ETHEL, LA (WAFB) - It was a hidden treasure in the small town of Ethel in East Feliciana Parish along Highway 19 until it was lost. Now, the fourth generation to the Williams family is bringing the staple back.
Jeff Williams and his wife Brittany are the fourth generation of the family and said they're anxious, nervous and excited to bring back a form of the original F.S. Williams Country Store that Jeff's great-grandfather, Neil Manship Williams, opened decades ago.
"It was built in 1930 by my great grandfather. It was named after my great-grandmother Faye Sale, and it was just passed down generation to generation," said Jeff Williams.
Around the corner from what will be the new F.S. Williams Outfitters is the old country store that went up in flames in Nov. 2011. All that's left of it now is a slab.
The original country store was relocated as the owners expanded to what many called the "F.S. Williams Mall," serving just about anything and everything people needed with the exception of alcohol.
After the smoke settled, the owner Ray Williams, very emotionally, made a promise back in 2011.
"We have some very momentous stuff from the past that's been 80 years. We want to keep it. When we rebuilt, it'll be on display," said Ray Williams.
Now, his son Jeff is making it all happen by transforming what was once a church into the new F.S. Williams Outfitters that will sell hunting, fishing and outdoor gear.
"It's our version of the store. It's his version of the store," said Jeff's wife Brittany Williams.
"My plan is to start here and add on and expand it to be like it was," said Jeff Williams.
Jeff also kept his father's promise by keeping some parts of the original store like the door from the 1930 building and a turkey that his uncle hunted and was rescued out of the fire, having earned the name "Crispy."
While Jeff and his wife are the brains behind this store, his father Ray Williams is proud to stand behind them as well as his sister Lisa, truly keeping it a family business.
"It means the world to me and to have my dad and sister in here with me, means even more," said Jeff.
"It's a part of my family too. I'm a Williams. I spent many a Saturdays and holidays in here helping out when I could," said Brittany.
The grand opening for the store is Saturday, September 5 at 8 a.m.