SMYRNA -- Filbert may have its peaches and McConnells its dairy farms, but David McFalls hopes to make a name for Smyrna with a more unconventional commodity.
That's right, scuppernongs -- the golden-green grape that has grown on wild vines in the Southeast for generations.
McFalls, owner of the new business David's Garden, hopes to plant a small orchard with scuppernongs and plums -- his personal specialties -- as the centerpiece of his new nursery and garden store off S.C. 97 between Smyrna and Hickory Grove.
"They're sweet and juicy," McFalls said of his scuppernongs.
He already grows some in his backyard, just down a short path through the woods from his store. He and his wife, Lena, make jam from the golf ball-sized fruit, too.
"Some varieties are a little tart," he said. "But kids like the sweet ones, so that's what I'm growing."
McFalls opened his nursery a couple of weeks ago on a hillside near his home. He started selling plants, mulch, stone and dirt. He built a red barn with walls made of sawmill lumber on the site. Inside, he stocks fresh produce, knick-knacks handmade by family members and friends and other small gift items.
Everything has a country flair.
McFalls hopes to grow his business into a local liars' table for the Smyrna community. The rural York County town north of Hickory Grove and just this side of the Cherokee County line needs a place for locals to catch up on gossip, grab a sandwich and cold drink or eat an ice cream cone, McFalls says.
He already has rocking chairs in the barn with a checkerboard table.
"Nice little place," said customer Ronnie Martin as he picked up a bag of plums and a carton of boiled peanuts, spending part of his lunch hour shooting the breeze.
McFalls, retired almost a decade from General Tire in Charlotte, learned to grow and work the soil as a child on his grandfather's McConnells farm. He's been growing plants and vines -- he makes his own Concord grape wine -- as a hobby ever since.
"I was out back rootin' some plants when I got the idea," he said. "I went inside and told my wife I'm startin' my own nursery and little store.
"That's where this all started, just playin' in the back yard."
Lena McFalls, who works as the nursery's clerk, has warmed up to the plan, but admits it has been a lot of work getting off the ground.
"I'm exhausted, but it's been good," she said. "When he first came in and told me his idea I thought, 'Oh my gosh, what is he getting us into now?'"
McFalls said most of his early business has been from the mulch and stone sales. It's the only place for miles with a mulch yard, he said. He plans to keep adding merchandise and grow steadily.
"It's not just about making money. Right now, I just want to have enough to have a draw," McFalls said, relaxing in an easy chair in the barn. "If they see something they like, they'll be back again. It's starting slow. But it's gonna be a handful one of these days."