The Mast Store in Boone is sometimes called the Old Boone Mercantile, and it has a varied history and is actually made up of two different buildings. One side, the red brick side, was constructed around 1913 as the People's Bank. Sadly, it was the victim of the bank closures during the Great Depression. One of our long-time lawyers in town said that his wife got the marble countertop where the tellers would count change… and she used it to make mints! It was one of the two banks in town with the other, the Watauga County Bank, being right across the street.
Around the mid 1930s, the building was home to Belk-White Department Store. Belk's in the early days had many partners throughout the state and would allow their partner's name to be attached to the store.
The right side of the building, where the candy is today, started out as the first Boone Drug Company location. It was built around 1917, and later the business moved across the street. This location has also been a dime store and a beauty parlor, a motor parts and supply store, and a restaurant. We believe that one of the area's first radio stations was operated upstairs for a time.
In 1940, the "Belk's" side of the building became occupied by Hunt's, a department store owned and operated by local resident Guy Hunt. His store carried rugged boots, overalls and jeans, coats, and a myriad of other items you might need for life in the North Carolina mountains. The store closed in 1987. The building was purchased by the Mast Store and re-opened in 1988.