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March 5, 2023 3 minute READ

Mast Store Greenville Marks 20th Anniversary on Main Street

tags Local Flavor | Mast in the News
locations Greenville

Twenty years have flown by since the Mast Store in Greenville first opened its doors in the old Meyers-Arnold building, but Sunday, March 12, 2023, marks that day exactly. To celebrate, Mast Store is giving everyone who visits that day a free bag of its world-famous, freshly-popped popcorn.

“It’s hard to believe how much Downtown Greenville has changed,” commented Bryan Howell, the store’s long-time and first-hire fashion department manager. “I never would have dreamed that Greenville would be well-known, not just nationally, but internationally.”

Many things have changed along Main Street and in downtown as a destination. While Greenville was beginning to be known for its broad array of dining experiences, even in 2003, the number of shops and retail establishments was slim. The Ayers Leather Shop was just around the corner, llyn strong fine art jewelry was nearby, and the Greenville Army Store Annex wasn’t too far away, but in between were lots of dark doors and papered windows. Downtown Greenville was just getting started on its redevelopment journey.

“Mayor Knox White had a great vision for downtown,” said Lisa Cooper, president of Mast General Store. “This store was our first outside of North Carolina and was a little risky for us, but he and others invited us to consider Greenville as a new location, and we are so glad we did.”

Meyers-Arnold Store along Main Street in 1930sAll Mast Store locations are in historic buildings in the heart of their downtowns, and each store has its own unique story. During the pre-opening preview night, several former Meyers-Arnold employees and family members were in attendance. Some had tears in their eyes when they saw what was happening in the building where they had once worked.

It seemed that everyone in the Greenville community wanted to visit the store… AND their favorite part to stroll through was the candy. “Every delivery truck we received had at least two pallets of candy on it,” shared Bryan. “While I can’t remember for certain, I think we sold 20,000 pounds of candy in the first month.”

“I’m the new kid on the block, so to speak. We still have a few employees that were among the original hires at the store,” said Erica Pedone, Mast Store Greenville’s general manager. “I am really impressed with the staff and their commitment to customer service and the community. I feel like I’ve had my last first day on the job.”

When the Mast Store opened in Downtown Greenville, the city was at a tipping point. Main Street and the surrounding areas were dotted with restaurants and people were beginning to move downtown.

According to an article in The Greenville Journal, from March 14-20, 2003, “’This is really going to be the year of retail,’ declares Greenville Mayor Knox White.

“Now that residential [development] has a footing in downtown with more projects than anyone ever imagined, we have to emphasize retail.’”

He was right. O.P. Taylor’s, a small toy store chain based in North Carolina, opened a few doors down in May. Then many others of all imaginable kinds followed to provide for the needs of downtown residents and visitors.

“We are excited to be a part of Greenville’s transformation,” said Lisa. “Taking what we learned in Greenville and our other home communities helps us create change in other downtowns.”

“Even with all the growth,” shared Bryan, “and it’s been phenomenal, Greenville is still a small big town, and I love it.”

**Historic photo courtesy of Greenville Historical Society, Coxe Collection.

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