The Purple Shack

Hugh Gary, 6, stopped by The Purple Shack for a little treat after school Tuesday.

After 32 years in (nearly) the same location along Park Avenue, The Purple Shack is headed for greener pastures.

The Purple Shack’s owner Steven Goodwin said the move was prompted by a call from a representatives of the new owners of a strip of property next to Fred’s that was once home to a McDonald’s drive-in.

“We were told last Friday that we had a week to move,” Goodwin said. No other information was forthcoming, such as who the new owners are or what they’re going to do with the property.

Fortunately for Goodwin, Derrick Simpson, general manager of Greenwood Market Place, thought The Purple Shack would be a good addition to his lot.

On Thursday, Goodwin expects to unplug the Purple Shack, load it onto a big forklift and carry it down the road to its new home, close to Park Avenue and in a spot where it certainly can take advantage of the traffic generated by the grocery store.

The Purple Shack was founded 32 years ago by Nan and Sonny Walker, along with a sister shack in the Eastgate Shopping Center on U.S. 82.

It changed hands twice before it was offered to Goodwin in 1992. He said the man who sold it to him was in the middle of a divorce and didn’t want to see his wife get The Purple Shack. The price kept dropping as the man tried to convince him to buy it, and he finally assumed ownership for only $2,500.

“It was the best investment I ever made,” Goodwin said.

He didn’t envision himself working the shack. In fact, he was driving a Snow Ball truck himself and thought the Purple Shack would be the perfect place for his daughter, Heather, who just turned 15 at the time, to spend her time after school. That also worked out for the Goodwins as Heather is now 41 and works for Caterpillar in Nashville.

As Heather ran the shack, Goodwin started thinking of expanding and wondered if the people of Greenwood would like his barbecue. Without investing in a restaurant to find out, Goodwin sold the barbecue out the back of his Snow Ball truck for a year. He found out he had an audience, and Steven’s Bar-B-Q was born at 208 Fulton St.

Meanwhile, The Purple Shack rolled on. But after Heather moved on to bigger things, The Purple Shack has always been staffed by a girl, Goodwin said.

“All my wife (Debbie) ever hired was girls,” he said. Many of them have told him they’ve taken the lessons learned by conducting business in the shack to other ventures in their lives.

The Purple Shack

Two years ago, the people at Fred’s Pharmacy were finding that traffic to The Purple Shack was interfering with their store’s traffic and told Goodwin they’d have to move the shack. After nearby property owners were contacted, the shack had to move only a short distance.

Now, the shack part of The Purple Shack may need a little work, but Goodwin said they’ll work with it as is for the rest of the season and fix it up during the off-season. And although it might look like a small business, it takes both Debbie and Steven to keep it going, as Debbie stops by every evening and takes inventory. Steven makes the ice and mixes the flavors, and then they both restock the shack on their way to the restaurant.

And which flavor do they find themselves mixing more than the others?

“Strawberry can beat them all, two to one,” Goodwin said. And although he didn’t want to sound like a contrarian, he added, “I kind of like raspberry.”

Contact Gavin Maliska at 581-7235 or gmaliska@gwcommonwealth.com.

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