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Community joins to honor retiring downtown merchant

At Joan Furches’ retirement party at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, Sunday afternoon, Mayor Kelly Wolfe confirmed what most in the room already knew — Joan Furches is the Queen of Jonesborough.
Reading the proclamation from two weeks ago that named November 29 Joan Furches Day, the mayor spoke to her service to the community saying, “With a dynamic personality set in a small package, Furches has spent over 50 years involved in helping to make her town a success, all of it on Main Street.
“Beginning with Furches Variety Store with her husband, and later, after divorce, the Jonesborough Antique Mart, Furches consistently maintained the highest standard of integrity, reflected in the love and honor she received at the party.”
When asked what the event meant to her, she said without hesitation, “It means everything to me — everything!” she said. “But it took all of us to make the Jonesborough Antique Mart what it is today. I want to tell each and every one of you, how much I appreciate you, and the good people of Jonesborough.”
Continuing, she spoke of the road she had traveled and encouraged others to stay on their chosen paths.
“You can do anything if you set your mind to it — anything. My girls helped me a lot when they were little . . . I put them right to work when they were old enough. It took all of us working together.”
Encouragement and a sense of integrity are characteristic of Joan Furches. According to booth owner Nancy Rhea, “You should see Joan when she is talking to someone. She leans in and they have all of her attention. She is just the kindest person and a real people person.”
The Jonesborough Antique Mart is a sort of fantasyland in the world of treasured collectibles. An assembly of booths filled from top to bottom with a vast variety of curious objects from times past, it is also home to several of Jonesborough’s resident ghosts, adding to the experience of shopping there,
The place literally glitters from the street, and when one enters, it is to be greeted warmly. Up until now, that greeting came from Furches, but while she will retain a booth, the new voice you’ll hear is that of Tammy Eldridge, wife of Washington County Mayor, Dan Eldridge.
She will manage the shop which will soon have a new name, Jonesborough Antiques & Artisans.