• Liz Logan

Walk Down Main Street: Guide to Ranlo's shopping, skateboarding & sandwiches

As a part of our Walk Down Main Street series, our writers take you on a stroll down the beautiful streets that make up our county's down towns, sharing a bit of insider info along the way.

As you head into the town of Ranlo, you’ll notice historic businesses, a mixture of mill houses and new developments and a nostalgia that is present throughout the county. A short drive down Spencer Mountain Road, Ranlo’s equivalent of Main Street, showcases the town’s thriving businesses and opens up the opportunity for more to join their ranks. While admittedly the title of this piece is a misnomer, Ranlo has a unique positioning to become a town with a walkable Main Street and that’s just what the city plans to do.

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

With sights set on the future, Ranlo’s Town Manager and City Council are working to conceptualize a future perfect for all its residents while celebrating the unique positioning of this town of a little over 3,600 residents. Located just outside Gastonia (and with many within the town still having a Gastonia address, despite their location inside city limits), Ranlo is gearing up for a bright future with a creative vision that maintains their unique identity while opening the door to a variety of possibilities while remaining loyal patrons to the businesses and amenities their lovely little town offers.

Ms. D’s Auto Service/Horne’s Towing

Photo Courtesy of Ms. D's Auto Service

2786 E. Ozark St., Gastonia

Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (every other Saturday 8 a.m.-12 p.m.)

Ms. D’s Auto Service has the reputation for being one of the friendliest garages around. While 2020 brough hardship to many businesses, the support of the community, paired with their commitment to excellence, Ms. D’s will be expanding to the space just across the street from their Ranlo location. With community outreach (like providing Christmas dinner to 36 families) and a dedicated customer base, Ms. D’s is an asset to the Ranlo community and beyond.

Will’s Doggn’ It Deli and Dogs

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

1301 Spencer Mountain Rd., Gastonia

Tuesday-Saturday, 10:45 a.m.-8 p.m.

Ratings across various platforms linger at 4.7 stars and above for this delicious deli located in the heart of Ranlo. Will’s Doggn’ It Deli and Dogs originated as a New York hot dog stand and has evolved into a town favorite, with folks lining up for hot dogs, cheesesteak and more in this historic building right along Ranlo’s main corridor.

Town Hall

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

1624 Spencer Mountain Rd., Gastonia

Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Recently becoming its own stand-alone location with the moving of the fire department to its new space, Town Hall operates with a drive-up window for residents to pay bills in-person, office space for various city employees and a garage housing the town’s police force. Hopes are on the horizon for this space to transform into a multi-functioning Civic Center to better support the town’s growing population and growing staff of city employees.

Ranlo Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

1624 Spencer Mountain Rd., Gastonia

Newly renovated in 2017, Ranlo Park is a pleasant surprise in a county filled with excellent parks. Boasting a splash pad, cornhole boards, playground and baseball field, Ranlo Park (in pre-COVID times) hosts carnivals and events for the community. Unique additions to the park include a miniature golf course and skatepark, giving kids and adults alike exciting outlets to enjoy the outdoors.

Heritage Mill Antiques & Designer Mall

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

1820 Spencer Mountain Rd., Gastonia

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Located in the historic Heritage Mill with NAPA Auto Part’s storage facility as their upstairs neighbors, Heritage Mill Antiques & Designer Mall offers coffee, mineral paint and a variety of vendors to meet all your antiquing and designing needs. Are you a vendor looking to start a shop or expand? Reach out to Heritage Mill for booth space (currently limited) to display and sell your wares.

Rex Lodge

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

2000 Spencer Mountain Rd., Gastonia

Open by Appointment

Gifted to the city in 1983 by Rex Mill, Rex Lodge serves as a community gathering center and events space perfect for weddings, family reunions and other events. Currently under review for a grant for expansion and renovations, Rex Lodge remains a vital portion of Ranlo’s identity and history, and is another part of Ranlo looking to take steps to meet the needs of its citizenry and guests, holding on to the history with its sights set on forward movement.