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iscover D

Brookneal & Halifax

A publication of The Union Star


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iscover D

Brookneal & Halifax

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The front steps of Berry Hill

A walk with Berry Hill’s resident Historian ............................... 6 Seeing the glass half full ... of wine ........ 12

www.theunionstar.com

The Department Store: a piece of Brookneal’s history ................ 15

Discover Brookneal & Halifax is published by Womack Publishing Company, Inc. and the The Union Sar 1007-A Main Street P.O. Box 630 Altavista, VA 24517 Phone: 434-369-6688 Fax: 434-369-6689 Jasmaine Motley Graphic Design Lizbeth Nauta Discover Brookneal & Halifax Design Writers: A.J. O’Leary Jenny Haugh Photographers: A.J. O’Leary Jenny Haugh

Red Hill persists despite pandemic .......... 21 Springfield Distillery makes whiskey approachable ................ 25 Long’s Farm Supply ........................... 28 Adapting to Change ........................... 30

Lisa Wells Account ExEcutivE advertising@altavistajournal.com 434-770-9477

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South Boston Recreation Department Events Schedule 2020 ........................ 32 The Nuts and Bolts of Business .............. 36


Photo by A.J. O’Leary Golfers from around Campbell County and beyond have played at Hat Creek Golf Course in Brookneal for decades. DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 5


A walk with Berry Hill’s resident historian A.J. O’Leary

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Leland Luck has worked at Berry Hill Resort for over 20 years.

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B

erry Hill has long been a magnet for prominent groups and people. Once owned by relatives of former President William Henry Harrison, the historic building is now the backdrop for weddings, Revolutionary War re-enactments and car shows featuring Lamborghinis and Ferraris. The building is now part of a major resort and conference center. Berry Hill’s resident historian, Leland Luck, said he has met the likes of Walter Cronkite’s grandson and former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith while working at the resort. But Luck said it wasn’t the chance to meet famous people that enticed him to take the job at Berry Hill. It was the building’s architecture. “I just liked the appearance,” Luck said during a tour of the estate. “That old Greek revival architecture. I suppose the columns. I had studied a little art in college and we had talked about the columns, the Doric and Corinthian. That fascinated me.”

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That old world style is on display throughout the resort in elegant white facades without and ornate furniture and trim within. Pictures of all the historic building’s architectural inspirations hang on the walls in the main lobby, including one of the Second National Bank in Philadelphia, PA, the inspiration for the building’s flying staircase. Much of that history is brought to life during Facebook live sessions hosted by Luck. “Another golden moment,” Luck says to punctuate each short video in which he explains some snippet of the property’s history. During tours Luck can tell you just about anything about the resort. There’s the story of Darby’s, the resort’s restaurant, which is named for Duncan Darby, its former chef. After Berry Hill’s owners at the time, the Bruces, had a meal in Louisiana while visiting, they returned and sent their chef all the way to the state just to learn Cajun cooking. During a recent Facebook live Luck explained the recent history of the resort’s ownership. At one time a large French corporation called Axa owned the resort, before selling it around the turn of the century. Shortly thereafter a former Duke University professor attempted to turn the grounds into a small liberal arts university, but quickly gave the venture up. Today the resort is operated by Taylor Management, a hotel and restaurant management company. It has 92 rooms, a spa, a gym, a pool, tennis and basketball courts and multiple

Courtesy of Berry Hill Resort An amphitheatre offers guests an outdoor entertainment option.

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large event spaces. Though many weddings and other events have been cancelled in 2020, staff said most of the resort’s spaces used for large events are all but booked up in 2021, and in the meantime some rooms are being rented out as office space. Though owners, famous people and different uses have come and gone, after 21 years as the museum’s historian,

Luck has become something of a mainstay for the resort. When asked whether his picture could be taken, Luck joked “only if your camera can handle it.” One of Luck’s co-workers said she thinks Luck’s contributions to the resort as full time historian and part time humorist are invaluable. “He’s quite an asset here,” she said.

