The Lone Camp General Store is a wonderful opportunity to live, work, play and community
Tarrant County Tuesday takes us west to a charming area of S. FM 4 called Lone Camp in Palo Pinto County. This may be the most challenging article I’ve written in my eight years with CandysDirt.com.
(Yes, Candy, where’s the anniversary gift?)
This is the story of an estate that doesn’t fit cleanly into a box like most homes. It is a story of family, faith and so much more. This is the story of a property that can be described as the most significant and integral part of a community located on one of the most picturesque stretches of the Texas Trail.
where do I start? Community first.
About 80 years ago, on the corner of Hoover Road and FM 4, the Lone Camp General Store was born. Quickly, this store became a favorite spot for residents and vacationers for miles and miles. They sold gas, diesel, fishing gear, dry goods — and eventually cold beer.
Located just a few miles from Lake Palo Pinto, the general store was frequented by fishermen, women, and then boaters who wanted to get on the water. While the most famous lake is Possum Kingdom Lake about 60 miles north, Lake Palo Pinto gained visitors and residents when the COVID-19 crisis struck in 2020. Locals from Fort Worth and surrounding cities discovered Lake Palo Pinto and all it has to offer.
About seven years ago, a fire destroyed the Lone Camp General Store and its surrounding areas. The owners at the time were not interested in rebuilding. That’s when Josh and Heather Winburn entered the picture. Josh grew up in the area and remembers taking his $1 allowance and hopping on his bike to buy candy and Coke on hot summer days. Josh’s grandfather, Don Hoover, is the one who named Hoover Drive after him — remember, the Lone Camp General Store is on the corner of Hoover Drive and FM 4.
Knowing so much about the area and so little about running a general store, Josh and Heather took a huge leap of faith and returned to the Lone Camp community and scraped together money to purchase the property and the rights to the Lone Camp General Store.
Commercial and short term rental idea
The idea was to create a place for neighbors to gather with neighbors over a cup of coffee or grill some finger-licking items in the professional kitchen. They wanted the new store to be seen as a place for commerce but also for the community. They also wanted to build a residential component where they could run short-term rentals for weekenders wanting to get out into the country and enjoy some peace and quiet, beautiful scenery, the lake, or long bike rides along FM 4.
Rising from the ashes
Like the phoenix in Greek mythology, the Lone Camp General Store rose from the ashes. This time the store will have more merchandise, hot foods, and an upper floor that could be a single three- or four-bedroom residence, or could easily be configured as a two-bedroom Airbnb and a one-bedroom Airbnb with separate kitchenettes, bathrooms, and entryways.
Next to the store was a dilapidated house that was scheduled for demolition. When Josh began inspecting the house, he realized that the house was built entirely of clapboards and gorgeous old wood that could not be replaced. He even discovered that the house had not one but two entire floors of wood – maple and longleaf pine.
With his experience in construction, Josh was determined to use every piece of wood to build the new store. He not only had plenty of wood for the shop, but for the living quarters as well. He and his crew were able to take reclaimed materials and turn them into trim, cabinetry, flooring, wood paneling, stairs, counters…every piece was used and gave so much history and richness to not only the store but the living spaces as well.
If these walls could talk
On February 14, 2017, the Lone Camp General Store reopened. Community service is back in action for the Winburn family. Not only were they working the counter, but they were also serving burgers, breakfast tacos, and hot cups of coffee to all who entered. Tables will fill up quickly as there are few in the area where workers or vacationers can get a home-cooked meal or pie. Ahhhh – Pies – Heather took family recipes and other proven recipes and modified them where needed to make them world famous.
Sometimes plans change for the better
The store is ready for business and the living quarters are ready for short-term rental… barring a change of plans. Josh and Heather loved the property so much they decided to move in and make it a true live/work experience. They wanted to raise their children above the Lone Camp General Store and be truly rooted in the community.
There has been another change in plans with the recent adoption of a beautiful baby boy. Now Heather and Josh are parents to an 18-, 15-, 12- and 1-year-old. Isn’t it funny how our perfectly laid plans can suddenly change for the better and make perfect sense?
The Winborns certainly not only have a wonderful family purpose, but their faith in Christ is vital in every step of their journey.
It’s time to pass the baton
And now the Lone Camp General Store is up for sale. It’s time for Josh and Heather to continue their journey and focus on raising the children they still have under their roof. As you can imagine, a second-story house with an open porch and staircase entrance is not the most suitable housing for a crawling baby.
But this opportunity is not for everyone. The Winborn family’s desire to sell their property to someone who believes in their vision is to reap not only financial rewards but also the rewards of serving the Lone Camp community and greater Palo Pinto County.
The short term rental opportunities are endless with just a few doors and plumbing fixtures to turn the upstairs into two separate sections. With the right promotion, they could easily attract weekend cyclists or car clubs who want a landing spot while experiencing the beautiful winding and scenic FM 4.
The property includes not only the store and living quarters, but an adjacent parcel of land that would be a great spot for an outdoor venue to attract lake visitors for a concert or summer festival. The opportunities are endless with this property. But it must be the right buyer.
At the beginning of this week’s article, I said it was the most challenging… but to be honest, it was probably the easiest and most fun to learn about and write about. I still have a few pages of notes from my meeting with the Winborns, but there’s a limit to a reader’s attention span these days.
Furthermore, this is a unique opportunity for a discerning buyer.
Even if you’re not the right buyer for the Lone Camp General Store, it’s definitely worth the 60-minute drive from Fort Worth to see for yourself. Drive along the winding road of FM 4 and enjoy the scenery and tranquil views of the magnificent Texas landscape. Go get a piece of Heather’s pie or buy a whole pie and eat it in the car on your way home. As always, you will thank me profusely.
Special thanks to Josh and Heather Winburn for taking the time to share their story and shed some tears and laughter with this wannabe cowboy in a bow tie. And of course, a big thank you to Brittany Jones, the Williams Trew real estate agent and entrepreneur who asked me to write about her listing.
For those interested, the Lone Camp General Store can be yours for $849,900. One caveat – you have to let me free pancakes for life when I visit. I will visit!