Gatlinburg, TN (May 24, 2019) - Built in 1969, The Village Shops are a collection of specialty retail stores built with unique and historic architectural elements collected from around the United States and Europe. The European inspired theme was the vision of David Dych and Jim Gerding. Dych moved his family to Gatlinburg in 1950 and proceeded to open Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. Jim and June Gerding located in Gatlinburg to open The Pancake Pantry in 1960. The men partnered in 1968 to purchase land to build the first “off Parkway” souvenir shop in Gatlinburg. Once the store was deemed successful, they determined to build a collection of shops that have become a favorite destination in Gatlinburg. The Dych and Gerding children purchased The Village from their parents on January 1, 1991 and continue to maintain and operate The Village Shops with the same love and passion.

The Donut Friar is also celebrating 50 years in operation in The Village Shops. Since 1969, Jim and Carolyn Ryan and their children have produced donuts and pastries that have become a tasty tradition for Gatlinburg visitors and residents alike. The Donut Friar is the second oldest continuously run food establishment by its original family in Sevier County.


The Village and Donut Friar families, shopkeepers and community members are coming together for a 50th Anniversary Celebration in The Village on Saturday, June 1 at noon. There will be speeches, old photographs and cupcakes for everyone. The Village Shops are located at 634 Parkway, Gatlinburg. The public is invited to attend.

Media Contact: Dan Booth, Village Manager

Read more coverage about The Village Shops, The Donut Friar and their historic legacies in a recent article by StyleBlueprint.