Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:34PM - 281 Views

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A local couple is returning to Mingo County after 25 years.

Wayne and Marylou Warf both graduated from Matewan High School in Mingo County, and later owned and operated the Williamson-Delbarton Ambulance Service by contracting with the Mingo County Commission.

In the late 1980’s the couple moved to Chicago, IL and later to Columbus, OH. They missed Mingo County during the whole time and longed for a way to “get back home” but could not figure a way to make it happen.

In October of 2011 Marylou left her job as a registered nurse and went full time into the type of work the couple has always loved; buying used items and selling them—especially collectible items. By May of this year, their yard sales had grown to such a size that the city of Columbus stepped in and suggested they needed to make changes.

Wayne Warf had this to say about that, “We began seriously looking for a place in Columbus suitable to open a thrift store, and quickly realized that with the price of a store, and the long term commitment of a property lease, we might never get back home to Mingo County. After a few weeks of researching every angle, I concluded that we might as well just start the business where we want to live, so we went on a mission to find a suitable spot in Mingo or Pike County. We were staying with family over at Gilbert and learned there was a space that had just opened up in the Gilbert Town Hall Complex, and went to inquire. We signed a lease agreement with the town and opened for business August 1.”

Marylou has strong ties to Gilbert, having lived there and actually went to Gilbert High School for a time. Marylou also grew up working in her father, Tom Lee’s, used furniture and clothing store in Gilbert. She has a lot of friends and family there and has wanted to move there for some time.

Marylou said, “I love Gilbert and always have. Wayne and I were even married here in Gilbert by Reverend Miller.”

Wayne had this to say, “We love all of Mingo County and have strong ties to Williamson, Delbarton, and Matewan. When we looked at every option we ended up choosing Gilbert and are glad we did. The mayor, Vivian Livingood, and her staff at town hall have really been great to work with. Everything they have promised, they have come through on.”

Gilbert mayor Vivian Livingood had this to say concerning the return of the Warfs to Mingo County: “It is always pleasing to hear that a business wants to come into Gilbert and offer another service to our residents and surrounding communities. Town Council was recently approached by Wayne and Marylou Warf who have ties to Mingo County that they hoped to open Country Roads Thrift Store in town.

Wayne used to be involved with an ambulance service and Marylou had relatives who operated a country store for many years. Their hearts are still here in West Virginia and we were excited that they chose to return. Gilbert Municipal Complex has been turned into a business incubator which offers small businesses an opportunity to rent out the classroom-sized spaces at a very reasonable rate.

All the old rooms have been painted and individual heating/cooling units have been installed for better climate control of each space. New double-paned windows have replaced the huge leaky windows from the past. A new roof has been installed over the entire building. Wayne and Marylou expressed their desire to rent out one of the double rooms for their upcoming country store. They opened on August 1st to the public and have been moving items to this location weekly.

We really wish them the very best of luck with their business and have tried to assist them in any way possible to get started. We hope everyone will stop by and chat with the Warfs as they have many stories of the older days of Gilbert. I love Gilbert area people because of their support to their communities. I firmly believe we make a difference by keeping as much business as we can, right here at home. We welcome the Warfs and their commitment to our town!”

Marylou Warf is the owner and operator of Country Roads Thrift Store located in the Gilbert Town Hall Complex building. They offer a wide selection of gently used items including, but not limited to, Furniture, Housewares, Kitchenware, Clothes, Toys, Games, Wall Art, Picture Frames, Photo Albums, Books, Jewelry, Collectibles, Antiques, Sports Cards & Memorabilia, Vintage Postcards & Ephemera, 33rpm & 45rpm Records, CD’s, DVD’s, VHS tapes, Electronics, Purses, Shoes, Glassware, Pottery, Dishes, Linens, Stuffed Animals, Knick Knacks, Vintage Photos & Books, Country Craft items, Baskets, Holiday items, Luggage, Oddities, Collectible, Plates, Salt and Peppers, and much, much more.

Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. To contact the store call (304) 664-6411.

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