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A Pleasant experience in Doeville for more than a hundred years

Louise Pleasant has seen many changes in the community of Doeville since she first moved there from the town of Old Butler in the late 1930s. Louise first met Karl Pleasant while she was attending Watauga Academy, a school once located where Watauga Lake is now. The couple hit it off well and by 1938 were set to be married.
Karl was the son of a local storeowner, Roderick Butler “Judge” Pleasant, and was a part of the “OK” Pleasants that were featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. All of Karl’s brother’s names began with the letter K and all of his sisters began with the letter O.
Judge owned Pleasant Brothers Store, which had been built off the new State Highway 67 around the turn of the century, and in the late 30s also served as a local service station with two hand crank gas pumps out front. Many of Judge’s sons went into business like their father and several established their own in Doeville. Karl had the most interest in the store and consequently took it over in the 1940s when his father passed away.
Following his marriage to Louise, he began building a brick house just in front of the store. Additionally, Karl extended the old store building by enclosing the location of the gas pumps. Coy Allen, a local mason, poured and molded the blocks for the new foundation using sand hauled in from the lake.
According to Louise, the early years of the store saw the sale of just about anything anyone could want in the community. Feed, groceries, clothing, and many odds and ends lined the shelves throughout the building along with other provided services including a public showering facility, and chicken lot to buy and sell chickens and eggs. The store was originally self-powered by a generator in the basement.
Many times Karl would accept barter for his goods, trading such things as chestnuts, eggs, and walnuts for store goods.
Louise, alongside Karl, worked in the store and operated it consistently for more than 40 years, making thousands of friends along the way. Most customers were local people in Doeville, stopping in for their necessary goods or to play a round of checkers near the stove at the back of the store. However, occasionally a traveler from Johnson City or Bristol would come through, and according to Louise, many of these became lasting friends.
Expanding his operations, Karl built a service station on the opposite side of the road, which also served as a grill and a live bait shop.
Ellis Tucker, Louise’s brother, was the first to operate the station for Karl, followed by Karl’s brother, Klan. Just up the road another of Karl’s brothers, Kyle, had also built a hardware and furniture store, and by the 1950s Doeville was a booming little community.
However, by the mid 1970s Karl’s health began to suffer and he decided to sell the store to his daughter, Trula Haley. Trula operated the business for a few years before selling it to Don Tyse of Pennsylvania. Tyse leased the store to several individuals, but the business holds the distinction of having never actually shut down.
Herb Hampton was the last to lease the store from Tyse, and he successfully ran it for around 12 years. Anthony Losito, also from Pennsylvania, bought the store from Tyse after Hampton decided to quit. While Hampton had operated the business much in the same way as Karl had, Losito brought in new ideas that have shaped the way the store is now run.
Losito was the first to begin making northern style subs that the store is now famous for. When Losito, too, finally decided to sell the business in 2005, Mike and Dawn Barber, the current owners, purchased the store and continued to expand the sub shop with much success. Karl passed away in 1991, but Lisa Pleasant, the wife of Lonnie Pleasant, has been a mainstay employee of the store since Karl last operated it, and has maintained a “Pleasant” presence in the business through its many owners.
The most recent change to come to Doeville was the unexpected announcement that a Dollar General would be built there earlier this year. In much the same way that Pleasant’s Store once carried the various needs of the community, this new business is seeing much success in its first few months of operation. Louise, who recently visited the new store stated, “ I thought I would never see the day when a dollar store would be built here. It’s a really good thing for the community and they can provide so many things that weren’t around when Karl and I ran the store.”
As the decades have passed many businesses have come and gone. Some have adapted to the changing times and others have sprung up to fill in the niches left behind. Some, such as Louise Pleasant, have been lucky enough to bear witness to many of these changes firsthand and as more people move into the region each year, one thing is for sure. More changes are on their way.