Pierpont Store’s brand-new gas pump stands out against the rusted tin roof and olive green siding of the century-old building.

The convenience store sits next to the intersection of Highway 163 and Route N in the village of Pierpont. Behind the homemade signs advertising fresh farm eggs, snacks and spirits is the center of this rural community. And though the store was recently bought, the new owners are working hard to ensure any changes won’t erase these hometown values.

The long history of Pierpont Store is a common talking point among locals. The building has stood on Highway 163 since 1889, and townsfolk say it has been a blacksmith’s shop, a gristmill, a distillery, a private residence and finally a convenience store.

“It’s not a supermarket, but it’s nice to have around for most of the necessities you need, so you don’t have to go all the way into town,” said Kenneth Horn, a member of the Pierpont Board of Trustees. “It’s just a little general store that everyone seems to like.”

Longtime Pierpont residents Jed and Brandy Taylor recently purchased Pierpont Store from Edward and Renee John, who owned and operated the store from 1995 to 2019. During those 24 years, it became a place for locals to share official news with flyers, brag about their hunting and fishing successes by posting pictures on a wall and simply enjoy each other’s company over morning coffee.

Andy Clubb, who is working with the Taylors as Pierpont Store’s new general manager, says locals often turn to them when they need anything.

“Like in the wintertime, you get big snow,” he said. “A lot of people will call the store and say, ‘Hey, I need my driveway bladed out; who do you recommend?’ And there are two or three phone numbers of people who blade snow on the bulletin board.”

Clubb said the store’s service to the community dates back to its location at the bottom of the hill by Devil’s Icebox, when, as a distillery, it supplied water in times of need.

Despite the legacy Pierpont Store holds with its community, Clubb assures that any changes made will only serve people better. In the coming months, Clubb and the Taylors hope to add locally sourced fruits, vegetables, farm-raised meats and sandwiches to the store’s expansive inventory. Clubb also says they’re working on building additional seating areas both inside and outside the store so it can remain Pierpont’s gathering place. But he said many things won’t change, like the painted shiplap walls and wooden floors.

The Taylors are not only improving Pierpont Store but also its relationship with Rock Bridge Memorial State Park and Three Creeks Conservation Area, located on either side of the building. Clubb says they’re working closely with both areas to establish the store as a meeting place for those interested in exploring the surrounding wildlife.

The Taylors “wanted to maintain the integrity of the store,” Clubb said, “and the community feel.”

So while regulars get used to updates like a shiny new gas pump, they can be certain Pierpont Store will maintain its heart and history.

Missourian reporter Gaby Morera Di Núbila contributed to this story.

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