Ayers Store was a treasured locale on Main Street for 52 years.
Opened by J.I. “Ikey” Ayers and wife Ednamae in 1936, it started in a space
half the size and then later expanded into the space next door, formerly
occupied by Edna’s brother’s business (C.B. Superette). Located at 53 West Main
Street in downtown Brevard, Ayers Store maintained its old-fashioned appearance
for decades, despite keeping its inventory up-to-date. They carried everything
from clothing to instruments to batteries.
|Ayers Store in the 1970s|
Ikey Ayers was born in Stewart, VA on January 10, 1910. Raised in
Pine Hall, NC, he joined the CCC in the Depression and worked as a mess
sergeant with the corps from 1934-1936 at the Pisgah Forest camp. He met his
wife Edna, a local girl, and after they married, he went into business with
Ayers Store. It was very familiar to him to start his own business because his
father and siblings had all started their own businesses too. Active in the
First United Methodist Church, Chamber of Commerce, Brevard Lions Club, and
Woodmen of the World, he was also the Vice-President of Brevard Housing
Authority and Director of the Brevard Federal Savings and Loan Association at
times through the years.
|Stock photo of an Arcadian Blue Falcon|
Some significant events in the life of the store include when a
fire damaged much of the building on February 28, 1963. It was extinguished
without causing structural damage, but Ikey had to protect himself from loss by
holding a fire sale for smoke-damaged items. A more welcome event took place in
August 1966 when he won a two-door “Arcadian Blue” Ford Falcon at a Wallace
Hardware Company sales convention as part of raffle.
James Isaac “Ikey” Ayers died July 14, 1984 at the age of 74. After
his death, he left the store to his deceased wife’s sister, Christine Saltz Scott, who continued on the business for at least 4 more years
before the store shut its doors in 1988 or 1989 due to competition from big box stores. Many will still remember it as an iconic part
of life in Brevard during that time.