Monday, 18 November 2019 15:08

Ellerbe's E.E. Vuncannon celebrates 100 years in business

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E.E. Vuncannon Inc. held a centennial celebration Saturday evening with free food, music and door prizes. See more photos at the RO's Facebook page. E.E. Vuncannon Inc. held a centennial celebration Saturday evening with free food, music and door prizes. See more photos at the RO's Facebook page. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ELLERBE — One business in Richmond County has been serving the regional farming community for 100 years.

E.E. Vuncannon, Inc. held a centennial celebration Saturday evening with about 200 neighbors and customers, giving out free barbecue, stew and Berry Patch ice cream, company T-shirts and a variety of door prizes ranging from dog food to sunglasses.

In 1919, Asheboro area logger Edward Everett Vuncannon moved south to Ellerbe in search of virgin pine to cut, according to his great-great-grandson, Luke Vuncannon.

“The logging business didn’t turn out so well, so he started this fertilizer, feed and seed business,” Luke Vuncannon said. “It started out as just as little warehouse back behind our place.”

The Vuncannons also had a cotton gin, which eventually burned down.

The store has been passed down through the generations — to Edward Everett Vuncannon II and is currently in the hands of one of his sons, Jeff.

Tobacco had been a large part of the local economy for many years, but as it became less of a staple cash crop, the Vuncannons had to find different things to sell “to take the place of the hole that that left,” Luke Vuncannon said, including horse and dog food, animal supplies, and Carhartt clothing.

“What’s got us this far is our loyal customer base, for sure,” he added. “We’re blessed … we’re still making a living doing it.”

One of those customers is farmer and outgoing Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry, who said the business has been beneficial to him and others in the agricultural community.

“I don’t have to go anywhere and get fertilizer and chemicals,” Berry said. “A lot of these small places have closed down and I can travel two miles and get whatever I need. And if they don’t have it, they get it the next day. So it’s really an asset to have.”

Vuncannon’s also draws customers from Anson, Scotland, Moore and Montgomery counties, according to both Berry and Luke Vuncannon.

Ellerbe native state Sen. Tom McInnis presented a state flag, which was flown above the capitol in honor of the business’ 100th anniversary.

“My family goes back as long as they’ve been here, doing business with these good folks” McInnis told the crowd. “And when you’ve got an organization that deals in honesty, integrity and character and morality, which they exemplify all those traits, this is what happens. It never stops it only gets better.”

In addition to working at the family business, Luke Vuncannon plays guitar for Long Gone Bluegrass Band, which performed at the event. Other members include Ellerbe Councilman-elect Joseph Grooms on banjo, and Randolph County’s Jim Simpson and Daniel Luther on bass and mandolin, respectively.