Courtesy of Berry Hill Resort A grand carved mahogany horseshoe staircase dominates the entrance of the mansion. The “floating staircase” has no obvious means of support.

Courtesy of Berry Hill Resort Each one of the 92 well-appointed guest rooms is furnished with Italian handcrafted beds. 10 | DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX

Courtesy of Berry Hill Resort An amphitheatre offers guests an outdoor entertainment option.


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Seeing the glass half full… of wine

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Archer was a social worker and her husband was an air traffic controller before the two decided to start a vineyard. 12 | DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX


A.J. O’Leary

Shirley Archer knows a thing or two about turning a negative into a positive. Archer runs Bright Meadows Farm, a vineyard in Nathalie, with her husband, Shawn. The Archers’ vineyard covers about 10 acres just off Nathalie Road. Their dogs roam the property and under normal circumstances the quaint white tasting room with a wind chime at the front of the property would be receiving frequent visitors. But like so much else, the pandemic has slowed business for the Archers. “It’s a crazy year not just for our business, but for anything agricultural,” Archer said.

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Bright Meadows grows several kinds of American grapes and blueberries. DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 13


Archer said that 2020 has been a double-whammy for her business. On top of the pandemic, which cancelled virtually all of the wine festivals the Archers usually make most of their money at, a moist August has made for a poor crop. Too much moisture can lead to mold and lower sugar levels in grapes. Archer said the vineyard will be able to keep little, if any, of this year’s harvest. It would seem such a set of circumstances would be a disaster for any vineyard, let alone a relatively small one run by a retired couple, but Archer simply doesn’t see it that way. In fact, she said the lack of festivals this year likely saved festival season for the Archers next year. “Since we didn’t sell it, we’re going to have more than adequate, even with the crop failing. If it had to fail, this was the year to do it. That’s what I look at,” Archer said. “Not to be ugly but had I had a bumper crop, I’d be hard pressed to have the money to pay the labor to pick it.” Archer sounded much more resilient than discouraged while driving around her property and discussing operating during the pandemic. Obvious challenges aside, Bright Meadows still maintains all the look and feel of a thriving operation.

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Bright Meadows grows several different types of American grapes and blueberries and offers 11 kinds of wine. Archer said Bright Meadows is considered a green farm because it uses as few chemicals as possible. “You might notice we look a little leafier than some other places because we don’t want to use herbicide spray,” Archer said. The property also features a gift shop connected to the tasting room in a restored Nineteenth century barn. In addition to storing hay, serving as a tasting room and a gift shop, this spring the old barn added a new entry to its list of uses; a schoolhouse. Archer said Bright Meadows has far better WiFi than much of the surrounding area because of boosters installed on the property to make sure the vineyard’s credit card machine stays up and running. Archer said she would let nieces and nephews and friends’ children attend their online classes on the property. Though Archer said she doesn’t know how much business operating by appointment-only during the pandemic will bring in, she knows she’ll stay busy somehow. “Even if we make it by appointment, It’s still going to be a thriving place,” Archer said.

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The Department Store:

a piece of Brookneal’s history A.J. O’Leary

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Jody Funk has been a vendor with the Department Store for years. DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 15


