Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Interview

Last week, Jeff and I were asked to participate in an interview, of sorts, for a convenience store (c-store, in the biz) trade magazine--CSP (Convenience Store/Petroleum) Independent. We were intrigued. I've no idea what will come of it, but I've just finished answering the questions for the fellow who wrote us, and I wanted to post them here in full. Interesting is that the person who inquired is from the Chicago area, and said he read of the store in the Chapel Hill/Durham Herald Sun article about us written in early spring of 2008. Ahh, the information age.

1. Please provide details/background on your business:
We are Saxapahaw General Store, located in the unincorporated former mill village of Saxapahaw in rural/agrarian Alamance County, NC, on the banks of the Haw River. Our building, which is surrounded on all sides by mill cottages, forms the tip of a 1930’s cotton mill that ended its operation in 1996 and is now in process of renovation. Over the next year, a pub, an arts center, and almost thirty condos will assume use of the now-vacant space in our building. At present, we serve a population of about 2500 residents in the three miles around us, including seventy-four apartments that sit just below us in another building of the original mill.

We took over the store’s operation a year and a half ago, and when we came to the business it was a typical convenience store with prepackaged foods, gas, cigarettes, snacks, Hunt Brothers Pizza, and hot dogs. The store had struggled through two owners and several years of losses. Lots of restaurants and boutique stores the country wide have begun to focus on their localities first when deciding what products to sell—choosing local farmers’ vegetables and meats over those shipped from far-flung places and huge industrial farms. We thought, why can’t a neighborhood store participate in that model? After all, c-stores usually draw their customers from a two-mile radius around the store—wouldn’t those folks most of all be interested in supporting their local community? We decided that, to our existing product mix of convenience foods, motor oil, etc., we’d serve food made with fresh, locally produced ingredients, good coffee, small vintage wines, and microbrew beers.

We immediately added to our café a menu of sandwiches, salads, chili, beef stew, and in-house scratch-made biscuits, cookies, scones, muffins, and pies. Eventually, in order to market for ourselves instead of for a large pizza chain, we decided to make our own pizza—the crust and sauce from scratch. Over time, we added menu items for dinner, including beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and turnip greens, made from locally raised hormone-free beef and local vegetables.

2. Your (and Cameron's) professional backgrounds (as in-depth as you would like; can include any personal info you want to add), including official titles.
Jeff is a butcher, a cook, and an armchair philosopher (he was a philosophy major in college at University of Michigan-Flint, who’s long tested his ideas in his workplace and found retail and foodservice a sort of hot spot for interacting with folks in a vital way). Jeff has run a green grocery in Boston, butchered in the old world style for an old specialty shop in Durham, NC, and started/managed a specialty grocery in an upscale community outside of Chapel Hill. He was building a house from scratch and helping found a cooperative grocery store in his town when he met me (Cameron); we share a mission now of working with food as a vehicle for building community in a time when people have become alienated from the sources of their food. At the store now, Jeff supervises the food operation. He’s the food professional among us, and he’s receiving really nice accolades from the community for his work (I can say this, as I’m not involved in the savory food except to serve and to eat it).

I (Cameron) am a UNC-Chapel Hill grad and former school teacher who wanted to work with people in a new way—helping connect people with their food supply, serving folks surprisingly good food, surprisingly well. I worked at a food cooperative before coming to this project, where I baked first and then became the marketing director. Cooperatives can be dogmatic in their business models, and a little exclusive. I wanted a broader experience, so the gas station was really appealing. I started my time at the general store doing mostly baking and some cashiering. Now I’m a sort of general manager, though the store is so small (we have 12-15 employees usually) it’s almost too big a title. I do dishes, serve food, bake on occasion, schedule small caterings (which we do on occasion for the intrepid event holder who’s willing to source such goods from an inauspicious-sounding provider), serve customers, and work with our staff. We have staff who are full of potential and have really grown over the last year and a half. We have been lucky to begin to draw folks to the store who are interested in what we’re doing and are willing to grow with us.

3. When was the gas station/c-store first opened, and when and why did you buy it?
The store opened around 2000, a few years after the cotton mill stopped its operation. The family who’d owned the mill wanted to reuse the building productively in the community. We got involved when one of the younger members of the family was looking for ways to offer more to his community—in the way of real food and a real general store atmosphere. It’s a sort of traditional country store, modernized a little so as to offer choices for Saxapahaw’s broad range of residents. We were intrigued by the community and the opportunities the store presented. Since it was failing as it was, we knew we had a chance to do something truly different. Out of the ashes of the old model, we have raised something fresh—and so far, it’s resonating with folks.

4. When and why did you add the foodservice? (Especially in the format that you offer it.) Also what is the menu? Much of this is discussed above—the menu ranges from barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs (one local, one national all-beef brand) to specialty Panini grilled sandwiches to pizza to evening dinner specials (even including a pan-seared sea scallops dish with asparagus and risotto). We serve what Jeff likes to call soul food from around the world—dishes influenced by lots of culinary traditions, usually with a little of the American South to Midwest in there somewhere, all approachable and with emphasis on flavor, not culinary tricks. We are a gas station, after all. But for us, the food comes first.

5. What are the joys of operating such a mix of businesses? (Provide any anecdotes.) The blog is really the place for this answer. We mostly sit back now and watch folks noticing the juxtapositions that exist in our store and in the village. Last weekend, a horse-drawn carriage full of folks came nose to handlebars with a group of cyclists from Chapel Hill. Some ladies inside chuckled as they watched the groups of very different people noticing each other in such close proximity. Since we’re so close to larger cities (and we’re on the way to the dump) but also in a very rural corner of the state, we get a really interesting and sometimes hilarious mix of folks who end up interacting in refreshing and surprising ways.
The product mix in the store reflects that. We have beanie weenies next to organic grains, and our wine section is also home to our fishing worms. People love finding these surprises when they visit, and everyone is fairly comfortable here because nothing feels exclusive. We also find that no one is really one-sided in their purchasing—the organic produce buyers often like Coke, too—so we have a great opportunity to break down barriers.

