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Country store a hidden treasure chest of delight for all who discover it

Open for over 10 years, RedBone Willy’s Trading Co. is a comforting staple of Toluca, providing products to satisfy a variety of wants and needs.
Everything from outdoor clothing to home goods and decorations fills two jam-packed floors of the rustic shop. Thick sweaters and glowing lamps line wooden shelves. Kitchen utensils and old-fashioned candy hang within easy reach. Gift ideas are abundant.
RedBone Willy’s carries such brand name items as Burt’s Bees, Birkenstock, Columbia and Woolrich.
The brains behind the operation is petite powerhouse Glenda Miller.
Raised on the property where the store is located, Miller wanted to recreate the country store of her youth, where she recalls drinking soda and eating cheese crackers around a potbelly stove.
Miller sought a career change after spending years rebuilding her finances after a tornado destroyed her home.
She was spurred to open the general store based on her experience selling homemade crafts out of her house.
RedBone Willy’s success has exceeded her expectations since its opening, said Miller.
RedBone Willy’s is owned and operated solely by Miller, though family members often pitch in.
“It’s nice to have family around who are willing to help me,” said Miller. “I have a place for them to hang out and socialize.”
Though unpaid, family members enjoy a different sort of employee benefit — they get meals for free in return for their hard work.
An article in the December issue of Our State magazine spurred interest in RedBone Willy’s. Before the issue, about 10 customers a week visited the store. Now the store receives some 90 visitors weekly, according to Miller.
Shelby resident Barbara Moore always makes sure that visiting friends and relatives stop by the country store. In fact, she often finds it difficult to get them to leave.
“They’ve got beautiful things in here, and you never get bored with their merchandise,” she said.
BoneHead Cafe, which serves a variety of sandwiches and grilled foods, sits adjacent to the store. The cafй features homemade ice cream, pastries and fudge, among other goodies.
“The fried pies are to die for,” said Moore.
Ora Trivett of Shelby stops by every time she passes the store to get a peanut butter milkshake.
“If I had the money I’d buy gobs of this stuff,” said Trivett as she sipped soda out of an old-fashioned glass bottle. “It’s worth anybody’s time to come to this store.”
Though the store occupies much of her time and energy, Miller wouldn’t have it any other way.

“A country store is sort of like comfort food,” said Miller. I just love it here — more than being home. The people make it rewarding.”

Want to go?
Redbone Willy’s Trading Co. is located at the intersection of N.C. 27 West and N.C. 18 in Lawndale, a 15 to 20 minute drive from Lincolnton, Hickory or Shelby. The store is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 1 – 6 p.m. Sunday. It is closed Tuesdays.

Owned and operated by Glenda Miller (right), it’s the right combination of fun and surprise and a touch of the good old days. Katie Rozycki / LTN Photo

by Katie Rozycki

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