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Ricky Pritt, the former owner of the Drug Store and Grill, started an antique store in downtown Brookneal about a decade ago. Though the store had to move to a new location on Main Street and Pritt sadly passed away soon after the store opened, his legacy lives on in The Department Store on Main Street. The store’s current manager, Brenda Pool, said she helped found the store along with Pritt and her husband. Since the store’s opening it has grown from just six vendors to over twenty. Pritt said she thinks the store’s growth comes from nostalgia. “People love to just window shop or browse and remember the things that their parents or their grandparents had,” Pool said. “A lot of people come in the store and you can hear in the distance their conversations saying I remember grandma had this and I remember playing with this at grandma’s house. Reminiscing really made it popular.” Though the store has a plethora of antiques, local artists and craftspeople also fill the ranks of its vendors. Jodie Funk, a vendor who has lived in Brookneal for 28 years, sells glass sculptures and other pieces made by herself and her husband. “I started out on consignment here, just bringing a few pieces in, and then it gradually grew to where I rent a half a booth right now,” Funk said. “I just enjoy doing crafts and my husband’s a pretty good handyman, so he’s made a few things.” In addition to local crafts, the store also has a focus on local history. Pool said the store has a Brookneal History wall just for display, with old photos of the town and memorabilia from years past, pottery from a nearby Native American reservation, scales used in a drug store and a tobacco tying machine and other items. Pool said the store also has several copies of a book by Herman Ginther on the history of Brookneal for customers to read. Pool said those wishing to buy a copy can do so at Guthrie’s Hardware just down the street. Pool said customers come to the store from up and down the east coast. She said she thinks there’s something for everyone in The Department Store— even if you’re hungry. “There’s toys that kids can buy,” Pool said. “We have some clothing, we have material. We’ve got glassware. We have all types of furniture for every room in the house. We sell baked goods. We have cinnamon rolls and yeast rolls. We have a big section in that too.” A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Ricky Pritt started the Department Store at a different location nearly a decade ago. DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 17


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Red Hill persists despite pandemic A.J. O’Leary

Tucked away just outside Brookneal on a 1,000 acre swath of generations-old forests and neatly manicured lawns lies a major piece of Virginia’s history—Patrick Henry’s last home, Red Hill. Though some of the area has been reconstructed, the entire place is chock full of artifacts from the 1700s. Tours pass what the estate claims is the largest osage orange tree in the nation, Henry’s original law practice building and even Henry’s final resting place, which went unmarked for decades. Myra Trent, director of community engagement for Red Hill, said the estate has been restored as closely to how it would have looked in Henry’s day as possible. “Patrick Henry would have been looking at pretty much what we’re looking at,” Trent said during a recent tour of the estate while pointing at the fields behind a recreation of Henry’s original residence. Normally buzzing with school groups and history buffs, these days the estate tends to be quieter than usual. Though Red Hill is recognized by the National Park Service as a national monument,

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Patrick Henry’s law office still stands at Red Hill today. DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 21


A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Though some exhibits are closed at Red Hill, the grounds are still open for visitors.

the estate does not receive any funding from the park service. Trent said visitations are down and most events scheduled on the property like weddings have been cancelled, but that she appreciates donors who have continued to support Red Hill during the pandemic. “That’s a blessing and we’re very, very thankful for the support of the community,” Trent said. Despite trouble from the pandemic, Trent said the property’s annual Blue Grass, Barbecue and Brew Festival would still be taking place on the property on November 7. Trent said Henry was a renaissance man, brewing beer on the property, farming, smoking meat, practicing law and playing fiddle on the property. “It still reflects him, even though it’s a modern festival,” Trent said. 22 | DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX


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Springfield Distillery makes whiskey approachable

A.J. O’Leary

Good whiskey often has an edge to it. Perhaps it’s inevitable that after resting in an old barrel for years at a time it comes away with a certain coarseness. At Springfield Distillery that rustic quality is everywhere. Tall pines surround wooden buildings with red roofs. Old barrels and large wooden spools dot the property between picnic tables and spacious outdoor shelters. But the corn whiskey distillery isn’t without a soft side. It’s become a popular venue for weddings and despite whiskey’s reputation as a drink with a bite, much of Springfield’s product is actually quite sweet. “We’ve got a whole bunch of different flavored whiskeys,” said distillery owner James Gordon. “I always tell people that they’re gateways. If you don’t drink whiskey, once you get a liking for those flavored whiskeys, I can guarantee you’re going to move over to whiskey.” DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 25


That was the case with his wife, Kelly, a self-proclaimed non whiskey drinker until her husband approached her with the idea to open a distillery. “I thought he’d lost his mind,” she said. “I wasn’t a whiskey person before this. I would just drink beer and wine.” Since opening however, Gordon said flavored whiskies became a gateway for her too. “It’s what taught me to enjoy whiskey,” Gordon said. Though neither of the Gordons had ever distilled liquor when the two decided to open a distillery, James said his father was a bootlegger in South Africa for years and was one of the first in the country to receive a license to distill liquor. “By the time we started this, he had 45 years of experience with distilling,” Gordon said. “So I was able to tap into that and get a lot of help and advice in setA.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Mark Gordon (left) is following in the footsteps of his parents, Kelly and James (right) by working at the distillery.