6. What are the challenges? (Provide any anecdotes.) Well, folks think/thought we were crazy, and we probably are. We’ve fought with Bud and Miller to reorganize and rebrand in the way we want to, rather than just taking the products they push on us. We’ve asked our customers what they want and carried those products, deciding not to offer every new gimmick on the market unless someone wanted to buy that item. That’s hard, because you have to talk to your customers a lot and be willing to make mistakes. But we’re getting there. The food has been a challenge, but a nice one—we have really increased our prepared foods sales since we began (from $200 daily in food sales to somewhere around $1000 on average—with upwards of $3000 on days when we have farmers’ markets in the village that bring 2000 extra people to town). We had to invest in some food loss at the start to get things rolling until the customers came along with our plan. But now we’re bringing costs in line with sales and seeing a sustainable flow. We’re busy now even on rainy days, which used to be a killer for sales in the store. People come in to use the internet and have lunch, drink coffee, and take home food for supper. It brings a great feeling.

7. Plans for expansion, additional stores? We are working to finish plans for a pub/restaurant in the same mill building, at the other end of the space. The pub will feature NC brewed beers and a few classics, along with the same very comfortable style of food we have in the store. We also have this dream that someday roadside markets and interstate c-stores will make a move to brand themselves instead of allowing the big corporations to brand them—and that they’ll feature their neighbors’ produce and value-added foods. That will come from the people in individual communities, though, as they grow tired of seeing their margins eroded by corporations squeezing them for higher profits while they struggle to get along on the slim margins they currently earn

8. Any comments about the c-store/gas station industry in general that you'd care to make.
That’s a can of worms you may wish you hadn’t opened. I’ll keep it short.
We are actually getting ready to de-brand our fuel in favor of our own brand. The gas is the same. The supplier is the same. The price is lower. Our people don’t use fuel credit cards much anyway because we’re not on the interstate (if we were, we couldn’t do this); we don’t like the insidious and parasitical relationship petrol corporations create with c-stores. They promise higher sales and offer breaks on new computers, etc. but they make their bucks back and so much more from folks with these tactics while stores don’t make enough on fuel to run the lights for their canopies.
C-stores provide an important service to their community, and more of them should assert their right to be their own stores, instead of paying for the dubious privilege of advertising for a multi-national corporation that cares not a whit for them or for their business. The same goes for a lot of other companies, but that’s another conversation. There’s a better way for us as independent retailers to interact with these entities that lets our businesses thrive while purchasing products that customers want from large companies. We should not be forced to barely make it while corporations rake in record profits.
But I’m not sure if you can print that and keep your advertisers.

9. What is the origin and official pronunciation of "saxapahaw"?! The village is named for the Sissipahaw tribe of native people, and it is pronounced sax’-uh-puh-haw (or sax-p’haw, as the locals have shortened it for speed). The village has a very interesting feel, and as I have written in our blog, it’s been influenced by the Quaker tradition that was strong here and has stamped the land with a very independent, libertarian, yet strangely open character.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

and the village was quiet

Saxapahaw has developed a certain kind of double life since the summer farmers' market began here five years ago. In the summer, it becomes the quirky destination for folks from the hinterlands, who descend upon the village once per week from the distant burgs of Chapel Hill and Burlington to enjoy local music and local food before returning home and spelling the name of the town to their friends who've never heard of it before.

Somehow the Saturday bustle carries forth all week energetically, making Summer in Saxapahaw an odd kind of frenzy very unusual for a place of its rurality (if you will).

But then August ends, and except for Octoberfest, Saxapahaw becomes still again. It's now--the quiet of Autumn--when I, like a holiday host whose guests have gone home, breathe a sigh of relief and settle in with my neighbors for the winter. This is the time when I get to know the character of this place.

Before I launch into discussion about the community of Saxapahaw, I have to issue the caveat that I am not, in any sense, a legitimate local. That's not to say I wouldn't like to be, but I don't qualify. Jeff and I, the shopkeepers here at Saxapahaw General Store, came to participate in the community here last June, but we still live in Chatham County, by virtue of the housing collapse. We're out-of-staters originally. We still put beans in our chili dogs.

But we have come to care for this place and for the people we've met here--be they bonafide locals or fellow interlopers. And while it may sound mystical, my experience has borne it out that folks are drawn to geographical places for specific reasons--as though the spirit of a place speaks, and its people respond.

When I spend time at the store and when I venture out to explore the village, I'm often struck by the diversity of backgrounds, occupations, places of origin, and cultural contexts in the people I meet in and around Saxapahaw. And it's true that only a fairly blended place could produce such a schizophrenic business as a gas station that serves sea scallops and sells local produce. As I have come to know Saxapahaw, I have come to understand that the unmistakable spirit of a place so diverse (and, at times, at odds) is revealed in what is common among them.

It is now, in the calm of Autumn, when I find myself asking, what is the connective thread here? Why have we come together--local or not--in this place that has no gated communities, no foreboding neighborhood entries, no walled estates? In a place that sits on the way to other towns, and as a convergence of roads, what, for that matter, makes us a distinct community?

To be sure, geographical place is marked by those people who inhabit it over time. The people may move on or die off, but I've noticed that the space holds their essence. Saxapahaw bears that out for me. I don't know anything about the Sissipahaw tribe, though I'm certain that research would prove fruitful here. I do know enough about the Quakers to understand that their peaceful yet fiercely independent spirit has marked this place.

That independent streak--to judge even from the store's staff--runs deep here in this fiercely Libertarian corner of the North Carolina Piedmont. Here, as much as any place I've lived or traveled, folks defend their right to be true to themselves. In many cases, folks have come here to be left to live their lives as they wish, outside the reach of suburban convention. There is little nod to conformity--no interest in keeping up with the Joneses--and people have consistently surprised me with their individual complexity. Stereotypes are shattered in this place where appearances are tossed aside in favor of direct human contact. I am both delighted and humbled by the number of times my default assumptions about a person have been dead wrong.

Quaker society has become synonymous with peaceable existence, and with its Quaker ancestry, it's a trait that also whispers its presence in Saxapahaw. People have significant differences of opinion about all sorts of things, and their independence makes them unafraid to share those. But Saxapahaw is not a violent place. I'm sure some of this is our American pragmatism at work; as a mill town, folks have grown used to coexisting peaceably here, of necessity. As Jerry, town philosopher disguised as a cynic, put it once, "We're your neighbors. Like it or not, you have to put up with us."

