A FAMILY TRADITION
There have been food markets owned and operated by three generations of Smathers in Canton! During the Great Depression, Walter Smathers owned and operated a general/grocery store. His son Underwood worked in Champion Paper’s (Now Evergreen) company store before going into a butcher business with his brother Loranzo after his return from WWII. Their partnership expanded into groceries after purchasing the Curtis Grocery Store on Main St. which became Smathers Grocery. Their success led to the opening of the first modern supermarket west of Asheville in 1960 at the current location of Smathers Farmers & Public Market. The supermarket was a leader in the commercial activity of Canton as well as a social gathering spot where the brothers took pride not only in providing quality products, but being active in the town’s civic, church, and social life. The business prospered until 1989.
In 1983 the 118 Main St. location was transformed into an office building and now houses Smathers & Smathers Attorneys At Law owned by Loranzo’s son and former Mayor Pat and his son and current Mayor Zeb as well as other businesses. In 2020, with the revitalization of downtown Canton in full swing, Pat moved forward with plans to open a farmers market on the site of his father and uncle’s former supermarket. Construction began in early 2021 and the market opened on May 27th, 2021. It has since grown, and is now a nonprofit organization called the Mill Town Farmers Market, located at Sorrells Street Park.
Longtime supermarket manager Charles Smathers Johnson
Pictured left to right: Charles, Loranzo, & Underwood Smathers /1970's Smathers Supermarket/1960's Smathers Supermarket
Please contact MillTownFarmersMarket@gmail.com for more information on Canton’s Farmers Market.