Musella general store maintains old country charm after 117 years

Hays General Store in Musella

There is a store in Central Georgia that's stayed open for the last 117 years.

Just to give you some reference, it set up shop in Musella in 1900, so think of the "Little House on the Prairie" or "The Waltons" time frame.

After all these years, Hays General Store has maintained its old country charm. 

"A long time ago, I was an Army helicopter pilot in South Vietnam, but I got out of the Army in 1969 and came back to work here for my dad who had this store," said Carey Hays.

The store opened in 1900, and Carey's dad renamed it with the family moniker sitting proudly on the side of the building, a place that's still open today but pays homage to its history.

"If you needed a record needle for your Edison record, it was in there, if your wife needed some hosiery, it was in there. It's just an old store and not many of these old stores left," said Hays.

This one would have bitten the dust if not for Carey's son, also named Carey.

The younger Carey Hays is now in charge of the legacy -- the shop and even the vintage cheese slicer.

His dad got tired of the place after running it for 40 years, so he handed it to the next generation.

"I told him he could have it and I said, 'If there is any money in the bank, you can have that, too, but I doubt if there is,'" said Carey Senior.

The old country store isn't that profitable, but the younger Carey saw value in something that money can't buy.

"I just turned 50 years old. The store's always been in this town. I've always lived here and I just can't imagine it being completely closed, so I try to do whatever it takes to keeping it going," said Carey Junior.

He does a little more than that. He pulled all the tile, keeps the vintage items stocked, and brought the wooden floors all back to life.

Credit looked different back then, too, a tradition that still remains at the Hays store today.

"This is a charge book. Let's see, October 23rd, 2017 and this is one thing I charged today to the Dickey's across the street," Carey said, showing off the charge book. "When you had the quill-type pen, you can still see where my grandaddy did it, and that's the blotter."

Carey's son, nicknamed Tank, loves the store, although the cheese profits quickly go to the dogs, so it's a good bet that the Hays store will stick around for a few more decades. It's a snapshot of the past that's open for business today.

"We've got a long history here and I'm certainly proud of this old store," said the older Carey.

The store sits right across the street from Dickey Farms in downtown Musella.

It's open most afternoons except Sunday.

You can buy filters, some food, candy, and soft drinks.

During the wintertime, folks like to sit on the couch around the old wood stove.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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