So here we are. Quietly, a couple of thousand people live in their spaces, very near one another, interacting sometimes at the dump or at the General Store, and all at least quietly tolerant of one another. In a way, this is the American spirit in its raw form--people of all stripes pursuing independent lives in parallel structure, each to his own, and on our best days willing to have our assumptions reformed by those around us.

In the stillness of Autumn, when the crowds of summer have gone home, I have learned it's that spirit that has drawn us here to Saxapahaw--and no matter what we appear to be, our journeys have converged meaningfully at this unlikely crossroads.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Case of the Leaky Cooler

In the United States, it seems our democracy, in tandem with our free market capitalism, has come to mean that we are endowed by our Creator with the inalienable right to choose sides. And there are usually two. And most (if not all) are actually corporations. There’s Tar Heel or Blue Devil. GM or Ford. PC or Mac. Visa or Mastercard. Pepsi or Coke. Army or Navy. Democrat or Republican.
This tendency to choose one of a limited number of sides has become deeply ingrained in the American identity. Just think of the sports rivalries we have cared so much about—for the capacity we’ve gained to feel like slugging a complete stranger who’s wearing the wrong color shirt at a sporting event (especially when there’s either Budweiser or Miller available at that event)! It’s almost as though we have a right to be angry at any poor sod who chose wrongly, given a 50/50 split. On the other hand, I’ve actually hugged a complete stranger at the conclusion of a UNC basketball game out of my joy at “our” victory.
Corporations have benefited greatly from our willingness to align ourselves with a team by managing to convince us to identify with one company or another—for superior flavor, a smoother ride, better service, or just a cooler product. Those identifications circumvent our logic, and sometimes even our better judgment. When two well-established companies pit themselves against one another successfully, their customer bases will notch up their loyalty—as though to support their brand against the other guy.
Today I experienced a poignant reminder of this tendency of ours toward a team-like allegiance to a corporate brand when the Coke repair guy visited me. I was baking a cake in our kitchen at Saxapahaw General Store (for a woman who actually preferred us to either Food Lion or Harris Teeter), when a man in a candy-striped shirt peered over the ice cream counter at me. “Are you in charge?” he asked.
“No,” I replied, wishing to avoid what I thought might be a sales pitch. He moved back a little, and I noticed his uniform was from Coke. He pressed on as though he hadn’t heard my response, and said, “You have a leaky Coke cooler.” I paused, and remembered at that moment having noticed water emerging from the soda cooler area of our store earlier that morning. But I hadn’t reported it for service, and I’d never seen this fellow before.
“How’d you know that?” I inquired. He informed me with no small measure of pride that he’d been told of our malfunctioning cooler by his colleague, our sales representative—the other Coke guy—and he’d headed right over to fix it.
Interested in this sudden surge of good service after months of having orders confused, products shoved at me, and signs placed in our store without permission, I directed the guy to the back of the store, where the Coke cooler stands—right next to the Pepsi cooler, in constant, silent rivalry.
Not terribly interested in what the Coke guy found to be wrong with his cooler, I returned to my cake, only to be interrupted again a few minutes later when he practically bounded to the front of the store and triumphantly proclaimed, “Ma’am, there’s nothing wrong with the Coke cooler. It’s the PEPSI cooler that’s leaky!”
He insisted on showing me his evidence—he’d removed the covers from both the compressors to point to the full tray of water in the Pepsi cooler and the bone-dry underside of his Coke appliance. He said, “You might want to get one of your people to empty that.” And he left.
I found this opposition—even between soda coolers—hilarious, particularly in the moment when the Coke guy (he never told me his name, nor asked me mine) seemed vindicated to learn that his appliance was not faulty—it was that other ass-hole’s that sucked.
But I have to admit that, upon further reflection, it’s troubling. That fellow cared not whether our store functioned well, or whether our Pepsi cooler ever worked again. Why would he? As a mercenary of Coke, it was his job to protect their asset and to ensure their brand wouldn’t be tarnished. The better for him, in fact, if the other guy’s cooler didn’t work. And while he didn’t know it, the fact wasn’t lost on me that we recently switched our soda fountain service from Coke to Pepsi because the service had been so bad our customers were becoming upset with us for out-of-stock beverage options (after all, when you prefer lemon lime soda, cola just won’t do). It seemed like some sort of corporate-karmic redemption that Coke’s cooler should be superior this time.
I’ve learned from my experience with the Coke guy, and the Pepsi guy, and the Bud and Miller guys, that this team-ish brand loyalty has led us all charging down a path to mediocrity. The advertising industry—the pied piper of the retail world—has tooted its flute at us, and we’ve been lured by our insatiable desire for preference. We have snuggled in with our fave teams, and the brands we love, and we’ve lined up in opposition to those products we hate and the players who suck and we have neglected to care whether we were actually in relationship with the people who actually make what we buy. And while we’ve been otherwise engaged, the quality of what we’re buying continues to decline—be it soft drinks, or sports, or health care, or politics.
If we keep at it, that privilege we so relish in this country—the prerogative for preference—won’t so much matter. The real choices have been disappearing under the illusion of the marketplace, and they’ve been replaced by a bunch of leaky coolers.


Sunday, May 31, 2009


Because we have already asked much of the space in our little store, the products on the shelves have gotten pretty comfortable having unlikely neighbors. They protested for a while, but then I think they realized they had more in common than they originally thought, given the proper context. Take, for instance, our fishing worms, which are now nestled cozily next to the wine tools and the picnic baskets.

Worms and wine seem like an odd juxtaposition at first. But add to that mix a pole and a spot next to the river, and suddenly they're all part of a relaxing afternoon picnic.

Of course, it took a good while to coax those worms into feeling at home with their new lofty status, as they had previously lived atop the trash can. The change took some getting used to, to be sure.

This week, our kitchen adjusted to change as we made rearrangements to accommodate our newest piece of equipment--a seven-feet-long freezer for dispensing hand-dipped ice cream.

A few weeks ago, Homeland Creamery (a local dairy in Julian, NC--just past Liberty) offered us the use of a giant ice cream freezer so we could bring hand-dipped cones to our community in time for summer. You might think this addition would be fairly simple, but in a gas station-grocery-wine store-cafe, it's a fair challenge to become an ice cream shop to boot. We got to work rearranging our ovens, moving our bakery, squishing our cigarettes even closer to the window, and amputating our counter to fit the eighteen-bin freezer into our already cramped quarters. Our friend Dobbs (the guy who put the five stars on our gas station window) built a cabinet, chopped off our counter, and excavated our safe to prepare room for the new freezer. Sherry, our baker, graciously found new places for muffins and scones when she came in to bake at 3 a.m. and noticed a gaping hole where the bakery counter had been only hours before.

