ROGERSVILLE — A recently refurbished country store that was once the center of activity for a rural farming community south of Rogersville will be the center of attention once again Saturday afternoon during a fund-raiser to benefit Hawkins County education programs.
For more than 50 years, Phoebe’s Country Store was an important place in the lives of people who lived in the Keplar community of Hawkins County, including former Tennessee Agriculture commissioner and state representative Ken Givens.
Givens recently completed a renovation of the old store, which he now owns.
On Saturday, Givens will open the store to the public for “Phoebe’s Fall Fundraiser.”
The fund-raiser is being organized by Givens’ partner, Cynthia Bundren-Jackson, to raise money for the nearby Keplar Elementary School, as well as raise money for the Coordinated School Health Program, which was created by Givens’ late wife, Connie.
Phoebe Bradshaw operated the store, located at the intersection of Burem Road and Longs Bend Road, from the 1930s until her death in the late 1970s. It operated under different management in the 1980s but had been vacant for many years when Givens bought the property and started to renovate.
“I used to come up here as a kid, and at school teachers would send us up here to get stuff,” Givens said. “When my kids were growing up, I’d bring them up here just to hang out. We basically restored it to have a place to hang out, and also to be able to have events like this for the communit y. ”
Saturday’s fund-raiser is actually the second annual event. Last year, the event raised $2,100, which was divided equally between the school and Coordinated School Health Program.
From 1 to 5 p.m. there will be live bluegrass music and light refreshments. Everyone is invited to attend, see the restored building, and stay for music and refreshments for as long as they like.
The suggested donation is $15 per adult, with children admitted free.
“We’ll just let people look around and see what we’ve done,” Givens said. “People can come and go as they like all afternoon. A contribution isn’t mandatory, but if you can give something you’ll know that 100 percent of it is going toward a good cause.”
Givens added, “More important than what we’re doing, we’re really hoping that something like this can become an inspiration for other communities. I know most of the individual schools in the county have their own fund-raiser, but I don’t know of many cases where the community comes together at an outside location to raise funds for their school.”