R.A. Fountain, General Store, is a relic from the rural American small town past that comes to life four afternoons a week. Two locals ladies, Julia Smith and Kathy Parker, are now co-managing the snack & retail part of the business as Inspirations at R.A. Fountain, and they’ve added some unique crafts to what’s available for sale in our revitalized retail space. Julia, a Fountain native, has been working at RAF for several years, and Kathy, a Maine transplant, will also be teaching art classes on some Friday evenings and Saturdays. She’s also teaching one-on-one by appointment during regular hours, Monday – Thursday, noon – 5:30 p.m.
We hope to return to hosting live music but are not sure when that might happen.
Meanwhile, visit us on Facebook.
Watch some of our acts perform on our YouTube channels: Fountain General Store, which is where our newest videos are posted, and R.A. Fountain, a site we can no longer edit.
< Makers of those great orange- and lemonades (and sometimes a limeade), Julia Smith on the left, and Elizabeth Albright.
They are also admins for Friends of Town of Fountain’s Facebook.
Coming soon: a photo of Kathy Parker!
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When it opened in 1917, this was the second largest business building in Pitt County, boasting over 14,000 square feet of floor space, a figure that includes what became known as the Smith-Yelverton building: the two are basically twin constructions with a common (very thick) firewall between them. It was constructed with bricks made on site and included two hand-pulled elevators and ceiling-to-floor stocking ladders that ran the length of each wall. After R.A. Fountain & Sons closed in the mid-1960s, Lenwood Owens operated Owens Hardware here for many years, during most of which it was connected to Owens Grocery next door (now Hennicat Auctions) by a passageway since filled in. After the hardware business closed, Claude Nethercutt operated a toy manufacturing business that employed local artists to sculpt Disney characters that would then be used to make molds for constructing hollow plastic versions of Mickey, Donald and the crew. He dismantled the coffin room from the second floor and re-built it into what is currently the office at store’s front. After Nethercutt, Irvin Oakley ran a game room for a while and a local musician operated a practice room for his band and a recording studio on the second floor. During all this time, the R.A. Fountain building remained in the Fountain family, who offered it for sale in 2003 to its current owner, who had purchased the Smith-Yelverton building a few years prior.
R.A. Fountain, General Store & Internet Cafe, opened in November 2004, and for a couple of years, it was a daily enterprise, with Landy Spain its manager, where you could buy hanging baskets, gourmet cheeses, Cajun foods, and a daily New York Times as well as nearly a dozen local newspapers.