What would it take to make your small business a destination location–the store, firm, website, or service that everyone was talking about? Betty’s Country Store is the talk of the town in Helen, GA, a quaint Alpine mountain village a few miles from my river house. (Visit  www.bettysinhelen.com for a virtual taste.) Even in the winter, the store is full of guests, eager to enjoy all that makes Betty’s an in-site (a place of innovative service).

The antique farm implements and a 1930’s gasoline pump on the front lawn are the first eye candy that bids you enter the store. The posters and antiques that adorn the walls, the smell of coffee brewing, and the sounds of 1960’s country and western songs tell you that you just entered a country store that is part museum, part country fair and part gourmet restaurant. Should there be a child or grandchild in tow; the super friendly staff encourages you to not miss seeing the active beehive and honey making operation just past the front door. For the adults, there is a huge wine collection—including many varieties from local wineries.

But, there is much more. They have the largest collection of marbles in the region displayed in large barrels—buy ‘em by the pound! Looking for an Orange Crush, RC Cola, Sarsaparilla, Sugar Daddy or Kits? What about canned possum, stone-ground sawmill grits or firewood? And, should you be camping nearby, it’s the place to go to buy gourmet coffee and filters sold individually, not a whole package you don’t need.

The charm of Betty’s is the spirit of adventure that dons their hardwood floors and old-fashioned shelves. And, you can’t miss the passion of the people, starting with owner-manager Darlene Broadway who bought the store in 1987 from her founder-parents Betty and George Fain. “When I get up in the morning I can’t wait to get down here, because every day is different from the next,” Darlene says. “I can’t imagine ever leaving. As long as I can walk and put the key in the front door.”