bulletin board
events calendar
business directory

best friend
news briefs



Occupied Carlton
Store has new owner

Comment on this story >>

Someone added Carlton to the "Occupy" movement, but with a local twist.

A month ago a mannequin dressed in white sneakers, acid washed jeans, a plaid shirt and a Santa hat appeared at the city limits south of Carlton holding a sign that said, “Occupy Carlton Somebody Please.” Sometimes, dreams come true.

Four days before Christmas, Jeff Lyman officially occupied the Carlton store, which has been vacant and closed since last spring. Lyman hopes to reopen the local landmark by April, if not sooner.

The Carlton General Store has a long history. The very brief, recent history is this: In 2006, Bill and Diana McAdow (who owned the business since 1983) sold the store to Al Lynch and retired. In spring of 2011 Lynch defaulted, abandoned the store and left town. On June 17, 2011, the title reverted back to Diana McAdow (her husband Bill passed away in 2010 at age 64 while vacationing in Los Frailes, Mexico). The McAdow family and friends did what they could to clean the place up and put it back on the market. On December 21, 2011 a deal was closed and Jeff Lyman is now officially the new proprietor of an old store.

Lyman, 35, parked his RV in the valley in spring of 2011, intending to stay, fish and work through fall. Somewhere along the way, the plan changed.

“At some point I realized I wanted to find a way to stay, but I wasn’t sure how to make that happen. Then this opportunity came up,” said Lyman. “I bought a store, but basically I bought myself a job. Oh, my god, did I buy a job.”

Lyman, originally from the Westside, has traveled and labored across the West. He has been employed as a motorcycle mechanic in Arizona, a financial advisor in Wenatchee, a lift operator at Mission Ridge and rented jet skis in Bellingham. Here in the Methow in the last six months Lyman worked at the Freestone Inn, the River Run Inn, the Flyfishers Pro Shop in Winthrop and as a fishing guide for Globetrouters.

“I have a lot of experience in sales and customer service, but I’ve never done anything like this, never owned a store,” said Lyman. “It’s going to be a darned big learning experience.”

Jeff Lyman, the new owner of the Carlton Store, is rennovating the interior of the building but plans to leave the exterior much the same.

For now, Lyman is focused on cleaning up, restoring and remodeling the space. He’s spent his first ten days in the store tearing out the old shelving and counters, sorting through what to keep, what to dump and what to drink.

“We’re touching everything in this place – electrical, plumbing, walls, ceilings, floors, roof,” said Lyman, sipping on a can of peach tea that was part of the inventory left over from when the previous owner defaulted and split town. “It’s an old building. There are lots of things to do.”

Besides fixing up the interior, the first order of business is to get the gas pumps running, though Lyman is discovering that navigating the maze of red tape and Department of Ecology regulations is no easy feat. If all goes well, he hopes to have one pump operational by the beginning of February. The store itself would likely still be closed, but motorists could at least pay at the pump with a credit card. Beyond that, Lyman is still figuring out his vision for the store itself and what to sell, though he doesn’t imagine anything too radical. The store will still be called the Carlton General Store and have most everything one might want in a small country store.

“People keep asking me ‘are you gonna have hot dogs, are you gonna have hot dogs?’ so I guess we’ll have hot dogs,” said Lyman. “We’re pretty much doing deconstruction at this point, so that’s all a work in progress.”

Lyman’s goal is to renovate and reopen the store by April 1, but there is a lot to be done between now and then. Lyman plans to offer as many local products as possible in the store. The avid angler and part-time fishing guide will also have a complete fishing section.

“I want to listen and hear what people have to say and what they want,” said Lyman. “This business is about giving customers what they want and need. I want to do a good job at that.”

In some ways, it’s a fresh start for both the Carlton store and Lyman, who now lives in the attached apartment on the north side of the building.

“I’ve had so many people coming by and wishing me luck and even inviting me to dinner,” said Lyman. “Locals are excited the place is opening again. I’m just happy to be here.”


Patrick Hannigan is a freelance writer who lives in Twisp.

read more feature stories in the archive >>


Welcome! I'm happy you bought the store. Great news!! I look forward to seeing you there!

Ananda Bajema
down the road from Carlton

I am always interested in the town of Carlton since I grew up there in the 1940s and '50s. My dad owned and operated the "Carlton Garage". Back in the day there was a store,cafe,service station, roller skating rink,and locker building and church until the flood of 1948. Also the Carlton School just up the hill. I'm sure there will be a lot of changes in the store but I am hoping the door will stay so we will know it is the same building. Thanks for letting me post.

Jane (Rendell) Lewis

I would like everyone to know that Jeff Lyman is one great guy. I've known Jeff for several years, his mother and father are very dear friends. I know that Jeff and what he will do with the Carlton General Store will be a very big plus for the Methow Valley.

Vaughan Mason
Kirkland, WA