By Mary Jane Farmer


For the Van Alstyne Leader


In local business news, the boutique Abby Lane has closed its doors.


Since opening in 2006, the shop has offered a variety of clothing, jewelry, artwork, home décor and other interesting items.


Owner Shannon Morgan has also had an online clientele.


However, Morgan said, it’s time now for her to shut the Marshall Street store. She’s been working in retail since she was 14 and now will be regrouping to determine what is it she wants to do next.


In the meantime, she will continue making unique jewelry, and probably will go to various festivals and art shows as a vendor.


Also on Marshall Street, Wolfe Pack Trading Company has opened up as a retail shop on Marshall Street, as a compliment to their live and online auction services.


Dean Wolfe said they will be offering the merchandise they carried at the Van Alstyne store at the auction site, wolfepackauctions.com.


True Value Farm & Hardware is a family project.


Gerald and Jahron Strother, their daughter, Amanda, and her husband, Gerald Rutledge, are opening the store.


Gerald Rutledge said that after retirement, he approached Van Alstyne’s Community Development Corporation office and inquired about possibilities for retail businesses.


Choosing True Value over the other options was based on the company’s policy of allowing their stores to decide what they need to stock.


The building will take up 5,400 square feet, or half an acre, and leaves about 1.5 acres available for parking and growth.


Ultimately, they hope to have a separate farm and ranch section.


“About 50 percent farm and ranch and 50 percent hardware,” but in the beginning the building will be used for both, according to Rutledge.


The building will have an overhead door to make it easier for contractors to load supplies into their bigger trucks.


A section of the store will be dedicated to crafts and goods, such as the pickles and cherries that the family preserves.


“We want this to be like an old-time general store, with rocking chairs out front,” said Jahron Strother.


An important factor, Rutledge said, was the building’s proximity to Van Alstyne’s historic downtown area.


The utility hookups were across the street and needed to be expanded to accommodate the hardware store. Also, the property is not in the designated Central Business District. The city provides parking spaces inside the CBD, but not in this location, so the family got busy designing adequate parking space for its customers.


As excited as the family is to get the store open, they are just as excited about the location near the Farmers Market, Fall der All, the car shows, the forthcoming park and pumpkins.


Both Gerald Strother and Gerald Rutledge said they plan to hire part-time help. They are using local labor in the construction, which could be complete between mid-April and mid-May.