Originally created 12/31/01

Family is store's cornerstone

While the majority of Washington Road is clogged with traffic and bustling with commercial development, in Appling things are a little quieter.

There are few buildings to break up the pine trees and even fewer stores until you get to the intersection named Pollards Corner, which is also the name of the store at the intersection, owned by the Pollard family since it was built in the 1950s.

Soon after it was built, the Pollards leased the store to the Lewis family. In 1967, the Tanner family took over its management.

"It's still a family operation," said Alvin Tanner, who works full time with his father, Jack, and mother, Ann, to run the store year-round.

Even Mr. Tanner's 12-year-old niece Ann-Anise is showing signs of the entrepreneur bug.

"I want to learn how to run the register," said Ann-Anise, who worked this week while on vacation from school. "I want to hurry up and learn."

"Youth," Mr. Tanner said, shaking his head at her impatience.

Although Pollards Corner started out as a trading post, it is now a gas station that sells a hodgepodge, including junk food, groceries, motor oil, fishing licenses and live crickets for bait.

But there is no beer or spirits.

"The Pollards have always had that rule, and that's fine with us," Mr. Tanner said.

In the morning there is the steady stream of commuters who live in Lincolnton and work in Columbia County or Augusta. That traffic has picked up in recent years as more people move into the rural area, Mr. Tanner said.

"When we first came here you could look out the window, see a car stop and say, 'Who's that?"' he said.

But business is best when fishing season gears up on the lake.

Tourists fishing for the first time and seasoned pros who know every curve of the lake end up stopping at the corner store to load up on supplies or grab forgotten items.

"As soon as the weather turns warm again - after this cold snap - I expect a rush," Mr. Tanner said.

Although he is not an avid fisher himself, Mr. Tanner said, swapping stories with the fishermen who pass through is one of the things he enjoys most about running the store.

"I would say people going fishing are some of the happiest people in the world."

Name: Alvin Tanner

Age: 47

Occupation: Manages Pollards Corner convenience store with help from other family members

Location: Intersection of Washington Road and U.S. Highway 221

Quote: "We're just hanging around as long as we can. We have no plans to do anything else."

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (706) 823-3227 or vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com.


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