Yesterday, the guys from Homeland hauled in the hulking freezer, and we delighted in getting it cool enough to host the big vats of fresh ice cream that were on their way. But some of the items in the kitchen were a bit ruffled by the move. The bread case lost its home and has been temporarily relegated to a second-class status behind the counter, taking the cookies with it. The to-go containers have been made refugees after the loss of their storage shelves during the counter removal. And the pizza boxes are currently teetering precariously atop the cooling rack, constantly risking calamity. That's to say nothing of the garbanzo beans, the saran wrap, or the measuring cups.

But we're adjusting, and I'm keeping the worms in mind as we figure out how to operate efficiently in our changed space. When we lose an old context for what we do every day--even if we just rearrange things a bit--we sometimes feel out of sorts until we can create comfy grooves in our new spaces. Today, after a lot of finding other spots for old stuff, I found my new context. The brownies have found a home directly above the vanilla ice cream in the freezer, and the bowls now sit nearby.

Add to that mix a spoon and a spot on the patio next to Carter's fountain, and suddenly they're all part of a delicious afternoon snack.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Local economy as investment

Greetings Friends,

I was lucky enough to have a couple of conversations with folks in the store this week that brought questions for me about the nature of a healthy economic system. We, the store's staff, have been delightedly surprised by the number of folks who are willing to participate with us as we build the store into a robust center for our village here in Saxy. For instance, just today I got to have a carrot cake discussion with some of our store friends (we're working on the perfect recipe, so feel free to weigh in if you like). We often receive helpful ideas from customers. Sometimes folks even grab the plates coming out of the kitchen and deliver them to fellow diners.

One friend of the store, Cheryl, recently relayed an experience she had here of an afternoon. She'd stepped outside to look at the bulletin board, and she noticed the wind had strewn some of the notices about the sidewalk. She placed them carefully on the bale of straw that hosts our lettuce plants and secured them neatly with a brick. A moment after she stepped away, Judith walked over (she hadn't seen Cheryl), looked at the flyers, and arranged the ones from the straw on the board, pinning them into place. We learned later that Shannon arrived a little later and tidied the flyers again, making sure all were visible and secure. All had participated in that function of the store--each to a higher degree of detail, none having to do too much lifting.

Cheryl also shared with me how she has come to view the store here as something for which she feels ownership--thus participating in its care feels natural. I realized her feeling is literally accurate, in a way. As I have shared before, this place has grown so far out of the desires and needs the community has expressed, so the people who show here do own it, in spirit. That’s where the questions arose for me. In a culture where we often doubt the intentions of the companies with whom we do business, what does it look like to participate in businesses we frequent? To what extent can our real needs be met by economic entities--including the need to contribute to community? How can we reconnect with our actual needs in an era of hyper-exposure to advertisement? And what are the roles of those employed by businesses--both in serving customer needs and in facilitating healthy participation by the community? I’m learning there are all sorts of ways people invest in businesses, only some of which are monetary. Their returns vary based on the kinds of investments they’ve made.

Thanks to Cheryl and others for bringing these questions to me to work with this summer, as Saturdays at Saxapahaw brings new life to our place.

Jeff and company have been finishing dinner--they'll be serving special eats Thursday and Friday, and offering picnic fare Saturday nights through the summer. I should also let you know that they've recently dubbed Sunday night "Casserole Night;" so be on the lookout for stick-to-your-ribs comfort food to cap off the weekends.

Here's tonight's menu (tomorrow will be similar, with minor variations):

Whole Fish! (B-liner's the sort--a member of the snapper family) roasted, with fried green tomatoes and mashers
Lamb Shank over whilte bean ragout with saute of spinach
Pork Country-style ribs with duck fat fried potatoes and spinach
Sea Scallops with asparagus and fried green tomatoes
Cane Creek Pork Chops with duck stock mushroom gravy, mashers and Brussels sprouts
Pan-seared salmon salad
Beef short rib with mashers and spinach
Vegetable lasagna with local mixed greens salad

Carrot cupcakes with orange cream icing
Lemon-vanilla cupcakes with lemon icing

This week's sandwich winner is John Nowicki. John, please stop in sometime soon for a meal worth up to 8 bucks--on us!

Thank you for your support. I will look forward to seeing you again soon.

With care,


Sunday, April 26, 2009

farm tourin' and jammin'

Greetings Friends,

As you know, the glory of this season motivates many a gardener to cancel other plans for the chance to spend precious hours working with the soil, anticipating its nutritive returns. In fact, one friend of ours stopped in the store yesterday--long after she might have otherwise arrived at work--beaming over having taken two days' vacation to have time to spend caring for her fledgling plants.

Many folks who have made a vocation of their relationship to the growing season will be opening their farms to us this Saturday and Sunday during the annual Piedmont Farm Tour (the link to the brochure is below). You can visit the farms of many fantastic growers, including several farms whose food will be available to us at the Saxapahaw Farmers' Market next weekend. This event provides us an opportunity to create a vital relationship with the people who grow our vegetables, ferment our wine, and tend the animals who become our meat. In a sense, I think of visiting farms as a sacred experience; in a time when mass markets have bastardized our food sources and alienated us from growers, stepping onto a local farm feels like a homecoming.


[And if you do join the farm tour, you might plan your own home-coming to coincide with Paperhand Puppet Intervention's community dance jam tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. (until. . .) at the Community Center. Call the store if you're not sure where that is and want to attend. This will be a very nice family event.]

One direct benefit we at Saxapahaw General Store have enjoyed from our farming friends is the crescendo in the tone of locally grown greens, tomatoes, strawberries, and other produce finding its way into our dishes after the winter break. Even the goats took hiatus for a time, but we have Goat Lady Dairy and Celebrity Dairy goat cheeses available again. And just a few minutes ago, Rob Tolbert of Aimless Farm brought a box of shiitake mushrooms for Jeff to use for his pork chop gravy tonight--a batch he had hand-picked moments before leaving to deliver them to us.