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Springfield Distillery offers a wide variety of flavored whiskies.

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ting things up and getting things moving.” Over nearly a decade Springfield has turned from what Gordon called “a tick-infested brush pile,” to a thriving business. After taking several years to prepare the property and set up distilling equipment, Springfield officially opened about four years ago. The distillery now offers several flavored corn whiskies including mint, Irish cream, honey, blackberry, peach, maple and orange. They also offer a bourbon whiskey and their Springfield 1842 Aged Whiskey, named for the year the house on the property was built. There are also several cabins on the property available to rent. Though COVID-19 forced Springfield Distillery to close its tasting room, the Gordons have stayed busy by serving cocktails on their patio and distilling hand sanitizer. Because of their outdoor capacity of somewhere between 150 and 250, Springfield has been able to stay open for collaborations with area food vendors like Sticky Rice Asian Cuisine, the Smokehouse Bandit and Full Circle Pizza. Gordon also said the distillery will be releasing a new straight bourbon on November 11 and that he’s excited to continue growing his business. “There’s still a lot more work to be done, and it continues to be a labor of love,” Gordon said.

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Long’s Farm Supply Jenny Haugh Altavista Journal News Correspondent Formerly Dodd’s Farm Supply, Long’s Farm Supply is a family business, conveniently located in Brookneal. The Long’s bought and opened the business in 2018 after the original owners retired. Bobby and Theresa Long, along with their daughters, Dottie Carwile and Cassie Long, are all co-owners in the family business. The store offers basic farm supplies for horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, along with home and garden supplies, vegetable seeds, fertilizer, lime, and just about anything you would need for small or large scale gardening and farming. Business hours have not changed due to COVID-19. The shop is still open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. “We stayed pretty steady through this all, everyone trying to get their gardens in check and their fields where they need to be,” Dottie Carwile said. Carwile said the store even ran out of some items. “We sold out of our plants very quickly,” Carwile said. In addition to store pickup, Carwile said the store offers deliveries to Charlotte Courthouse, Phenix and Red House daily. She said Long’s also delivers to Halifax on Tuesdays, and Farmville and Buckingham on alternate Thursdays. “We haul farm supplies, no limit or hauling fee if we are going that way,” Carwile said. Long’s usually carries baby chicks in March but didn’t this year. “We were not able to do that this year, I had a son born premature in January,” Carwile said. Her son, Avery, is seven months old and doing well now. Carwile said she brings him to the store nearly six days per week. “We started him in on the family business early,” Carwile said. In addition to running the Farm Supply store, the Longs also allow the local farmers market to set up in their parking lot in the summer every Saturday. This year they followed health guidelines to keep everyone safe during farmer’s market days 28 | DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX

Photos courtesy of Long’s Farm Supply Long’s Farm Supply sometimes has a farmer’s market and an animal vaccine clinic in its parking lot.

Bobby and Theresa Long run the store with their daughters, Dottie Carwile and Cassie Long.

and encouraged people to come outside and support their local producers. One of the local veterinary hospitals, Creeks and Meadow, also sets up in the parking lot twice a year for a small animal rabies vaccine clinic, along with Equine vaccine and coggins testing. Long’s also hosts a small animal swap on the third Saturday of each month. “A rooster for a hen or a rooster for a puppy or whatever trade everyone agrees on, you can sell them or swap them,” Carwile said. Long’s also offers holiday specials, which include hanging baskets produced by local farms. Local residents can look forward to upcoming fall and Christmas specials, and if all goes well, a special visit from Santa.


