Lin Carruth Continues to Dream and Create With The Company StoreBy ELISA MAYO,
As a mother of three children, Olinda “Lin” Carruth’s first priority was her children, “When I was raising a family, I was able to keep my yard and my house and stay home with my children. I was always home when they came in from school and I was always there to cook for them and care for them. Our house was a hub for people. All the kids came to our house. They called me Ms. O and I enjoyed cooking for the kids.” Lin felt it was important to sit down as a family and eat at least one meal a day together and she still does, “I look at these younger moms and I’m not sure how they do it all. I do know you do what you have to, but families today are struggling with economics that requires both parents work. Families also seem to feel like the kids need to be involved in so much. I see why these younger moms are so tired. They don’t have time to plan it. They are trying to do so much and spreading so thin.”
Lin may question the time constraints on today’s family as compared to the time when she raised her own, but at the age of 69, she says, “I think it’s always been a drive all my life that I needed to do more. Even when I was home, I found projects. Once I wallpapered my entire house and then I’d move on to the next project. I also kept myself busy heading up events and organizations in the local community.” Her care for the community extends to present-day as she envisions a Stonewall where shops are revitalized, “It’s a precious village. It’s going to take more than just me. I’m opening an art gallery. We are reaching out to amateur artists to show their work in the gallery and get the encouragement they need. I’d like to see the town with at least four good shops. A sandwich shop would be great.” Lin’s vision expands beyond just thinking about what Stonewall could be as she has opened her own store in the historic town--The Company Store.
The Company Store carries an assortment of clothing and gifts and is an extension of the gift shop she operated when she owned the Coffee Pot Cafe in Enterprise. “When we decided to start the cafe, my husband Ed questioned whether people would come to eat there because of the location. They did and that cafe blossomed. I didn’t do it. God did it. The Coffee Pot was a preface to what I’m doing now.” The Carruths sold the restaurant recently and expanded the gift shop to The Company Store, “I said I would fill this shop and I did. I want to work to improve downtown Stonewall. It’s like it is lost. My focus is on putting something great in these buildings. I feel like at my age it’s something for me to keep doing. I can still create, arrange, buy, and then I can go home and cook a gourmet meal. I have a dream life and I haven’t found one thing that I don’t like to do,” explains Lin.
The Company Store is not the first time this mama has opened her own business, “After I became a widow, I opened a dress shop in Baton Rouge. When my first husband passed in his late forties, my kids were grown. I went from having a family of five to it just being me. I needed to do more. Life was different when I was alone without a husband to help me. I had to learn about taking care of a home, a car, insurance.” Growing up, Lin was from a family of 8 and says, “You had to make it or grow it. My mother taught me to do everything she thought a lady would need to know how to do. I have learned it is never too late to learn and it’s always good to look forward.”
Lin is originally from St. Francis, Louisiana but has made a new home in Clarke County. She has an artistic flair and enjoys painting and creating herself. She also enjoys writing and makes a habit of doing so daily, “I like to write a list out each night before I go to bed. Lists make me more productive and I also like to write my prayers out.” Lin believes in family and worked to help her children find what they were good at. She recalls helping her then three-year old son discover his talent for drawing, “I remember thinking he seemed bored even at three, so I laid down on the living room floor with him and brought out a sketch pad. I started drawing and showed him that you could create anything with your mind. Today he is a graphic artist. I wish families today would take just one week and remove the devices and help their children find out what they like to do. The important thing is to see what you love.”
Lin has a passion for creating and building. Though she does not consider herself a professional artist her work is top-notch. Her ability to encourage others is contagious as she looks for ways to expand the businesses in Stonewall and make the town a continued treasure for Clarke County.