We're delighted to know that by the time of the Wine Tasting Dinner May 15th, we'll have access to even more local goods to use in preparing dinner for our guests. So far, we've planned a cheese course courtesy of our local creameries, a dessert featuring seasonal fruits you're sure to see at farmers' markets, lettuce greens from Aimless Farm, and meats with farm names you will recognize. I'll add more details as we know what will be available. The dinner, as I mentioned last week, will feature six tasting courses with Benjamin Vineyards' wines--for $35 per person.

Jeff, Dirk and Dave are just now finishing their preparation for this evening's dinner, and Jane has tidied the dining spaces. They are all delighted by bustling evenings, so I know they'll be happy to see you in for dinner today or tomorrow.

The menu will include--
Cold Melon Soup
Cane Creek Pork Belly
Local Beef Short Ribs
Ziti Bolognese, baked (also local beef)
Grouper, seared and braised and topped with pineapple and applewood bacon chutney
Salmon Croissant
Blue Cheese and Applewood Bacon Burger (local beef)
Mussels, a big bowl of--with grilled baguette
Sea Scallops
Cane Creek Pork Chops (with that local shiitake gravy to which I referred before)
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

--and there will be sides. I have seen asparagus in the kitchen being trimmed, and I feel certain there will be Brussels Sprouts too. Mashers, of course. Spinach likely, as we have a bunch of beautiful local spinach with bright red stems.

Dessert includes a Chocolate Torte with strawberry glaze and a local berry to top, and a Peanut Butter Cup Tart with shortbread crust.

The usual stuff is there too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fridays and Saturdays in Saxapahaw

Greetings Friends,

As you know already, this is a wonderful time of year to be in Saxapahaw. I mentioned The Haw River Canoe and Kayak Company last week; Joe and Lawrence have planned some very nice trips and events to allow folks to experience the river during this resplendent time.

And May 2nd marks the first Saturdays in Saxapahaw Farmers' Market and Music event. Heather LaGarde is working just now to finish the bands list for posting on the Rivermill Village website. We are looking forward to an especially good year of markets and music, and Saxapahaw General Store is honored to be sponsoring the event and serving snacks and sandwiches over at the market! Look for us to join the festivities beginning May 9.

Another first experience for us is a Wine Tasting Dinner, which we and Benjamin Vineyards and Winery will host at the winery on May 15. Saxapahaw General Store will provide six tasting courses to complement Benjamin's wines. We are delighted to offer this event to the community, and we hope you'll join us that third Friday in May at 6:30 p.m. for dinner and wines. You'll enjoy six tasting glasses of wine paired scrumptiously with tasting portions of cheese, salad, three entrees, and dessert--all with local emphasis. Vegetarian options are available when you let us know of that need. If you can join us, do let us know right away so we can begin looking forward to your visit! You can reserve a space by responding to this email with your name and telephone number. I'll call you and arrange the details.

Many folks will be enjoying the Shakori Hills Festival of Music and Dance this weekend; if you'll be among that crowd, we'd be happy to provide supplies or a break for a meal. If Shakori isn't in your plans, we'll be here as usual with Friday and Saturday dinner specials, Saturday and Sunday brunch, and beautiful Saxy weather. Along with our usual menu, which is always available, we'll have the following between 5 and 8:30 today and tomorrow:

Dessert First--Apple Tart with Local Chevre, and Carrot Cake.

Braeburn Farms Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Saute of Spinach.
Duck confit with Sweet Potato and Apple Hash
Cane Creek Pork Belly with Seafood Gumbo Gravy over Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts
Eggplant Provencal with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus (vegetarian)
Mussels with Grilled Baguette
Sea Scallops with Fried Local Green Tomatoes and Asparagus
Halibut with Sweet Potato and Apple Hash and Saute of Spinach
Blue Cheese Burger with local beef and Applewood Smoked Bacon
Pan-seared Salmon on Croissant with capers and lemon-garlic aioli
Quiche with saute of artichoke and three cheeses (vegetarian)
Beef Minestrone
Seafood Gumbo (this is full of scallops, shrimp, tasso ham, andouille sausage, applewood bacon, and poblano peppers)

We have declared Monday night to be TACO NIGHT at Saxapahaw General Store. Beginning Monday coming, we'll offer tacos as our main dinner special on Mondays. Jeff is plotting his taco schemes as I write you, and I know there will be pork carnitas involved. Veggie options too.

Friday, April 10, 2009


We have been fortunate over the last few months to experience a steady increase in the number of folks who visit Saxapahaw General Store. On one recent busy weekend afternoon, noting the energy in the store, a customer said to Jeff, "You guys aren't participating in this recession, are you?" At the time, I think Jeff laughed and made a witty reply to the gentleman. But we have thought a great deal about the idea of a recession--a state of decline, temporary or permanent--as something in which one could actually choose not to participate.

Certainly there are elements of economic decline that individuals cannot avoid, and I need not enumerate those here. But as a business--an economic entity--I have decided that, to an extent, we actually must choose not to participate in recessive trends, lest they should become part of the downward spiral to which they are reacting. Applicable here is the old idea that attention causes growth. At Saxapahaw General Store, we are intentionally paying attention to the community. Rather than finding ways to take cover in this difficult economy--to perform the retail business equivalent of hiding our pennies in a coffee can under the bed--we have been looking for responsible ways to serve the community so that we can meet its needs while growing our business. We listen to customers' requests for products, we look for local suppliers for the groceries we carry, and we seek to provide choice in food--close to home.

Of course, we cannot operate in a vacuum. I have written already of ways in which supporters of our store have contributed to our identity. Importantly, there are also other businesses in our wee village who are choosing to attend to community growth in lieu of scrutinizing their potential losses. This is where synergy enters my picture. The Greek roots of synergy, to my basic understanding, are "syn" (group, union, association) and "ergos" (work). And in Saxapahaw, I've been experiencing the results of the working together of united entities almost everywhere I look.

Here's one example, among many: Next week, the Haw River Canoe and Kayak Company is taking a group of folks on a paddle. They will be taking boxed lunches from Saxapahaw General Store with them, and they'll pay a visit to Benjamin Vineyards for a glass of wine at the end of their trip. Some may choose to stay the night at The River Landing Inn just down Whitney Road from the winery. On this day, our paddling guests will not overextend their budgets. They will not travel great distances to have an enjoyable afternoon. They will not feel stressed or burdened by the details of their experience. Instead, they will support four local businesses who associate with one another to provide meaningful, nourishing experiences for the people of the piedmont.

