TODD — The Todd General Store, which was established in 1914 and has captured the hearts of both locals and visitors for more than a century, was a total loss due to a structure fire on the night of Feb. 25.
According to Ashe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patty Gambill, the fire was called into the E-911 Center at 9:51 p.m.
Responding to the scene were Todd VFD, Deep Gap VFD, Fleetwood VFD, Meat Camp VFD, Ashe Medics, Ashe County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ashe County Sheriff’s Office and Blue Ridge Energies.
Gambill confirmed that the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
“The fire departments cleared the scene at 3:15 a.m. on Feb. 26, however Todd VFD was called back to the scene at 8:47 a.m. to extinguish a small flare up which took around two hours,” Gambill said in an email response.
According to Gambill, the State Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the fire investigation as it was a commercial structure.
Ashe County Fire Marshal Jonathan Stansberry said the point of origin was the west end of the building on the inside of the wall. He added that the fire pattern suggests an area in the kitchen located near the center of the west wall.
The historic landmark’s newest owners, the Connell family, had worked diligently to renovate the building since purchasing it in May 2019. The family had reopened the store in the summer of 2020.
A GoFundMe page was set up by a neighbor of the Connells, Tonya Canter, on Feb. 26. The original goal was $15,000, but as of press time on March 2 there was a total of $41,230 raised.
In a Facebook post from their account on Feb. 27, The Todd General Store described how thankful they are for those who have reached out and made donations. They also shared photos of items that survived the blaze on Feb. 26, including the National Register of Historical Places plaque and the “Todd’s General Store” sign which has been placed on the porch alongside a sign that says “Resilience.”
To access the page and make a donation, visit tinyurl.com/ToddGeneralStoreGoFundMe.
According to Stansberry, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined and there have been no new developments in the investigation as of press time.