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Adapting to Change In these times of COVID- 19 it is so important that adaptation to change become relevant to our survival. Our seniors at the South Boston Parks and Rec Centers see the importance of adapting, exercising, and staying healthy more than ever now. As soon as the gym opened back up these seniors were ready to exercise while practicing social distancing in these especially challenging times. Even though our youths could not play full court basketball South Boston Parks and Rec Center offered alternate ways to enjoy the sport.

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South Boston Recreation Department Events Schedule 2020 Walk Fit Classes Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 PM and Tuesday and Thursday mornings 9:15 AM at Washington Coleman Community Center. You are invited to come burn some calories, lose weight, and get fit while walking to Walk Fit videos. Fit and Functional Beginner-Friendly, fun fitness routine will increases your cardiovascular and muscular endurance power with a standing/sitting circuit workout. Upper body strength work with elastic tubing with handles and soft ball is alternated with non-impact aerobics choreography. Fit and Functional classes are Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:15, 10:15, and 11:15AM. Instructor: Kristy McCargo. Fit and Functional Advanced Beginner-friendly, Seated/Standing 30 min. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Class. This class will pump up the heart rate with high- intensity exercises followed by varied periods of low-intensity. This workout programs stacks bodyweight and cardio exercise for a fun and challenging workout. Monday and Wednesday at 6:15 pm. Instructor: Kristy McCargo. Punch and Strike Kick, Punch and Groove! This is a high energy fitness class with easy to follow moves. This program brings serious power, strength and cardio with energetic music. An explosive workout suitable for both men and women. It combines the rhythm of popular music with structured punch and kick moves that will take you on a journey which will make your heart race and burn your fats like never before. Tuesday at 6:15PM. Instructor: Kristy McCargo. Line Dancercise Want to get fit? THEN GET IN LINE! Each Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 – 6:30pm. Mondays. Beginners learn the basic steps of line dancing. Whether to pop or country music or anything in between, line dancing is a great way to get everyone moving and exercising without realizing it. Wednesdays (Cardio Line Dancing) The dances are a bit faster and will get the heart pumping, burn calories, and you are assured to work up a sweat. Get your steps in. Just Move! All classes are FREE! Senior Exercise Group Program Seniors of all ages meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7AM to 11AM at the South Boston Rec Center to pursue fitness goals, friendships and enjoy a wide variety of activities with their peers. Some exercise on various equipment, walk around the gym or just socialize. Others play corn hole, dominoes, or billiards. This free program keeps older adults engaged, healthy and active. All over 50 are welcomed. Health and Wellness Fair Wednesday April 15th, 2020. 9 am to 1 pm at the Washing-

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ton Coleman Community Center. Organizations, groups, or individuals who would like to help build awareness of health risk and provide information on how an individual can make behavioral changes to enhance his or her health are invited to this fair. Call to pre-register, and reserve your table today. This event is free and open to the public. Call 434-446-1802 or 434-446-1801 for more information.

