In French, clair means bright or light. On this rainy day, Leclair’s General Store, nestled in the heart of Fayetteville’s historic Haymount district, was the little ray of light I needed. I’d previously been introduced by another local blogger, @GoFayetteville, but this trip I got to chat with store owner, Patrick Leclair, who shared part of his story with me. I love listening to others’ narratives and Patrick’s journey to Fayetteville is no exception. Having previously worked for Ralph Lauren in corporate America, Patrick tells me of his
transition from the big apple to North Carolina, his heart for our military community, and his desires to be closer to family. We chatted about dreaming this business into reality as his vision developed over the last 8 years. I noticed he paused to make point of the help he received from family and friends. Patrick’s parents Paul and Mary Leclair settled in Fayetteville along with their other son, his wife, and their four children. Patrick and I relate easily with our military connection, as his brother is an Army Lieutenant Colonel and the Fort Bragg area has become “home” to both our families. We briefly talk about gardening and raising our boys in the outdoors, and Patrick proudly speaks to the efforts his mom makes to share her love for the outdoors with his son–definitely one of my Abuelita goals. I try to convince him to open shop in nearby rural Linden—and I quietly day dream about working with my husband in our own shop someday. Then I ask to sit in the back room and do what I came to do today, work.
You see, my soldier man is traveling a lot these days, and I’ve come to the realization that 1) I blog most when he is away and 2) I work more too. The blogging piece has become more than a hobby, but also an effective coping strategy when I’m managing a home on my own. This morning before working, I drove the Haymount portion of Fayetteville’s larger dogwood trail capturing flowering dogwoods and other spring blossoms I was going to blog about. Why not turn a rainy day into an flower-paparazzi adventure?
Fifty pics later, I remembered work had to get done, hence the Leclair’s stop. When walking in, new products immediately captured my attention, as did the sweet aroma of fresh brewed coffee. I could have worked there all day.
Once I settled in my work chair, warm brew in hand, The Knack’s My Sharona started playing on the turntable, and I immediately felt right at home. I’m singing and sit-dancing, and praying there is no corner camera capturing it all. The back room is stocked with books, old vinyls, and vintage finds for sale. Reminds me of Meriwether’s in Kansas and for a moment, I really miss Fort Leavenworth. I’m soon joined by a college student, as others slowly trickle in. The group is venting about a professor and ethics while I’m deep in my work-zone when my thoughts drift to my own career and the impact I have on the lives of others. I sure hope it’s positive! We go through life crossing paths with others albeit for a moment on a daily basis. Personally, the slightest positive comment or gesture makes my heart smile big. I was so thankful for that small group today—especially as one paused to draw my attention to Funky Cold Medina playing in the background—yes, you interrupted my work-mode, but I heard you friend and I internally jammed out to Tone Loc unbeknownst to others 😊. I also worked extra hard today thanks to your group’s conversation!
So here’s what I loved most about being in Leclair’s General Store today… for starters, Patrick wears humility on his sleeve and that alone is a win in my book. Can’t we all just be nice humans? Be a Leclair people, #bealeclair! His approach to business is what draws people to this special little store. Sure, the local art is fabulous, the artisan products are rich quality, the coffee is delicious, the vintage setting is right up my alley, and the 80’s music and eclectic ambiance are perfection, but the welcoming…the humanness is the why. The community support coupled with local partnerships and Leclair’s vision to recreate a classic market space for gatherings successfully brings people together in this amazing space. The human heart is clear and Leclair’s passion for what he does and for Fayetteville shines bright in Haymount. This is my kinda’ people! If you haven’t stopped in yet—do! Take a wine and yoga class, try a poetry night, join for a local fundraiser, or simply detour, get inspired, and say hi 😊.
Ciao for now friends!
(Not sponsored, just sharing that which inspires me and makes me feel at home wherever the military moves us.)