Tazewell native Allen Hatfield is known for his former occupation as owner of The Villa Italian restaurant in Bluefield, but now he has a new business to share with people.
Blue Mountain Rustic is an antiques and oddities store that Hatfield also plans to expand to several attractions for locals and people visiting the area.
“This store is antiques, oddities, music, records and things like that,” Hatfield said. “We also have old furniture, cool craftsman of art and woodwork.”
Hatfield also said they have a gemstone mine that they just recently opened and will be opening their produce stand in about two weeks.
Hatfield was born and raised in Tazewell, and he made his living and lived in the area with his restaurant; however, he felt he needed to try something new.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business for 20 years, and it was time for a change,” he said. “With the restaurant, I missed a lot of holidays and family time, so I felt I needed a change to be able to slow down a bit.”
Hatfield mentioned another reason he felt it was time to move on to a new business was due to the pandemic.
“The restaurant industry was getting hard to hire, and that was one of the big reasons,” he said. “COVID has really changed the industry a lot.”
Hatfield added that his restaurant had no problems, but that they wanted to “get the upper hand”.
Hatfield said he noticed for the first time that the store was going to work every day since the restaurant was in Bluefield and he lived in Tazewell, and he said it was a lot of work to do once he had finally acquired the building and land.
“This building has been vacant for 20 years, and it’s such a cool property,” he said.
Hatfield added: “It was kind of an eye sore for the area for a while just looking at it. When the time came for things to change pace at the restaurant and I got married, I felt good.
Hatfield has collected old and rare items for much of his life, so he said he thought it was something he would like to do.
“I’ve always loved picking and finding old and unique things,” Hatfield said.
On top of that, Hatfield also said, “It was a win-win situation for me and the area because it was going to look better for our locals and our travellers, and it’s such a cool place to have a store.”
The store officially opened in July 2021. According to Hatfield, the store has been very popular with locals and they have had several visitors from out of town.
“It was a great response from the community, they really got behind us,” he said. “The adults had as much fun as the kids, and sometimes more.”
Hatfield also mentioned: “When you’re with your family looking for things to do, it was the idea of being able to go to a store, find interesting things and also be able to spend time having fun with the family. .”
Hatfield believes the store brings something different to the area and preserves some of the history behind the items they have in the store.
“I think it brings variety. This is going to give the community another outlet to gather and hang out,” he said.
Hatfield also added, “It’s not just a store, but a place to come and find quirky and different things, and the other things are also something else to do while you’re there.”
In order to stock the store with all the different items they carry, Hatfield and his family travel to many other locations to view collections and shows. They also ask local artists and jewelry makers to exhibit their work.
“We just take weekends off and things to travel and visit different cities, flea markets and things like that,” Hatfield said. “We also have people moving or doing things like that that will sell collections.”
There are several things Hatfield wants to add to the store ownership besides the store and the gemstone mine.
“We want to create workshops offering glow-in-the-dark painting parties, jewelry making, live music, grilling and cooking, other games, and we plan to add catfish to the pond. that we have behind the gemstone mine, add trail walking, and maybe treehouses or cabins,” Hatfield said.
Hatfield said he really wanted to give the community something everyone could enjoy.
“We have seven acres here, and we wanted to use the whole property as a place where you could come hang out and not just go to the store or the gem mine,” he said.
Hatfield also added, “It’s about giving the community a place to hang out and come and do different things.”
Hatfield said he liked what the store offered the community and had several parts of this business that he considered his favorites.
“I love the creative side of it, meeting people and other artists, whether it’s musical jewelry or woodwork or painting,” he said. “You find things you’ve only seen and never really touched, whether they’re so old or so rare. People are just as unique as what you find, travelers and locals.
Hatfield added: “It really allowed me to slow down and reconnect because [the restaurant] taken all my life. »
The store is completely family-run, and Hatfield’s father, Russ Hatfield, said he thought it made this business better for him since the restaurant eventually had hiring problems. He also said he was proud of the work his son had put into the business.
“He worked hard and did most of the renovations himself,” the elder Hatfield said. “He made almost everything in this store, cabinets, shelves, counters and way too many other things to mention.”
He also said, “I love being with my son and helping him. I love everything, and what I really love is that a lot of other people enjoy it.
Hatfield said he thinks the work he does with his store is so important because of the value of the items he sells.
“That old stuff is what our generations throw away, it’s where we come from,” he said. “That’s why we are where we are, whether it’s monetary value or memories.”
He ended by saying, “I want to keep it and involve our generations in it and not throw it away. I just want people to see the beauty in there.
Hatfield said he knows things are tough for people right now with gas and groceries as high as they are, but he hopes people can still find the time to come. to visit.
For more information on Blue Mountain Rustic, visit their Facebook page.