Poetry Reading Tuesday, June 9th at 6:00 PM. Everyone is invited to come to read recite, listen, and discuss poetry with other poets in the area. These meetings will be held in the arts & crafts room at Washington Coleman Community Center. For more information call 434-570-4232. Senior Exercise Group Walk for Hope Saturday June 6th, 2020 the South Boston Recreation Department Senior Exercise Group invites you to WALK FOR HOPE. The walk will take place at the Halifax County High School bus parking lot. The walk will begin at 7:00 am. All proceeds will go to the Halifax County Cancer Association. Sponsors envelopes can be picked up at the Recreation Center, or the Washington Coleman Community Center. Open Gym Starts Monday, June 1rd and run according to schedule until Thursday August 6th. Mondays-7:00 pm -9:00 pm- 40 & Over Wednesdays- 3:30 pm -5:00 pm- 11-13 yr. olds 5:00 pm -7:00 pm- 14-16 yr. olds Thursdays- 10 am- 12 noon- Girls Open Gym 7 pm- 9 pm- Adults 17 & Over ‘New’ WCCC Explorers’ Club Supervised monthly meetings for youths. Club meetings dealing with interesting topics that will appeal to youth of all ages. Explore, learn, travel, share, and experience something new. Also open to all youth clubs that want to attend. Dates will be announced. Beginners Drum Camp June1st-5th from 2:00- 3:00 pm. This camp is for children in grades 5th thru 7th only. Five free instructional filled sessions taught by Mr. Johnny Davis. All instructions and classes will be utilizing drum pads. Equipment will be provided and classes are free of charge. Movie Night Starts Thursday, June 4th, 2020 at 7:00 pm at the Washington Coleman Community Center. Free popcorn and drinks will be served. We will be showing G and PG rated movies. Parents are encouraged to attend with your children. Movie schedules will be available June 4th. Archery Camp Monday July 6th thru Friday July 10th 9 am- 12 noon. This camp will be held on the front lawn of the Recreation Center. The camp will be conducted by Mary Douglas, and Karen


(Please visit our website at www.southboston.com/department/parks for a complete change in schedule due to COVID-19) Taylor and other volunteers. They will teach the fundamentals of bow shooting. All equipment will be provided and every age is invited to attend. Prizes will be awarded to the best performances by teams and individuals.

Summer Art Camp Classes for children ages 5-12, at Washington Coleman Community Center. Here is a great class especially designed for you to have a creative outlet and make new friends while creating your own art work. Basic art supplies will be provided. June 22nd – 26th. Call 434-446-1802 for more info. Substance Abuse PreventionBasketball Tourney July 25th –July 27th. Tourney for girls and boys ages 1315. The games will be played at the South Boston Recreation Center. There will be a mandatory meeting Friday July 26th at 6 pm at the Washington Coleman Community Center for everyone eligible for the tournament. There will be guest speakers. The event is sponsored by the South Boston Recreation Dept. For more information call 434-575-4230 or 434-446-1802. Youth Football Ages 5 - 8 (Mites) & Ages 9 - 11 (PeeWees) 5 year olds must have a consent form before they will be allowed to play. Signups will be announced later Thirty & Over Basketball Organizational meeting for this league will be August 6th at 6:30 pm at Washington Coleman Community Center library. This league will be played in conjunction with the Business and Industrial league. Everyone interested in registering a team in this league should attend this meeting. All participants must be a current resident of Halifax County, and thirty years of age as of October 1, 2020. Business & Industrial Basketball League The organizational meeting for this league will be August 6th at 6:30 pm, at the Washington Coleman Community Center library. This league is open to all business or industries that have full time employees who work together and receive a pay check and pay stub from the same employer. This league will begin playing the 3rd Sunday in October. Pickleball What’s Pickleball? Pickleball is a paddleball sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. This sport is played year round at the South Boston Recreation Center on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 9:30 AM to 12 Noon. Also played on Wednesdays starting August 10 – October 28th, 2020 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Youth Basketball Sign-ups For Mites ages 5-7, PeeWees ages 8-10, Midgets ages 1112, Junior Teens ages 13-14, and Senior Teens ages 15 - 18. League age will be your age as of September 30, 2020. Signups dates are October 19th, 21st, 26th and 28th from 5:00 -7:00 pm, October 24th and 31st, from 9:00 am - 12 noon.

Registration is free during these dates. $25.00 fee after these dates for late sign-ups. Bring proof of age.

