Wise County

Local hangout closes in Big Stone Gap

BIG STONE GAP, Va. - Most small towns across the country have a place where everyone seems to gather. It could be a barber shop or a garage, but for Big Stone Gap it's the Mutual Drug Store, or "The Mutual" as they call it.

The pharmacy, variety store and lunch counter will close on July 26, ending 60 years of doing business in the same location.

It was depicted in best-selling books written about Big Stone Gap and on any given day you'll find customers from all walks of life visiting and sharing conversation.

One customer has been dropping by since 1969; that's 44 years. "I was talking to one of the federal judges there as I was leaving. He's over this district. He hadn't been over here in seven years, lives in Abingdon and he said it would really hurt them on court days not having a place to eat," Barney Gilley said.

The pharmacy was bought out by a national chain, but there's hope the lunch counter will be bought by someone else and continue the long-running tradition.

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