Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 30
Steve Frye heads inside the country
store he and his wife, Ellen, converted
into a bed-and-breakfast. The couple
restored the old structure to its original look while adding modern features
such as indoor plumbing.
A Store of Memories
by Jim McCarty | firstname.lastname@example.org
nce every community had at least one: Small general stores where
you could get everything from the local news to a gallon of milk. Those
country stores, mostly gone now, kindle fond memories in the minds
of those who once shopped there.
Ellen Frye has an even stronger connection to the country store she owns
with her husband, Steve, in tiny Farrar, Missouri. It was once operated by her
her grandfather, Martin "Tom" Eggers and her great uncle Walt.
Today it is a unique bed-and-breakfast, purposely designed to recall the
days when life moved a lot slower.
Farrar (pronounced "Far" in the local dialect) once had two general stores.
The owner of one gave the town its name. As the story goes, mail delivery
here was conﬁned to Sundays when mail call took place on the steps of Salem
Lutheran Church. Townsfolk wanted a real post ofﬁce, so the store owner, R.P.
Farrar, offered to head to Jefferson City to get that done.
The name chosen for the town was Salem, given the church name and the
fact that it was located in Salem Township. But that name was already taken by
the Dent County seat, so the store owner jotted down Farrar on the application.
The name stuck and the rest is history.
Farrar's competition was a man named Bueckman, who built his store in
1896. Around 1903 he sold it to Herman and Henry Klaus. The Klaus family
sold the store in 1920 to Tom and Walt Eggers, who renamed it Eggers & Co.
General Store. For the next 46 years, the two would own and operate the store
before selling out to four of their employees in 1966.
The name changed to Farrar General Market and it continued to operate,
despite pressure from larger stores in nearby Perryville, until 2004.
Steve and Ellen, Citizens Electric members, are St. Louis natives who moved
around a lot in their career as ﬂoral wholesalers. "Every time we would move
Steve would say, 'I want to live in the country,' " says Ellen. "But I would say,
'What about the grocery store? What about the library and neighborhood kids
to play with?' "
RURAL MISSOURI | DECEMBER 2017
Eventually the couple learned about a farm for sale in Perry County not
far from where Ellen's grandfather once farmed and worked in the little store
where her mother was raised.
Farrar General Market still operated, but it wasn't getting much business.
"We would come down to the farm on Saturday morning and we would stop in
to say Hi to Earl, the postmaster, just catching up," Ellen recalls. "He didn't
have a lot of customers."
On one visit the storekeeper
offered to show the couple the
upstairs of the business, which
had been turned into an apartment by her thrifty grandparents.
"Steve and I have always dreamed
of owning a bed-and-breakfast,"
Ellen says. "When we saw the
upstairs, we said to Earl, 'If you
ever think about retiring, if you
ever think about selling, would
you let us know?' "
A few years later, he did just
that. "We bought it without an
inspection, because we knew we
were going to buy it no matter
what," Ellen says.
Their purchase was like a
frozen slice of time. Still on the
shelves were much of the wares
Ellen adds a pillow made by her grandmother to the Girls Room at the inn. Her
mother once shared this room with her
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2017
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Intro
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 4
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 5
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Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover4