O’Brien’s General Store in Ashland City opened last month as a business response to the pandemic by the Beasley family.

The owners are husband and wife Chris and Candice Beasley and their sons Chase Beasley and Peyton Ownby. The 1,500-square-foot building houses a convenience store and gas station.

According to Chris, the location has housed several convenience stores through the years but had been vacant since 2018. Chris and Candice also own O’Brien’s Southern Diner in Ashland City, and after the impact the coronavirus had on the restaurant industry, the family decided to open the general store to “pandemic-proof” itself.

Chris said a gas station and convenience store seemed like businesses that could remain viable during the pandemic. O’Brien is Candice’s maiden name.

The store sells fishing and hunting licenses and supplies, Hunt Brothers’ pizza and wings, breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, cold cut sandwiches and snacks. The family is building a full kitchen — which it hopes to open this month — that will offer barbecue throughout the week, bologna sandwiches, chili and other stick-to-your-ribs fare, particularly for when cold weather arrives.

The store is located next to the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area and tries to cater to the fishermen and hunters who frequent the area.

Chris said a previous store at the same location — Duke’s Convenience Store – was a huge community hub for the Petway area in the 1980s.

“This Petway community is different from Ashland City,” Chris said. “There’s a lot of close-knit community here. We try to look out for one another. I keep a list for folks here to write down what they’d like us to carry, so they don’t have to go all the way to Ashland City or White Bluff for what they need.”

Chris touched on what the community meant to him growing up there.

“I said when I had kids, I would bring them back here,” he said.

The family did most of the remodeling itself and got many of the supplies, such as the flooring and mounted deer heads, donated from other area businesses.

Chase, who comes from a construction background, welcomed the opportunity to work with family.

“It’s a lot better than having a hateful boss watching over you,” he said.

Ownby, who worked with the family in the diner, said that he’d always wanted to own a gas station.

“The people that come in and support us are great,” he said. “It’s a whole different world, getting into the gas station business, but it’s been wonderful.”

Chris said that the family hopes to host a farmers market, car shows and live music events in the parking lot for the community.

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