My husband, John, and I want to support Morganton businesses as much as we can. One Sunday in December, after church, we decided to head downtown and see what Christmas gifts we could find that our families would enjoy.

We admired the decorations as we searched for a parking space near stores we wanted to explore. Music sounded through the outside speakers and filled us with Christmas spirit.

We decided to eat first and stopped in Yianni’s at 112 W Union St. My husband ordered brunch, which came with mini blueberry muffins and strawberry cream cheese spread. They were so sweet and delicious that I wished we could have more. After we finished lunch, the owner, Manny, came to our table and asked how everything was, and we told him we enjoyed it. He told us they have a second floor that has a bar, another dining section and an outdoor patio. When I asked about the old murals on the wall, Manny explained that they were going to freshen up the restaurant with new paint and re-upholster the seating and downsize the menu in January. We look forward to coming back to see the updates and enjoy another meal. 

Next on our list was the Morganton General Store at 116 W. Union St. The store had various items with the outline of the state of North Carolina with the word “Home” in the middle. We selected a black ball-cap for our nephew in-law, an Immune Support Elderberry Syrup by Darby Farms in Union Mills for my sister-in-law, and baked goods by Open Hearts Bakery and a magnolia scented candle for friends. 

The owners of The Morganton General Store, Harvey and Beth Hicks, will add Swede’s Café on the second floor that will offer soups, salads and sandwiches and possibly breakfast items from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Beth explained that customers often asked if they serve food because there is such a need downtown for eateries. Their customers also voted that the name of the café should be a family related name and since her father-in-law loved to cook and had passed away, they decided to name it after him, using his nickname. The soft opening is scheduled for January. 

Our next stop was Art and Soul at 106 W Union St., which offered an eclectic variety of one-of-a-kind, outside-the-box art and other items. We were really impressed by the iron and wood art. We selected a silver coiled deer art piece that would not only look great in our Christmas display, but would look great year-round with the carved wood trees and pine cones displayed on our mantel. We also purchased several pieces of charcoal soap that the owner, Emily Elder, said would pull toxins and heavy metals out of our pores.

As we checked out, we noticed activity on the second floor. Emily informed us she had opened the second floor for yoga, art classes and special events. She plans to celebrate the store’s one year anniversary in February featuring new artists and retail. 

Next, we went to The Weathered Home at 217 Avery Ave. We noticed the different layout as soon as we walked in the door. Deborah, the floor display organizer, said the store is now organized by vendor booths. I really loved the new layout of the store. We purchased a gallon of milk paint so my husband can paint our kitchen cabinets. I look forward to checking in periodically. 

On our way home, we stopped at Back Porch Antiques at 1112 Carbon City Road. My husband found a seashell box that reminded him of the Mississippi coast, and I purchased two vintage Christmas ornaments. 

While paying, Rick, one of the owners, said that all the booth spaces were now full. He also added a work station with equipment and tools where the vendors can repair items if needed and added an architectural salvage section with antique doors, windows and baseboards that have been removed from old houses. 

Rick and Susie also mentioned that Root 70 Garden, Uniques and Antiques shop at 905 Carbon City Road had opened, so we stopped by the following Thursday. The owners, Temple and Marek Miller, sell antiques from the late 1800s to the 1930s from their grandparents’ estates, as well as other antiques they have collected over the years. They will open the garden section in March, selling plants and flowers and hope to have a farmers’ market there as well. 

My husband and I are excited about the changes going on in our favorite shops and finding new places to shop. If you haven’t had a chance to see what these businesses and others in downtown and greater Morganton have to offer, or haven’t stopped in lately, it’s an exciting time to do so. Happy shopping!

Barbara Jolly-Deakle is a News Herald correspondent and a member of the Morganton Writers’ Group. She can be reached at


For more information on the stores mentioned, visit the following links:

» The Morganton General Store and Swede’s Café:

» Back Porch Antiques:

» Root 70 Garden, Uniques and Antiques:

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