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Mast General Store to open in downtown Winston-Salem in the spring

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FILE PHOTO: The main entrance for the Mast General Store will be on Trade St. in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. The two upper floors will be residential, with the store occupying 15-16,000 sq. feet on the main and basement floors. (David Rolfe/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Mast General Store Inc. has set May for the opening of its store in downtown Winston-Salem, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

“We are busy working on the interior now,” said Sheri Moretz, community relations manager for Mast General Store. “We have cut the hole in the floor for the monumental staircase to take people downstairs to the outdoor and shoe departments.”

Mast General Store plans to use as much of the building’s original flooring as possible. The original wood floors are stamped “Biltmore Lumber Co. Pisgah National Forest.”

“There are places where it’s been damaged and we can’t use the wood, so we’re replacing it with reclaimed wood,” Moretz said.

Mast General Store is going into the bottom two floors of the former Coe Plaza at 516 N. Trade St. The store will have a main entrance off Trade Street, and a second entrance from the parking deck at Sixth, Cherry and Trade streets.

Village Lofts, a 48-unit apartment complex, is under development above Mast General Store.

A model apartment opened in September and all apartments will be ready by Nov. 15, said Jeff Prioreschi, a principal owner of developer US Development.

Village Lofts’ main entrance is at 511 N. Cherry St. Residents will also have access to the apartments from the first and second floors by way of the parking deck.

“We have some people signing up now,” Prioreschi said.

Mast General Store bought the 64,000-square-foot T-shaped property on Trade, Fifth and Cherry streets, and will operate the building through a joint partnership with US Development and Mashburn Construction of Columbia, S.C.

City Plaza LLC, which is owned by the principals of US Development and Mashburn Construction, will own the apartments.

The Winston-Salem City Council approved a $1.27 million incentive package for the project in September 2012.

Built in 1928, the former Coe Plaza was originally home to the Brown-Rogers-Dixson Co. hardware store. The property is a contributing building in the Downtown North Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Michelle McCullough, a historic resource officer for the City-County Planning and Development Services Department, said the redevelopment of the building is a good thing.

“It is another feather in our cap downtown,” McCullough said.

Terry Moore, facilities manager for Mast General Store, said that when renovations began on the new store, workers found offices, drop ceilings and carpet in the building.

“To be able to come in and take what people have done over years and years and take it all back to what the building was when it was originally built is gratifying,” Moore said. “Even the storefront is going back. It’s as close to the original. We’ve got all the original pictures from the Brown-Rogers-Dixson hardware company that was here.”

Mast General Store was founded in 1883 in Valle Crucis, near Grandfather Mountain. The retailer’s new store in Winston-Salem will have 15,000 square feet of retail space and 30 employees.

It is designed to mimic the feel of an old-fashioned country store. Items include candy, rocking chairs made in North Carolina, tents, traditional fashion clothing, shoes, cookbooks and outdoor gear.

Moretz said that every Mast General Store has its own “little quirks and things that are a little bit different about it. We carry most everything you need for life, and we have something for everybody from 2 to 102.”

She said that a lot of the inventory in the retailer’s Winston-Salem store will be similar to what is offered in other Mast Generals.

But she said, “Then we’ll try to carry some things that are made in Winston-Salem or some things that would be more appropriate for the needs of the city.”