• Kesha Dockery’s favorite area in her new store, Black & White Market, is the back room, where the wall is exposed brick. Downtown Murphy has several new places to shop.
  • Dave Schnieder, chief marketing officer, and Mark Udahl, president and CEO, applaud Dana Pope as he and his boots are presented at the Red Wing Shoes Wall of Honor. Photos courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Co. Inc.

SCOUTING AROUND: Downtown attracts new businesses

   Empty storefronts are filling up in Murphy, as two new businesses recently opened and another plans to open soon.
   “There’s a buzz, a sort of vibrance you can definitely feel downtown,” Mayor Rick Ramsey said.
   He described downtown as a glass that “is definitely more than half full,” with plenty of possibilities for business owners. He added that he wants to help them succeed.
   The new business owners say downtown is a good, growing community.
   “Downtown is where it’s at,” said Katherine Howard, who purchased the building that used to be Sassy’s Wardrobe and is renovating it into a salon. “We’re very excited.”
   Another building where people have seen recent activity in is the former Parker’s Drugstore, but Ramsey said it was just cleaning work. He hopes a business moves in soon, as it is a key spot in the middle of town. Another building he would like to see filled is the former Moose Hollow on Tennessee Street.
   Murphy’s newest businesses include:
   * Pinch, 46 Valley River Ave., Suite C. Wayne Peacock and Eugene Apanasevich, who opened the fine dining restaurant Bistro 29 in May 2017, also are helping people create meals at home. Pinch, a gourmet kitchen store, opened March 17.
   The store tries to supply local and regional items, as it carries Doyle’s Smoky “Mountain Man” Sauce and Famous Possum Rub.
   * Black & White Market, 40 Valley River Ave. Kesha Dockery previously owned Black & White Antiques in Blairsville, Ga., for nearly four years. It started as an antique store, but she got into providing more local home goods products, pottery and candles. Under a new name that better reflects what her business has become, the Black & White Market opened March 20.
   Dockery grew up in Murphy, and this is where she really wanted her business to be. “To be back here, to have my business here, is a dream I’ve held for a while,” she said.
   * Urban Salon & Spa, 36 Valley River Ave. Howard plans to open the full-service salon and spa by the first Murphy Art Walk in May. She brings 14 years of experience as a hairstylist in Murphy to the business. She said plumbing has been tricky, but her contractor, Tim Pratt, has been working hard to organize turning a longtime dress shop into a salon. Howard added that she loved the original style of the building and is incorporating a lot of the old into the new salon.
   Howard won’t be the only familiar face when the salon opens – Wendy Ward, Jordyn Teesateskie, Elizabeth Geyer and Sarah Hughes also will be hairstylists. Jessie Massey is moving her massage business to the location, while Kendall Haney will be the on-site esthetician.

Dana Pope gets honored forl egendary 28-year-old boots
    Dana Pope wore a pair of boots for 28 years, and the company that made those boots recently inducted both onto their Wall of Honor.
   “I thought it was fantastic,” Pope said. “I never expected anything. I was just doing my job.”
   Pope opened a tree trimming and removal service company when he moved to Murphy in 1983, but he had been in the tree business – or a “tree man” – ever since graduating from high school. It was at his first job that he was given a pair of Red Wing Shoes boots and learned how important the right footwear was in his job.
   “When you’re up there, you have to feel like your equipment, and your boots are part of your equipment ... you have to trust those things are going to do what you need them to do,” Pope said. “It’s important to have that confidence.”
   In 1990, he bought a now legendary pair of Red Wing boots at King’s Flea Market in Murphy.
   “There just happened to be a pair of size 12 double E boots,” Pope said, adding that the boots looked new.
   He wore those boots for 28 years before retiring them and placing them on a shelf in his shop. Red Wing found out about Pope’s boots from his wife, Karen. She found a poem he had written about his boots stuffed in the boot leg and sent it to the company.
   Last spring, the company asked for the boots to be returned for display on the Wall of Honor. However, Pope would only agree to loan the boots to the company for two years.
   “I’m just too attached to them,” he said.
   Last summer, Red Wing used Pope’s boots and story in advertising. This month, the company provided Pope and four other honorees with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Red Wing headquarters in Minnesota to tour the plant, see the Wall of Honor and meet each other.
   “All I could think of was, wow, all those years of hard work,” Pope said of the display. “Every one of them is very interesting.”
   While at Red Wing headquarters, Pope purchased three more pairs of boots – two for himself, and one for his wife. He also has a certificate to get another pair in the future.
   Pope’s company, Mi Po Tree Service, is now owned by his two oldest sons. They told their father they want to display the boots in their office once the boots are returned home.
   Pope and the other 2018 honorees are featured on Red Wing Shoe’s website at in.redwingshoes.com/wall-of-honor-2018.
   Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.