Floyd sits in that location.
Sears once had a catalog outlet in the building on Main Street now owned by Baker and occupied by his furniture store. Of course, Sears once had a catalog. No more.
A few long time businesses remain: Farmers Supply, where Janice Yearout-Patton greets customers by their first names; C.W. Harman’s Farm Supply Business, Ingram’s, Wills Ridge, etc. Turman-Yeatts, the last surving new car dealership in Floyd, is now aprt of the Harvey Automotive empire.
Many of Floyd’s newer businesses serve the area’s growing artistic and musical community and reflect the changing town: Oddfellas (upscale dining), Cafe del Sol (gourmet coffee), Harvest Moon (health food) and Bell Gallery & Garden (photography, arts and crafts) among others. Floyd has more web designers than gas stations.
The Floyd Country Store is a mix of old and new. The new lunch counter brings back memories of Giles Lee Rutrough’s lunch counter and soda fountain at his drug store. Locals can grab a bite to eat while tourists buy t-shirts, CDs and yuppified Carhartt "country" clothing. And, of course, there’s the Friday Night Jamboree.
Some say change comes slowly to a place like Floyd but our community has changed more in the last four years than it did in the 40 years I was gone. A new public restroom serves visitors (when it is open), wider sidewalks with alcoves give musicians a place to play on Friday nights. Renovated storefronts line both Main and Locust Streets. The Village Green occupies the old Farmers Supermarket location and the Village Square will soon open in the building that once housed Vernon Baker’s furniture store — where I bought my first TV set 43 years ago.