WEEKEND — Joyce General Store celebrates 100 years with a town party Saturday

JOYCE — Mary Pfaff-Pierce hears it often: “You haven’t failed me yet.”

That’s the kind of thing people in these parts say about her business, the 100-year-old Joyce General Store at 50893 state Highway 112.

Sure, it’s a store, with a candy selection people marvel at, fishing supplies, ice cream, milk and eggs, and fruits and vegetables.

But also, “it’s a community center,” said Pfaff-Pierce.

Joyce residents — single people as well as families — come to shop and visit, and the community’s post office is in the store.

So Pfaff-Pierce, whose family has owned the store since 1957, is throwing a 100th anniversary party Saturday, with music by the local rock ’n’ rollers Fat Chance, prize drawings, free hot dogs, Pepsi, ice cream and cake, plus more music by visiting Seattle band the Puddle City Poss­ums.

Saturday’s centennial celebration will start at noon and wind down at around 5 p.m.

Drawings for a gas barbecue, a bicycle, ice chests, Adirondack chairs, Joyce General Store T-shirts, mugs and other items will be held throughout the day.

Admission is free, and Fat Chance and the Possums will take turns playing from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

The Joyce General Store is a stalwart, open seven days a week year-round from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

But ask Pfaff-Pierce exactly when the doors first swung open, and she neither hems nor haws.

“We don’t know. They didn’t keep good records back then,” she replied.

She does know, however, that 1911 was the year Joe Joyce built the place.

Joyce was the brother-in-law of Michael Earles, builder of the original Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and owner of most of Port Crescent and Joyce in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

During that era, Pfaff-Pierce’s maternal grandfather, Francis Schmitt, rode the rails from his Minnesota home to San Francisco, took a sailing ship to Seattle and then a steamer to Port Crescent.

Her family has lived in Joyce ever since.

When Pfaff-Pierce heard about another event, the Great Strait Sale along state Highway 112, she thought it would be great to have the Joyce General Store join the party.

So she and her neighbor Sande Balch, chairwoman of the fourth annual sale, got together to schedule both events Saturday.

It’s a perfect day for the centennial — and for the sale, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and stretches westward from Joyce for some 60 miles.

Both the general store party and the Great Strait Sale celebrate community spirit — along with Highway 112’s national identity as the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway.

“It was started as a community ‘fun-raiser,’” not necessarily just to make money, Balch said of the sale. “The purpose of it was to unite all four communities — Joyce, Clallam Bay, Sekiu and Neah Bay — on one day on the scenic byway.”

Local residents as well as churches and other neighborhood groups set up a string of yard sales along the road, so motorists can stop and shop for everything from craft supplies to garden tools.

“We want people in our communities and further [away] to come out and see what’s west of Port Angeles on this beautiful drive,” Balch said.

“If you haven’t been to Neah Bay for Kim Brown’s smoked salmon,” for example, “you don’t really live on the Peninsula.”

The Joyce General Store, of course, is a landmark on the scenic byway.

And Saturday’s party is to be held in the afternoon to complement the Great Strait Sale, which is busiest in the morning, Balch added.

Pfaff-Pierce mused that the store has lasted a century because of its location and “because it serves the community.

“It’s not like a lot of businesses in tourist areas. It’s not geared directly to tourists.”

It’s close to Salt Creek and Lake Crescent and, after all, “it’s in downtown Joyce.”


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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