BY MAGGIE BEAMGUARD, Insider Editor
Walking around the concrete menagerie that is the Log Cabin Country Store is like walking around in a fantastical, 3-D version of Edward Hicks’ “Peaceable Kingdom.” The artist’s painting depicts typically unfriendly beasts coexisting in harmony.
Here on N.C. 211, the lion lives with the sassy pig, the elephant dwells with the seven dwarves, the bear, koala and mermaid hang together — and a Sasquatch leads them. The frog does yoga near the cobra’s den.
It’s a fun, eclectic sight along the commute from Seven Lakes to Pinehurst. But by the end of November, the dragon, wizard, Buddha, St. Francis, alligator, elephant, eagle and polka-dotted pig statuary will be relocated, the latest sacrifices of the eventual road widening.
The inevitable move has been coming for about four years. Not knowing exactly when the DOT’s official notice to vacate was coming created challenges for business owner Kevin Moore.
“It has greatly diminished my product because I didn’t know if I had to leave year to year. So it’s just been a rollercoaster figuring out what to bring in here and not have too much stuff on hand,” he said.
Moore opened the Log Cabin Country Store 20 years ago. The business grew up around the old log cabin that sits at the rear of the property, from which it draws its name. Moore even lived in the cabin for a while before moving to Seven Lakes North.
The country store trade is in his genes, learning it from his father, who started P.R. Moore’s Produce in Biscoe in 1980. He, in turn, learned the trade from his father, who had a country store in Steeds, an unincorporated crossroads up a piece in Montgomery County.
Moore plans to reopen his place within the next year, and he is looking seriously at property along 211. But finding affordable full road frontage has been a challenge. One property he looked at was $1.7 million.
“I can’t be back off the road where they can’t see my product. I’ll lose half my business. A lot of my business is just people seeing what I’ve got and turning around or stopping by on the way to or from Pinehurst,” said Moore.
In the meantime, he will combine his store with his dad’s in Biscoe, located at 213 W. Main St. P.R. Moore’s is similar to Moore’s Log Cabin store but carries more fresh produce and his sister Karen Saunders’ baked goods. “From fried pies to soup, it’s outstanding,” Moore said.
Sampling his sister’s cooking will certainly provide some consolation for Moore, who says he will miss the memories he has made and the camaraderie with the people who visit the store as well as his current short commute.
But Moore is planning a comeback with his characteristic hard work. “You’ve got to work hard in this business and be courteous to everybody and have a fair price,” he said.
His business success also depends on providing high-quality products. Everything he sells is handpicked by him, including the huge variety of seasonal pumpkins and squash he carries year-to-year alongside the motley collection of sculpture.
It’s a labor of love.
“I love being my own boss. I can do polka-dotted pigs to sasquatches you know, and still sell them. I can express the crazy things I like.”
The eye-catching polka dotted pigs are a Log Cabin specialty.
“My daughter and I painted the original one. That’s the big pink one out there,” he said pointing to the enormous stone swine at the front corner of the property. “That was the first one, and then customers come in asking ‘Hey you got any small ones?’ So I started getting all the small ones I could, and it just took off.”
With sightings of Bigfoot in the nearby Uwharrie Forest, the sasquatches are another popular item. Some of his customers have even shared eyewitness accounts of the elusive creature.
“People love the sasquatches, and any kind of dog or cat. People love the animals. And then just the crazy stuff.”
The last day of business for the location on HWY 211 was scheduled to be Oct. 30. Moore has the month of November to move the multi-tons worth of product up the road to Biscoe. With his daughter Hannah’s help, some elbow grease and a forklift, they will transfer everything to P.R. Moore Produce.
Then the challenge will be figuring out how to squeeze it all in alongside his dad’s product.
“The biggest item here, which is the large sasquatch, is 3,000 pounds. That’ll go first. I’ve got a gorilla that probably weighs 2,000 pounds, and several other 2-3,000 pound pieces. Then we’ll fill in with the smaller ones.”
Customers who may be worried that they’ve missed their chance to get their hands on one of those charming pigs or a stealthy sasquatch will be happy to know that Moore is willing to make deliveries for a time from his new, temporary location. There, baby Yoda will live with Groot, the big red bull will dwell with the turtle and the gnome, eagle and smiling snail will hang together. And a sasquatch will lead them.
Contact Maggie Beamguard at firstname.lastname@example.org.