In these economic times, that's progress.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Date Night in Saxy

Last week I was busy baking cupcakes when Arwen, one of the staff at Saxapahaw General Store, approached me with a message from a customer. "A guy came in the store the other day to ask if we take reservations," she said. I giggled at the thought, but she went on. A customer was planning to host an out of town date for her birthday and wanted to offer a special dinner experience for her. He chose us.

Touched by the thought of being entrusted with such a gesture, Arwen and I cooked up our best plan. We'd put a tablecloth on the back booth--the one that's tucked away behind the motor oil--and he could bring flowers for the table. I'd make a special dessert, and Jeff would be putting on his weekend dinner show already. We'd put Sinatra on the iPod and offer them table service. Arwen called our new friend to tell him the plan, and she reassured him that if his date had a sense of humor, it'd be a great success. He even called me back to make a special dessert request. We'd have cheesecake. They would arrive at 7:30 sharp.

When Saturday evening came, Jeff and I were tired from a lively day. My cheesecake had turned out really well, if I may say so, and was ready for its debut. Jeff's pork chops and his local sirloin were scrumptiously tender as always, and he'd even talked me through the making of a bisque. Arwen had carefully collected votive holders, tea lights, and a lovely crocheted table cloth from her home to bring to the store for our date's table. At her direction, I had lit the candles and dimmed the lights in the Coke cooler, and I'd started the music. We were ready for magic.

Jeff and I were preparing to take our leave, knowing that Arwen and company could handle our guests--but something stopped us. We decided to wait for our friend and his date to arrive. Boy am I glad we did. We had the chance to serve them a nice meal in our little store, and they were gracious enough to act as though they were enjoying an experience in a fine dining establishment. They didn't seem to notice that our silverware doesn't match, and they sacheted right past the case stack of Havoline to reach their table in the back. He asked Jeff for a wine recommendation. They gushed over the cheesecake. What a gift.


We're immortalized!

Jeff's stepfather, John Murphy, is a builder of model trains and the villages that surround them. After visiting Saxapahaw and offering a great deal of help acting as host during a busy weekend (among other projects), he has returned to Michigan and added a new business to his train world. He said of the spot, "It looks like it is getting off to a great start. The locals are already flocking in for gas, groceries, produce and gourmet food - even before there was time to paint the bricks."

Boy are we honored. It's one of the most beautiful gestures of support to date. Thanks John!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Now and then

It has been a fantastic winter here at the store. Our dinner business is on the increase, lunch and breakfast are maxing us out. We have just hired two more folks and look forward to hiring a third. The funny thing is winter is the slowest time of the year for a store like ours. Guess what? Spring has sprung.

Last weekend saw the first day of spring and was one of the best we have ever had. No new articles written about us (though we are expecting a visit from a well known magazine to be named later). No puppet theater. Yet, we doubled in business over the previous darn good weekends. Saturdays at Saxapahaw haven't even hit yet and Saturdays are hoppin'. The store is abuzz. It is becoming a community center where folks of all stripes are getting to know each other. We were honored to cater our friend and perhaps most profoundly loyal member of our community, Chris Carter's birthday. This kind of event allows us to showcase what will be possible on as regular basis as the project develops into other parts of the mill. We did a whole fish from the Carolina coast (20# striped bass)with local sweet potato mashers and local braised baby bok choy. Though we won't be doing 20 pound whole fish nightly at the restaurant and pub, catering allows us to stretch expectations. Cameron made a chocolate torte with strawberry balsamic glaze for dessert. Thank you Chris and Deborah.

So what is in store now (nice phrase for a store--it can mean what is to come and what's in the store), you might ask? In our efforts to provide produce with as much local as possible we have procured some beautiful carts from deep in the bowels of the mill. As I understand they are called dobbin bins. They are spring loaded yarn bins that wheel around and allow for a more lovely and functional produce display. In the not too distant future look for a produce display cooler. In an effort to provide dinner items, we also have added Thursday, Friday and Saturday special dinner items. Restaurant to come. We have wine glasses and beer glasses on request, pub is right around the corner.

Last Monday we had a marathon session with a bunch of gifted folks from Clearscapes and Alphin design build. They along with we have formed a collaborative effort in the design and function of sustainable businesses and buildings. Sustainable Saxapahaw with an art center, a coffee shop, food and drink as mentioned, a photo studio and more. It's right in front of us. Can you imagine it?

Envisioningly yours,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Local Goat

In all of my years in this business I have never seen a food phenomena like this one. The goat meat hamburger at a gas station! When Jason from Carolina goat farms stopped by a few months ago, I knew I wanted to get goat on the menu. Goat is now officially on the culinary front burner in our country. However, functionally because of price and size of the cuts it wasn't practical to offer it daily from our style of menu. We will work chops and stuff into our specials dinner menu.

So, I thought, well, we sell a lot of local beef via the American classic, why not a twist - perhaps with a Moroccan feel? Cameron had already decided to make English muffins in house so I decided to colonize those add a few accents and some raw sheep's milk cheese and the next thing we know the local goat burger is out-selling the local ground beef burger.

Now, Jason is bringing us whole goats just for hamburgers. We have our own goats on his farm. There they are, our neighbors just across 54 in Mebane, you can visit them.

Today's specials for lunch are:

Yes, the goat burger
pan seared salmon on croissant
Seafood Gumbo
Duck breast salad local Celebrity Dairy goat cheese with currants and grilled red onions and balsamic glaze.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


We had quite a startling weekend here at the store. After the Durham, Chapel Hill and multi-county Herald Sun Article broke on thursday we were seeing folks come from all directions. So when Marcia and Henry showed from Fearrington Village I was not at all surprised.

It was Saturday, a nasty wet and cold beginning to a nasty wet and cold weekend. Marcia, a big city foodie with a philanthropic soul, has been an ardent supporter since Dan Fairris and I opened the short-lived Fowlers in Fearrington. She was one of the first in Fearrington to catch wind that I was at the Marketplace in Chatham. Marcia and Henry attended my cooking classes and the wine and food dinners there faithfully. Needless to say i was happy to see Marcia peer over our specials menu board to give me a jibe.

We were slammed at the time and so I lost track of her for a few minutes while I wondered what she might order and how gently brutal she may be with her assessment. Next thing I know someone is yelling call 911.

