This fall, the Floyd Country Store began an exciting new chapter. For the first time in almost two decades, the Floyd Country Store logo and digital look underwent an exciting refresh. The move was motivated by owners Dylan Locke and Heather Krantz’s mission of using storytelling to share the magic of Floyd, the Country Store, and traditional Appalachian music and dance. To further this goal, Locke and Krantz are also launching Floyd Country Store TV: a streaming platform that will make the Country Store and its events accessible around the world.
A New Look and a New Chapter
Since purchasing the Country Store from Jackie and Woody Crenshaw eight years ago, Krantz says, “We’ve been real careful to keep as much as we can the same for our customers and community over the last eight years.” The Floyd Country Store has been a beloved music venue and community center for generations, and Krantz and Locke have taken care to preserve its warm atmosphere and musical traditions.
Now, in light of the pandemic and post-lockdown conditions, they decided it would be a good time to invest in sharing the Country Store’s story, and, as Krantz says, “We felt like it would be a good time to show people we’re still here, alive and well!”
For Locke, the emphasis of the Country Store’s new chapter is all about storytelling: sharing the magic of Floyd and the Store in an authentic, organic way. With the help of Roanoke-based ad agency Firefli, they decided to refresh a few aspects of the Store’s brand. The decision was not initially intentional, but it came naturally. Locke says, “We consulted with Firefli to help us tell the story of the Floyd Country Store: the people, the music, the traditions that reflect our lifestyle and values, and how our local friends and visitors come together and share in an experience. Through the desire to tell this story came the idea to refresh and sharpen some of the tools that we use to tell the story.”
The brand “refresh” includes a merch launch with all-new designs, featuring the new Store logo and Store colors. Krantz hopes the new look will be exciting for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect to. “We are always focused on building our community,” she says.
One of the messages at the center of the brand refresh is “Find Your Folk.” It’s a double entendre. On one hand, it means: come here to find your people–come here to find a space you can call home, a space that will always welcome you with open arms. On the other, it’s a call to embrace the music of Appalachia: the genres of old time, bluegrass, and countless variations of country and folk that have developed out of centuries of cultural mixing and melding–music that the Country Store is committed to preserving. As the mantra “Find Your Folk” suggests, there’s something for everyone. Come on in and find it–you might come away with more than you expected.
“We have lots of care for the Floyd Country Store community, the Country Store team, the musicians, the dancers, the makers, and our guests who find us by chance or in planned pilgrimages to see the traditions of Appalachia alive and well in a small close-knit community,” says Locke. “We are excited to tell our story more clearly and to a larger community because we think there is power and magic in these traditions: the traditions of music-making, dancing, sharing, and learning, making your own things, and living within a small community where you come together more than you separate.”
Community connection is at the heart of the Country Store’s mission. As Locke and Krantz believe, community involvement with music and art can be an essential means of bridging political and cultural divides. This idea of “art as civic repair” was articulated by Irish poet Tess Taylor in a 2021 piece for Harper’s Bazaar titled “Getting On With It.” In the article, Taylor describes the experience of finding herself in Floyd in 2016. After wandering into the Country Store on a Friday Night, she decides to join a square dance. While dancing from partner to partner, she is overcome with hope about how such a divided country could come together again. She writes: “I did not lose my resolve to fight for the things I care about, but I also noticed how the dance invited a small mountain community into a social contract: dancing together was a way of agreeing to care for one another.”
As Locke describes, “The simple act of making music together, dancing with strangers, and upholding age-old traditions brings people together. Folks don’t spend any time thinking about the other person’s politics, religious beliefs, or anything else, they simply want to find common ground and understanding… These are simple practices that are subtle and powerful at the same time.”
Announcing Floyd Country Store TV
Since the 1900s, the Country Store has been a space where the local community could come together and indulge in music and good company. Now, the Country Store wants to share its impact with as many people as possible.
Floyd Country Store TV is a streaming platform that shares high-quality content from the Country Store, such as concerts, dances, Friday Night Jamborees, educational content from Handmade Music School, and much more. The content is a mix of live-stream events, recorded performances, documentaries, and tutorials. The idea for the platform sprung from the pandemic, during which the Store started streaming its events online to those who were not able to attend in person or felt safer attending virtually. “Everyone loved it so much that we decided we needed to find a better way to continue doing it,” says Krantz. “People tuned in from all over the world and we realized this would be a great way to stay connected with all of them.”
With support from the community, Floyd Country Store TV will be able to grow and expand to contain interviews, behind-the-scenes content from the Country Store, and more. “It’ll be like YouTube or Netflix for the Country Store,” says Locke, “or like Tiny Desk Concerts for string band music.”
Floyd Country Store TV is available online at floydcountrystore.tv. It is also accessible as an application on over 1000 devices including iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV.
As the Floyd Country Store begins its new chapter, Locke and Krantz reflect on the long-term goals of the store: making events and activities accessible for more people, inspiring young people–both locally and beyond–to start or continue playing Appalachian music and dances, and to keep sharing the joy of Appalachia with the world.
“We have a real hope that the things we see day in and day out can spread and build a community built on traditions, care, and compassion,” says Locke.
Learn more about the Floyd Country Store at www.floydcountrystore.com.