You don’t have to be a friend of the Lambeth’s to enjoy all The Derby Store has to offer, but you may become one after a visit.
Triple L Farms hosts family fun events on the first Saturday of each month, and Lambeth family members and friends serve as staff and guides. Marcia Lambeth spends her time getting to know her guests, answering their many questions and helping them find goodies in the store.
The shelves are lined with homemade preserves, ciders made from blueberry, apple and strawberry, peach breads and spreads. Homemade ice cream is available. And you can purchase a t-shirt with a map on it that says “Where in the heck is Derby?”
“We’re trying to answer that question,” said Lambeth. She can recall when the store was used as a storage facility. Her husband Jim Lambeth can recall when his parents ran the store as a general store that sold fresh produce, chainsaws, tractors and tractor parts and anything you needed to run your household or farm. You could even bring your tractor to the store’s yard to have it worked on. Everything inside the store was used in the store or on the farm at some point.
“This is the old cash register my folks used,” said Jim Lambeth as he pointed to an antique cash register on a shelf. It sat twice as high as a modern register, and twice as wide, with drawers underneath and ornate buttons. Along with the register, the shelf held crates with Lambeth’s father’s name and address on them; shipping crates from back in the day. The shelf also held a military footlocker from World War II. Artifacts like these can be seen everywhere you look in the store, and sitting areas are arranged between displays. One corner has been made to feel like a country Christmas, complete with a colorful Christmas tree.
Vendors lined up with crafts they made, to include pine-straw baskets. A dunking booth had people excited, and a sign reading “Dunk a Derby Girl” let you know you were cooling off with the natives. The store has a shady front porch equipped with benches and rocking chairs to rest on, and ornate garden decorations made of glass and copper wires brought color to the area. It would seem as though each person the Lambeths know has contributed to keeping the store attractive and welcoming to guests.
“Some days I get out here and I just don’t have the energy and I wonder “Why am I doing this?” said Marcia Lambeth. “But it’s for the comments.”
Marcia Lambeth feels satisfaction for the work she has put into the store when she hears someone say, “This reminds me of my grandma’s house.” Knowing she can evoke fond memories of country life from a past time makes her feel as though her job is well done. She said about eight years ago, the store looked nothing like it does today.
“We had a produce stand out front and inside we had a path cleared to the bathroom,” she recalled. It took steady work for many months to clear out and sort through the storage, little by little. Soon she had enough space in the front of the store for a table and chairs, where she made friends with Cree Sherman, a retired English teacher. Marcia Lambeth and Sherman have been close friends since.
It may seem as though Derby has a way of bringing folks together. Across the street from The Derby Store is Double Star Farm, where Susie Q. Jordan offered $3 pony rides on her brown and white pony, Stumpy. Jordan offers children’s pony rides, therapeutic rehabilitation riding and rides through the Gamelands nearby.
According to Clark Cox, writer for The Pilot, the Curries established Currie’s Store (now The Derby Store), a grocery and general merchandise store, in 1928 and ran it together until Herbert Currie fell ill in 1976; he died later that year. Mildred Currie continued to operate the store for several years with the help of W.D. “Dee” Wilson, who had begun work with the Curries as a farmhand 30 years before and had managed their other store, Ellerbe Farm Supply, for a number of years. Mildred Currie died in 1982.
A daughter of the Curries, Frances, married Mike Lambeth, who took over responsibility for the Curries’ farm and christened it “Triple L Farm” for himself and the Lambeths’ twin sons, Joe and Jim. The sons took over the farm after their father passed away.
Coming up next at The Derby Store, on July 2 is Pretty As A Peach Day.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.