The old Carter’s Dry Goods and Notions store in the Oregon Hill neighborhood is not coming down after all. The store, which hasn’t been used as a store since the early 1990s but is a fixture on Idlewood Avenue, was damaged severely by fire in March.
Contractor Jim Poe, a longtime friend of the Carter family, said the insurance money wasn’t sufficient to repair the place, and demolition was imminent, when I talked to him soon after the fire. The family, particularly Jean Carter, who still lives in the house next to the store, was heartbroken.
But Poe called this week, and said he’s in the process of having the building repaired. It won’t be reopened as a store and will continue to be used for storage, but it will still be there.
The reason for the change of direction can be summed up in one word, Poe said:
Carter wanted it saved and the neighborhood wanted it saved, and Poe, who grew up on Oregon Hill and got his first job at the store, also didn’t want to see it gone.
“I just tightened my belt and worked with what insurance money we had,” he said. “It’s actually going to cost me money, but it’s worth every penny. (The Carters) did a whole lot for me growing up, so this is the least I can do.
“I’m happy, Miss Carter’s happy, and the neighborhood’s happy again.”