As I made it to her side she was just coming to. She was bloodied and confused from the fall after fainting. It all turned surreal. My head hurt and I was having trouble functioning on the stove-top. Wondering, feeling a concussive headache and sick to my stomach, we pushed on with another busy and precious day.

If anyone has heard about Marcia please contact us here at the store.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

And now the Herald Sun

The good people of the Herald Sun have produced a dandy article chronicling our efforts. http://heraldsun.southernheadlines.com/orange/10-1106884.cfm. We would like to get as many versions as there are of this article. My mom thanks you as do we.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It has been quite a ride for the last month. First were the Paperhand Puppet shows in successive weekends, and then the Burlington Times story broke about our humble little endeavor. We have been plastered with folks, and we have been seeing return visitors from both exposures. Now, here we are at home for two days in a row taking care of things and getting some rest and spending some warm time with my mom and her husband (and my friend) John.

John has come down to see our doctor after being run through the conventional medicine ringer. His deterioration has been reversed since visiting here with Dr. Mark over the last few weeks, and he is well on his way to a full mending.

When we met our friends Doug and Claire at the Lantern last night for dinner, we got a sweet parking spot because of the handicapped parking sticker on John and Mom's vehicle. John exclaimed he was happy to say that privilege will pass soon, as he'll be too mobile to need the thing.

I can't say enough about what Dr. Mark Eisen has done for my dear 77-year-old friend. Suffice it to say he has a new lease on life where hope had been lost. Cameron and I have been in much need of some recuperative time as well, and John's patient and committed effort to get well based on his treatment regimen has inspired us to do the same.

Next, though, we'll be readying for a new and busy weekend, as the Chapel Hill Herald will soon display their own article on this strange effort to which we and you are giving life. Look for another expansion to our menu that will extend the dinner menu again. We are rested and ready and inspired by our friend John and my grateful mother. Menu additions begin this Friday.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

We made the Times

We made the Times. Burlington Times that is.

Yet another big weekend as Chathamohicans are catching up with us and Chapel Hillians keep rolling in and now Burlington and the triad have found us.

There is no turning back now. The dinner food must come forth. Today folks were calling in to see if we had all the items on our dinner and a show weekends menus. Representative Carey Allred stopped by and had the goat burger and duck breast salad. He hung with us for a good portion of the afternoon and asked about that menu: Wagyu beef? Sea Scallops? Yup, but not today. Next week? Probably.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Local food loop

Eric and Tom's project within the project:

We are weaving circles here out of our kitchen - food loops, if you will. Local and store-made selections: biscuits, muffins, pies, beef, chicken, stew, chili and on and on.

Cameron with Roland MacReynolds of CFSA discussing exciting foodshed news:

Eric Henry at T.S. Designs has been a champion from the beginning. He and his wife Lisa were amazingly gracious to me while I was at the marketplace in Pittsboro. They live in Burlington yet were willing to travel the hour it took to get to pbo for food. It is hard to find a more committed soul for sustainability. Their plant is state of the art green, they use locally produced organic cotton, and above all, they treat people right. So it is an honor and an inspiration to work with Eric.

So as we provide lunch in concert with Charles Sydnor from Braeburn farm we are able to offer ever closing food loops. The pies will be made with local flour, apples, sweet potatoes, dairy, butter, eggs. The greens are local, as is the cream and the potatoes for potato salad. This is possible because people like Eric are committed to it.

Thank you Eric.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

This weekend, we'll be doing a repeat (with menu variations) of our special dinner menu, in honor of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention show "The Hungry Ghost." Shows are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and tickets are $15 each--available at the door. Shows begin at 8 p.m.; dinner's from 5 'till we close at 9.

I can't help sharing a moment with you that helps illustrate what Jeff and company are doing in the kitchen of this little store--a feat beyond what the place ever hoped to see, I'm amused to tell you.

Last Friday night, during what turned out to be a rare quiet moment during the weekend, I breezed around the corner in the kitchen to find Jeff at the prep sink teaching Chris to filet a flounder. Chris is working on a culinary arts certificate, so he's been soaking up every bit of practice he can get when he's working in the kitchen. After his week of class, Chris returned to the store today beaming about his most recent classroom experience. His class has been working on butchering, and his instructor taught a lesson--as fate would have it--on fileting flounder. Chris was confident, having just practiced this skill, and demonstrated such filet-ing proficiency that other students in the class asked him for help. The instructor even called him to the side at the end of the class, and said, "Chris, this is excellent work. You have mastered a classic style of filet that's not often used anymore." A smiling Chris replied to his teacher, "Well, thank you, sir. I learned to do it at the gas station where I work."

Thanks to all of you for making this moment--and your local gas station slash gourmet eatery--possible.

We have steel head trout on the menu this weekend in place of the flounder, along with local Wagyu steak filets, scallops, duck confit, and other delights--menu attached.

I've made a chocolate pecan tart and sweet potato pie for dessert. Saturday we'll have local chevre cheesecake with local strawberry sauce, barring any tricks by the temperamental oven.


Weekend Dinner Menu
5-9 P.M. Friday and Saturday, 5-8 P.M. Sunday
February 6-8

Shrimp Chowder
cup for 4—, bowl for 5—

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
cup for 4—, bowl for 5—

Crispy Pork Belly
Apple cider glaze, garlic mashed potatoes, garlic and shallot green beans

Pan-seared Duck Breast Salad
local goat cheese, currants, grilled onions, balsamic glaze

Steel Head Trout
sweet potato hash, asparagus
14 —

6 oz. Wagyu Sirloin Steak
sautéed spinach, duck fat fried potatoes

Kurobuta Pork Chop
Portobello mushroom gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts

Eggplant Parmesan
mixed greens salad

Wild Caught Sea Scallops (after 6 p.m. Friday)
risotto cake, asparagus

Lamb Shank
white bean ragout, sautéed greens

Plate of Mussels
roasted garlic and tomato broth, grilled baguette

Local Sweet Potato Pie, Chocolate Pecan Tart, Local Chevre Cheesecake

Monday, February 2, 2009

Five star gas station

Yesterday as I was preparing the glace for the beef short-ribs, I looked over my shoulder from the stove-top and there was Dobbs, outside our front window. Dobbs is a a member of a local community replete with a sweat lodge. They have welcomed us with open and gracious arms. Sherry, one of their community members, works with us. They come for brunch and lunch faithfully and shop the groceries, local produce and local meat. Dobbs, a long-haired, wiry artist and craftsman, lived his life all over the world before settling here in Saxy. With his typical care he was drawing a plum line on our window next to our door.
Oops! back to the sauce. What is he doing?
My attention wandered to the previous evening. In the bustle of the busiest night of our sweet little store's life, Dobbs and Shannon (the queen of Saxapahaw) began an applause. "The best meal I have had in North Carolina," the artist warmly and broadly intoned. Slightly teary, I hit the mussels with a splash of Torrontes. Fire.
My sauce is coming together nicely as Dobbs puts the fifth gold star carefully in place. I go out to look. He is gone.


