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Country Rhodes guests can shop, dine and stay

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Maryann Rhodes is the proprietor of the Country Rhodes café and gift shop. Maryann Rhodes is the proprietor of the Country Rhodes café and gift shop.

Guests may be traveling down "Country Roads" in order to visit Country Rhodes for shopping, dining and soon overnight accommodations.

Country Rhodes is a new three-in-one business enterprise located in a historic building overlooking downtown Ripley. Gordon and Maryann Rhodes are the proprietors of a café and gift shop. A five-room suite bed and breakfast will be opening this spring.

The business is located in an 1895 vintage building that was once the residence of West Virginia retail giant O.J. Morrison. It later served the Jackson County community as a hospital and then as a funeral parlor for decades.

"The building had been vacant and it was available," said Maryann Rhodes, who moved Jackson from McDowell County 16 years ago. "We looked at it several years ago and just fell in love with it. We thought that it would make a good bed and breakfast."

Morrison, who built a chain of a dozen department stores from Morgantown to Huntington, picked a prime location for his home. With several antiques decorating the lawn, the sights and sounds of the Highlawn Drive location compliment a pleasing Victorian design.

"It has character," she said of the architecture, including a large front porch and ornate staircase. "We didn't want to lose any of that and we wanted to put back what we could and give it an inviting feel.

"The view is wonderful," Rhodes said. "The sunsets at night are awesome; just gorgeous. And you can hear the chimes from the courthouse, too."

They recognized the building was large enough to offer multiple revenue opportunities. The multi-faceted business plan consists of a large five-room gift and floral shop coupled with an adjacent first floor coffee shop. The second floor will house the five-suite bed and breakfast, commons area and private residence.

"It all came together," said Rhodes, who is on the staff of law firm of Adams, Fisher and Chappell PLLC. Her husband, Gordon, has a background as a pipefitter. "All of the different aspects made sense to us. They all go hand-in-hand with a bed and breakfast and we didn't have anything like it in Ripley."

Rhodes says the gift shop will have local inventory.

 "We're trying to incorporate Jackson County products as much as we can," said Rhodes, referring to locally-made quilts. "We want to be involved with the community. We want our out-of-town guests to be able to see what Jackson County has to offer."

And that includes coffee shop products from one of the few goat dairies in the region. Accessible from its own entrance, it will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. with a menu of pastries and biscuits for breakfast and soup and sandwiches for lunch and dinner. A diverse choice of drinks will feature coffees, teas, lattes, mochas and frappes.

Country Rhodes, a play off the popular John Denver song, has a staff of five full-time and four part-time employees. They will be the key to the success of the business, according to Rhodes.

"It comes down to personal, customer service," she said. "We want it to feel like you're coming home."

Country Rhodes may be reached at 304-372-3755.


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