BRADNER — Cotton’s kindness is bringing a new convenience store to the village.
Cotton’s Corner Carryout and Ice Cream will be opening on Feb. 11, at 102 W. Crocker St.
“Cotton was my dad’s nickname,” said Shane Edwards, co-owner of the new shop. “In honor of him, we decided to name it after him, Cotton’s Corner Carryout. We will have a picture of him up in the store. We figure it will be a lasting legacy of him and his love of people, kids and how he just wanted to be kind and do nice things for other people.”
Edwards has lived just outside of Bradner since 1999 and he’s seen the village slowly lose its businesses. His business partner, Robert Sanford, lives in Bradner, about four blocks from the store.
The grocery store is long gone. There’s no bank. Edwards said that the only other place to get food is Speedway’s Bar and Grill, which is behind the new convenience store.
He recognized that Bradner does have around a thousand residents of good people, so they decided to open, because “someone had to do something.”
The building, which is 1,400 square feet, was once a bank, and at another point it was the library.
“It came up for sale, so we said ‘Hey, let’s do something that the town needs,’” Edwards said. “We’re right on the northwest corner of the little downtown area. It’s a place people can walk or ride their bikes to.”
He and Sanford, together with Edward’s son, Thomas, decided on the combined convenience store and ice cream shop concept.
“We really wanted to bring in the ice cream,” Sanford said. “Every little town needs an ice cream shop.”
It will soon have picnic tables and a drive-up window. The ice cream part of the business, which will serve Toft’s Ice Cream, will open up closer to summer. For now, they will focus on the convenience store, which will have standard carryout fare: pop, chips, candy, beer, wine, lottery tickets, tobacco products and some basic canned goods and other grocery items.
Thomas also mentioned that there will be fishing tackle.
“If there’s anything else that you don’t see that you are looking for, we will order it. That’s a big thing. We want to cater to what the community wants, not what we’re trying to sell,” he said.
They emphasize that it was what Cotton wanted for the town.
“He was just an old cowboy from Texas,” Edwards said of his father, Norris “Cotton” Edwards. “He picked cotton as a kid and had white and curly hair, so that’s how he got the nickname.
“He always wanted to buy the little kids in town an ice cream. Right up until the day he passed, in 2020, he was always asking about the business. He was the push and the drive to get it done,” Edwards said.
They also own the building next door, which was purchased with the concept of putting in a barbecue ribs and steak restaurant. That idea was sidelined by the pandemic. The greater need was for a place like Cotton’s Corner Carryout, which took over as a priority.
“Every dollar that comes in here will be invested next door,” Thomas said.
Edwards gets a little choked up when talking about his father and the dreams he had for the community. He hopes the little store will bring smiles to people’s faces, especially the kids.
Cotton’s Corner Carryout will be open daily from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.