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Music, Food and More:  T.M. Rickman General Store

By Olu Ben-Shidah and Josh Lohse

Mission statement

“The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee is dedicated to conserving the waters, forests, farms and heritage of the upper Little Tennessee and Hiwassee River Valleys. We work in partnership with private landowners, public agencies and others to conserve land, insuring that the natural beauty, ecological integrity and rural character of our region are preserved for generations to come.”

rickman storeThe T.M. Rickman General Store is a landmark in the town of Cowee in Franklin, N.C. Although a small business, the general store has much in store for its community and anyone willing to travel for a good time.


T.M. Rickman General Store was built by John Hall in 1895. A local entrepreneur by the name of Tom Rickman bought it in 1925 and turned it into the store seen today. Tom and his wife, Fannie, operated the store together and ended up doing it for the duration of their lives. The store became the center of the town. It was a place to shop for general supplies and groceries, a place to vote, a place to learn, a place for town meetings, even a place for friendly gatherings. Everyone was and still is welcomed to the Rickman Store; it was the heart and soul of the town in the 1900’s, and it is exactly the same today.


There is never a dull day at the Rickman Store. A variety of both scheduled and unscheduled activities entertain visitors. Community activities are jam-packed; the community comes out and takes part in singing songs, telling stories and making items such as soaps, ornaments and other knickknacks.  There are living classrooms and many things in the summer for children to continue to learn even after teachers put up the chalk in May. Gardening allows the community and people interested in learning about horticulture to partake in getting to work in the dirt. Picking on the porch is a ball, as is sitting around listening to bands and musicians in a relaxing setting. Also for those who want to buy or sell grown goods such as fruits, vegetables, flowers and more, the weekly tailgate market at Rickman is the place to be


Volunteers at the Rickman Store love what they do and are excited about having helpers contribute. Volunteers can become a part of this historic landmark; all they have to do is participate in the fun activities that are offered. Volunteers would do things like help customers with groceries, help set up the store when preparing for events and weekly markets, help children during summer programs, teach others about the history of the Rickman Store and more. Not only does volunteering help the Rickman Store and the community, it also helps the volunteers, who get the opportunity to learn new things and bring their own skills alive. If you have a talent with music, teaching, or making things, you can put it to use here.


The T.M Rickman General Store has many friends; if you are interested in volunteering or just learning more about the Rickman Store, visit www.rickmanstore.com or contact a long-time friend and worker of the Rickman Store, Elena Carlson, at carlsonelena@yahoo.com or (828) 369-5595.

These profiles were created by the students in Mary Adams's English 303 (spring 2010) class