Shelby Adams brings family legacy from the mountains of North Carolina to Virginia
The story behind VonCanon General Store in Vint Hill is more than a business owner pursuing a dream; it also is one of family support, carrying on a legacy throughout generations, and building relationships in the community. With the support of her parents Angee and Matt Adams, Shelby Adams has created her version of a general store inspired by what she envisions her great-grandparents’ store looked and felt like so many years ago. The history of the space and small town feel of the location in Vint Hill could not be more perfect for this concept.
The VonCanon legacy began way back in the town of Banner Elk, North Carolina. The area was first inhabited by Cherokee Indians who used the Elk River to hunt, and the first European settlers arrived in the 1820s. Martin Banner created the first permanent settlement; as the Banner family grew the area became known as Banner’s Elk and more early settlers began to inhabit the town, including a family by the name of VonCanon. Although the town grew, throughout all the years much of it has remained the same primarily due to a mission to preserve much of the heritage and charm.
Shelby’s great-grandfather is Charles VonCanon, a direct descendent of the founding members of the town. In a book titled Our Living Heritage by Michael Joslin, Charles details memories of his childhood sitting by the fireplace listening to his grandfather’s stories of hunting elk and the toll the Civil War took on the families. “A very outgoing and gregarious people person,” Charles was the mayor of Banner Elk for 28 years. His parents owned several businesses in the town, including the first Ford dealership and a country store. It is Shelby’s fond memories of being told the stories about her great-grandparents adventures in the mountains of North Carolina that inspired her to create a similar type of atmosphere here in Virginia through a country store.
On September 1, 2016, VonCanon General Store held its official ribbon cutting on the front porch of the building that has a long history as part of the Army base, and it’s been successful ever since. Visitors entering VonCanon will first be dazzled by the bins of candy in the front of the store, where many of the neighborhood children can be found taking their time making just the right choice. The recent addition of Dippin’ Dots has surely contributed to the store’s popularity. Angee and Shelby say the kids have really formed a bond with the family by their daily visits. Other items available for purchase include cereal, coffee, creamer, tea, and a refrigerated section with eggs and milk. Shelby wants the community to be able to buy some of the simple necessities of life without traveling far. But there is so much more to see.
Many of the items visitors delight in perusing at VonCanon’s are vintage-inspired decor items handmade by local artists, and unique pieces that can’t be found just anywhere. Handmade metal and wooden signs are displayed throughout the store, furniture is featured in the back section. Shelby has an eye for all things vintage and antique, and makes sure that the pieces will be treasured for years to come. Shelby and Angee are looking for more local crafters and artists to offer customers even more options of charming pieces to add to their homes.
But perhaps even more important to Shelby is the relationship she is forming with the community and the ability to offer a ‘Mayberry’ feel for visitors. She truly wants VonCanon to reflect the stories she heard throughout her childhood as a place where people gathered, relaxed on the porch with a soda and a treat, and got to know one another. There is even talk of a few gentlemen forming a ‘Liar’s Club’ where they sit together to tell stories about when they were younger…kinda like the ‘fish tales’ where the size of the fish increases each time the story is told.
VonCanon General Store is located at 7167 Lineweaver Road in Vint Hill. To learn more, call 540-935-2903 and follow the store on your social media accounts. Or better yet, take a drive to the quaint little area that is starting to feel like a small town in itself, grab a soda and some candy, peruse the merchandise, and take a seat on the porch. You just might hear a tale or two from days gone by.