The Evans Store, Parts and Deli has been a landmark in Coosa for decades. Longtime employees and customers alike are hoping that the sale of the store will not signal any major changes in operation at the business across from Georgia Power’s Plant Hammond.
A letter that was circulated to friends and customers after the sale was completed last week indicates that the buyer is Sameera “Sonny” Keshwani, the owner of KC’s Food Mart in Cave Spring.
“Sonny’s expectation is to serve and accommodate you and your needs by improving and upgrading the property and by continuing excellent service,” reads the letter. “All current employees have been asked to remain with the store, as he is looking forward to establishing a relationship with customers and employees.”
Keshwani actually took over operations of the store on Thursday.
Sandra Lindsey, director of the Cave Spring Downtown Development Authority and wife of parts shop operator Larry Lindsey, said that Keshwani kept the entire management team at KC’s in place and the store has been operating since he bought it just like it has for years before the sale.
“He’s not telling them how to run it, what to do on a day-to-day basis, and I expect the same thing will happen at Evans,” Lindsey said.
The original Evans Store was about a half mile west of the existing store. It was purchased by Garland Evans around 1970, in part to give his sons Larry and Alan something to do when they were not helping out with the family farm.
It was forced to relocate when Alabama Highway was widened years ago. The current location, 5680 Alabama Highway at Huffaker Road, opened in the late 1980s and has been run ever since by Alan and Larry Evans.
That was about the same time that Larry Lindsey joined the team to own the parts section of the store. Lindsey had worked in the Floyd County Map Office for a number of years, but had grown up with the Evans boys and knew that all the trucking business in the area of the store would provide a good customer base, so he gave up his government job to start all over again in the automotive parts business.
Lindsey, who has battled cancer for a number of years, does plan to stay on with the new owners for a short period of time before settling into a full-time retirement.
Judy Evans, the wife of Larry Evans and sister of Larry Lindsey, said her husband and brother-in-law had been working since high school and that it was “past” time for them to retire.
“Of all the prospects that have inquired about purchasing the business, this buyer seems to be the right fit for continuing the Evans Store, Parts and Deli legacy,” Judy Evans said.
The deli was not a part of the original store, but was the result of a woman who asked the Evans brothers if she could bring her biscuits to the store and sell them in the morning. It has evolved into a full-service restaurant over the past 30 years.
Dartha Skeggs has been working in the store’s deli for 28 years. Roxanne Thompson has been in the kitchen for six years, and Amy Connelly has been cooking up biscuits, eggs, bacon and sausage for eight years.
Longevity is a hallmark of employment at Evans Store. Jeff Sprayberry was manning the cash register Thursday, something he has done for nearly 40 years. Sandra Lindsey pointed out that many a youngster from Coosa and Cave Spring got their first job at Evans Store. Her own sons, Ryan and Marcus, worked there, as have the Evans boys’ children. Alan Evans Jr. is among the group who will stay on at the store, at least for the time being.
Skeggs said that as far as she knows at this point, there will be no changes in the hours of operation — currently 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. She said the biscuits, long a favorite among regulars, are always available — morning, noon and evening hours. Those big biscuits, particularly the smoked sausage biscuits, have been a favorite for folks in Coosa and truckers who pull off onto the big back lot to get some home-cooked meals before setting out on another trip.
Sandra Lindsey said the fried catfish, chicken livers, and chicken and dressing meals are among the most popular on the lunch and dinner menu. The pulled pork barbecue meal has also been a staple forever.
The deli and bait shop are often the busiest on Saturday mornings, as anglers head out to Brushy Branch or Weiss Lake for a day on the water.
The store has always been a country meeting place for folks in the community. Thursday morning, Eddie Fuller and Keith Weeks were sitting with Larry Lindsey behind the counter in the parts section of the store that Lindsey has run for 31 years, just chewing the fat, reminiscing about old times. Larry Lindsey said he was just going to take some time to relax once the transition is completed before making any plans for the future.
Sandra Lindsey said the Liar’s Table at the store has been one of the favorite hang-outs in Coosa for the past three decades. Judy Evans said Larry and Alan are going to have to figure out a way to get their own seats at the Liar’s Table now. Beyond that, both of the Evans boys expect to remain active in the Coosa community in the future, with no specific immediate plans.