Couple opens new general store in Ruth

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, May 23, 2024

RUTH — Friendly service, new fuel pumps, vintage signage, hardware, and fresh food greets customers of the newly opened Ruth General Store at 3472 Ruth Drive SE. It took years for the owners Tonia and Mark Planche to renovate the space and open their general store. 

Ruth General Store’s first business day was Monday and Tonia said the community support is incredible. Two days into business, community members have stopped by to grab a bite to eat, to visit and welcome the store to Ruth. 

Barton’s Country Grocery was the former tenant of the space before the Plance’s bought the space and started work to renovate it. In June of 2022, work started by completely stripping the inside down to the metal studs and refurbishing. 

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We just saw the store was for sale one day and thought it would be something great to do for the community and retirement,” Tonia said. “I’m working more now than I ever was. We renovated the store and redid everything. We got new gas pumps, the tanks cleaned and revamped the space. I was just looking on Facebook and I felt God tapped me on the shoulder and said this is for you. We prayed about it.” 

She said their prayer led them to owning the business and working to restore it. The first two days were busy. Tonia added they hope to offer more food once they get in a grove and in rhythm. 

In decorating the store, Tonia wanted to make sure it made an impression on customers and was different from an ordinary gas station. A visit to the store’s bathroom is a trip back in time. Paintings and pictures honor legends, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. All other decor could be classified as rustic. 

“I felt it speaks to people more. It is all about experience,” Tonia said. 

Ruth General Store is getting all of their inventory ordered in and getting people trained. Tonia said most of her employees are either family or friends. 

She worked for McComb OB-GYN for 20 years before retiring. Her husband Mark is a plumber and contractor. In a way, he is the muscle and she is the brains of the operation. They are both residents of Jayess but are excited to be a part of the Ruth community. 

“It has been an adjustment. When I left my job I knew it from A to Z and this is a whole new ball game. I’m enjoying it though,” Tonia said. “It will be a great new adventure and the people have been so supportive and sending lots of encouraging words and passing by the whole two years.” 

City residents may not appreciate the importance of having a general store like the new one in Ruth. Tonia explained the community residents would typically have to drive 25 to 30 minutes to get to town to buy bread, milk or hardware supplies. It is a long way to get gas as well. Convenience is the biggest service the general store will provide. For anyone who loves a good General Store it is a trip back to a simpler time. Residents of other Lincoln County communities and Brookhaven, it is well worth a visit to Ruth. 

Store hours are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit the Ruth General Store’s Facebook Page for more updates.