Volleyball Gym Rentals Any group may acquire the gym for the purpose of playing volleyball at the rate of $45.00 for the first hour, and $30.00 per hour for the remainder of that rental. For more information call 434-575-4230 Disc Golf - (Frisbee Golf) This is now readily available within the confines of Edmunds Park, which is managed by the Halifax County Recreation Department. For More Information contact William Shortt @ 434-476-3332. The Tobacco Heritage Trail This 2.5 Mile off road trail, which will primarily utilize abandoned railroad corridors, will be limited to non - motorized traffic and will be for multiple user groups, pedestrians, hikers, bicyclist, and horseback riders, with portions accessible to those with mobility limitations. It is located along Railroad Avenue across from 613 Railroad Avenue South Boston, VA 24592. Community Parks and Fields The South Boston Recreation Department provides four well-manicured community parks, three that have picnic shelters that can be reserved for $ 25.00 for a four (4) hour time period. The parks are located on North Main Street, Grove Avenue, Penick Avenue, and Vaughan Street. Cotton Mill Park located on Railroad Ave., C.H. Friend Field and Washington Coleman Field are also available for rental. For more information and reservations please call 434-575-4230. Washington Coleman Community Center Located at 1927 Jeffress Boulevard is now open. This facility offers a 19 station fitness area, large multi-purpose room with a warming kitchen for renting, a library, small conference room, senior lounge, recording studio, children’s activity room, Mentor Role Model Program and many other recreational opportunities are available. Current operating hours are; Monday through Thursday 9:00am - 1:00pm, (closed for lunch 1 - 2 pm) reopens 2:00pm -7:00pm. Friday hours are 9:00 am -1:00pm (closed for lunch 1-2pm) reopens 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Saturday hours 9:00 am –1:00 pm. Call 434 446 1801 or 434 446 1802 for more info. South Boston Recreation Center 1620 Jeffress Blvd. South Boston, Virginia 24592 434 575 4230 Washington Coleman Community Center 1927 Jeffress Blvd. South Boston, Virginia 24592 434-570-4232

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The Nuts and Bol ts of Business A.J. O’Leary

After 66 years in business, the Guthries can tell you a thing or two about the nuts and bolts of running a hardware store. Located in a historic building in downtown Brookneal, Guthrie’s Hardware was founded by Billy Guthrie in 1954. Guthrie’s daughter, Brenda Short, now works as the store’s office manager. Short said she is proud to work for her family’s business, which also employs her son, James Short, as a stock boy. Short said the store is still quite popular, even after so many years in business. “We’ll have people come in to browse, just to look,” Short said. Both Short and Kevin Bray, the store’s longtime manager, described Guthrie’s as a traditional hardware store. Bray said the store carries specialty items that big box hardware stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot may not have, and provides a high level of service by maintaining good relationships with customers and making special orders for them if needed. “We specialize in helping people fix what they need to fix,” Bray said. Guthrie’s Hardware is open six days per week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The store carries over 1600 colors of Valspar paint, the largest selection of bolts and specialty hardware and plumbing in Brookneal, tools, novelty gifts, sporting goods, lawnmower parts, glass, electrical supplies, fishing bait and tackle and hunting and fishing licenses. They also offer key duplication. 36 | DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Guthrie’s has been open for over 60 years.


DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 37


One of the few traditional, independent hardware stores that remain on Main Street America, Guthrie’s has sold well known brands like American Hardware, Western Auto, Servistar and True Value and is currently an Orgill dealer. Though the store was renovated two years ago, Short and Bray kept its ornate white ceiling, large windows and brick façade while adding updates like new shelving and lighting and an updated hardware section. Short said when her father first opened the store it sold horse collars and plows, and that her father used to eat hardboiled eggs cooked on a pot belly stove in the store. Short said the store has changed a lot over the years, but has always had a focus on providing the best customer service possible. “Everybody’s really liking the new inventory,” Short said. Short said she is proud to provide her community with a local option for hardware. “We feel like we’re supporting the community by being here,” Short said. When asked about his favorite part of the job, Bray said he enjoys seeing familiar faces at work every day. “Most of our customers are our friends,” Bray said.

38 | DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX

A.J. O’Leary/The Union Star Guthrie’s was recently renovated but maintains many of its original features, like its molded ceiling.


DISCOVER BROOKNEAL & HALIFAX | 39


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