The New River Trail is our next door neighbor! We are about 150 ft from the trail and rent bikes from the Junction so that you can
conveniently explore it while you're here!
Not a penny. This project has been done completely through private investments.
Debbie and Bill Gardner who now reside in Barren Springs are the owners. Debbie and Bill began coming to visit the Draper area over 15 years ago. They fell in love with the place and decided to move here on a permanent basis. Debbie also owns New River Retreat, the property management business based on the second floor of the Mercantile.
That has been a very difficult question to answer. We have researched this in a variety of ways including a trip to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. A good number of records fell victim to fire during the Civil War. As a result, we have had to patch together a history of the Draper Mercantile through non-traditional sources, like story or anecdote, a yellowed newspaper clipping, someone’s memory. With that said, the best existing research has tagged three different years of construction: 1812, 1865, and 1885. It is quite possible that some of those years also represent major additions to the original building.
Who currently owns the Mercantile?
For many years, the Mercantile filled the role of commercial center for Pulaski County and surrounding communities. A rail line delivered and picked up supplies for the region. A nearby mill processed goods before and after shipping. Draper was once a bustling town in Southwest Virginia. Like the classic general store of yore, the Mercantile sold material goods. Residents and visitors could purchase “just about anything.” A receipt found in a desk by the current owners illustrates the range of offerings: sugar, burial clothes, salmon, lemons, and a coffin.
Services were also housed here over the years. We’ve found evidence and records of a barber shop, a blacksmith, the post office, and a dress shop at various times. The Pulaski County library even maintained a Draper station there. A soda fountain once occupied the front corner of the store.
Yes! We have several different options on renting the Merc. If you are interest, please fill out this form