18 years of smiles & stories
Martha Atwell won’t miss rising before the sun to break dozens of eggs and fry pounds of bacon, but she’s already missing dear friends she made during 18 years running Wolf Creek Grocery.
“Needless to say, it has been a very interesting ride over the years! We have met every personality type that exists and folks from all over the world,” remarked Martha, who sold her beloved store on May 1. “We have found that about 98 percent of the visitors are happy to be in our county, love it and plan to return. The most positive comment, other than what a beautiful area we have, is that ‘the mountain people are so friendly.’”
New owner Jerry Goss of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will surely find out for himself.
“The local people have been so good to support us!” Atwell beams. “We have made so many friends over the years! They are more than friends – more like family. We know that they are a phone call away should we need them and I hope they feel the same. I hope over the years we have been able to help people, if just by a smile or a kind word.”
Martha and her husband Randall must have done something right; the parking lot is full every morning.
You understand why if you’ve had Martha’s cooking.
“We wanted to close on the sale of the store in January or February, but our local customers counted on having a warm, home-cooked breakfast before work in the winter months so we decided to delay,” Martha said. “I cooked almost all the time and had wonderful employees that were good help and who I could depend on. I always made my food from scratch. I would cook up 60 to 80 pieces of bacon every morning for years. We had local guys lined up to come in for breakfast at 7 a.m. every morning and they liked their bacon! You have to be a morning person to run a good restaurant. People expect a smile to start their day, along with good food!”
Martha looks forward to running a good ... garden.
“We will be traveling some. I have a new grandbaby in south Georgia and grandsons to visit. My parents are in their 80s now, and I want to spend some quality time with them. I am looking forward to being home and having time to enjoy my yard and work in my garden and relax. I also plan to get more involved with the Stecoah Valley Cultural Center again,” Martha said.
Stecoah has always had a special place in Martha’s heart. She was Martha Crisp when she graduated from the Stecoah Valley School.
Wolf Creek Grocery also evokes fond memories.
“I loved to see the animals that travel with some of the motorcyclists. Some of them had little goggles and little leather jackets! One morning a rider came in with an Iguana on his shoulder! He asked me if I had a place for his lizard to take a nap. I looked at him and just said ‘No!’” Martha said. “I also was fascinated by the variety of the tattoos people had. They were so interesting.”
Now Martha is a visitor.
“It is now time for the next phase of our lives. Just to slow down a little and enjoy the little things in life! My husband and I are really looking forward to this,” Martha remarked.
Martha steps away knowing the business she and Randall built is in good hands.
“I am excited about the future of Wolf Creek,” Martha said. “I am sure it will be a big asset to Stecoah Valley, and to the economy of Graham County.”
The new owner is keeping all the old employees and adding new ones. Goss plans to retire to Graham County, but currently is still working in Florida.
When asked what she would like to tell the community and her customers, Martha sincerely said, “We just would like to say, ‘Thank you’ and may God continue to bless us all!’”