Friday, January 30, 2009

This weekend

The store was packed for two straight weekends. Gracious patrons. Some of them pulled up milk crates.

We are rockin.

Thank you to all you Saxapahahemians, Chapel Hillians, a few raleighites and so many old friends from Chatham for coming to Saxy to take in dinner and a show over the last couple nights.

Today we will be featuring a new dinner menu because last night you wiped us out! Also look for a few super bowl treats to go along with your beer wine and snack food. One to make noshing easy will be a sub that feeds 6. Pizza pizza pizza. Do you know that we make our own world class crust (read Cameron).

Or you can come and dine early whilst picking up your accoutrement for viewing of the dynastic struggle.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Paperhand Puppet in our midst

If you don't already know, Donovan Zimmerman Of Paeprhand Puppet Intervention is bringing an adult iteration of his and their genius back home to Saxapahaw this and next weekend. The puppet show is called The Hungry Ghost. They opened to great reviews and sold out shows in Durham for two weekends. Their new home is host to this inauguralish performance. Donovan has been a real friend and champion of what we do here. I could not begin to describe how this considerable personage has been an intimate part of our success. He is our friend in all senses of this sacred term.

In their honor we are providing special dinner items each night of the performances. As many of you know we have amped up our dinner offerings anyway. Occasionally we have offered some more refined dishes as we prepare for the launch of the pub and restaurant. The next two weekends will be a display of our attempt to match their amazing artistic endeavor. We are humbled at their brilliance. There will be seafood, local beef and pork dishes as well as some nice vegetarian fare, Lamb, fun dinner salads and special soups. Look for a morphing menu here and in the weekly email (sign up at the store).

The shows start at 8pm in the community center; dinner begins at 5. There is limited space in the store for sit down meals but we will figure it out. There is some outdoor seating and carry out is quite welcome.

Jeff Barney
Saxapahaw General Store

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Here we are

Eight months or so ago, Cameron and I jumped ship from the flotilla that is the Market in Chatham. This is a story that will here evolve, like all life, in meristem fashion. For now, suffice it to say it was a hurried decision to come to Saxapahaw for me. Cameron gave it more consideration. I had to act quick. Literally, I was approached about taking on the project about two weeks before I gave my notice at the co-op. To be sure, I had known the amazing Heather Lagarde and the Saxy project for some years as a I was graciously invited in on some of the ground floor design ideas for the commercial space some three years earlier.

Back then, there was no specific plan for a business for me--I was just interested in working collaboratively with folks without expectation. You know, for the love of it. At that point, when out in Saxy I would pine over possibilities for the store there. It is a beautiful space, but it was going to waste--providing merely a convenience store culture for the community. Also, I would haunt the spaces other with my ideas of a a bistro with wine and beer and simple but delicious food.

Fast forward ahead a few years and look over our shoulder as Cameron and I peered into the window at Durham's Rue Cler - one of our favorite stops. A little bakery adjoins a 40-ish seat French cafe. Inspired, we dined and envisioned. No expectation, just love. Love knows no expectation, does it? We were working in a store with a strong local economy mission that we took strong ownership of and looking out inspired by the work of others. A few short months later, I was approached with an idea for the Saxgen store, as we call her. It was clear early on that Cameron would help, but not at all clear that she would co-own on the project -- which as we will see is now much larger than the store. She was contemplating a one-year-deferred law school admission in the fall. She was considering staying on at the Marketplace. This continued for a while, but some behavior from some of the other management, in reflection, made it clear the flotilla was having navigation problems with the old mission compass. So off the raft she came, to me and to we, thank God. What we have confirmed time and again with the saxy group is that every well developed individual is absolutely indispensable.

So we began the transformation. We have taken our time. One of the elements of our mission is human freedom. We did not want our mission to break down into mere ideology. Spiritual Freedom is an act of will. Choice is one of those acts and it is happening all the time. In short, if we provide Little Debbie snack cakes next to an organic version of the same, a choice will be made. We did not want to alienate frequenters who have good will. We did not want to be exclusive foodies, yet the store as it had been was exclusive in an obverse manner. Many folks felt they were not welcome, or that there just wasn't anything there for them. Cultural diversity: check.

This is not to say we have not lost some folks. When Cameron confronted a couple of fellows, at different moments, for racial jokes, telling them in her respectful way that such prejudicial language was not welcome here, we "lost" a host of customers who had made themselves known to us. A gentleman used to come in every morning for coffee and even became a convert from biscuit to croissant. He was helpful and complimentary and constructively critical. We appreciated him and said so. He lives right across the river. Gone. A host of others also disappeared from the store but not the neighborhood, around this time including the confronted men. Good decision?

What I learned from the above is something that I have suspected for some time. Coke, Shell, Pepsi etc... bristled when we decided to denude their branding of the store and exude our own brand. We needed them more than they needed us, was their attitude. Hell, Hunt's Pizza pulled their product from our store because we removed their overwhelming branding. They made us look like their pizza store. We said no thank you. As I look back, they all wanted to own us by telling us how to look and what to order and even how to operate. I had this same feeling, of a domineering impulse, from some of the customers that disappeared. Could it be that this corporate posture has been trained into so much of our population? A branded expectation provides an assurance that one has control in the marketplace, a guarantee of your placement and identity. Love knows no guarantees nor seeks any.

So here we are --good savory food, if I may say so, great baked goods, as many of you do say, and choices for us all. We hope to grow with our community. We see our role as one of service. Service to our employees, customers and community is an aspect of our mission. So if there is anything we can add to the selection or the look and feel of the place we are open for that kind of business.

Jeff Barney
Saxapahaw General Store