The space next to Subway on Eaton Ferry Road will not remain vacant very long when Lake Gaston Coffee Company moves to its new location across the street this fall. Lake Country General Store will succeed Lake Gaston Coffee as a tenant there, branching out from its initial Lawrenceville, Va. store that debuted last year and targeting a Nov. 5 opening on Eaton Ferry Road.
“We’ve been watching and waiting and working on this for at least 8 or 10 months,” said Lake Country General Store owner Chris Baird. “We feel like our product mix is a good fit for the lake area.”
That product mix will be varied, and will differ some from the Lawrenceville location, but Baird anticipates the staples being old-fashioned country store items like hoop cheese, country ham, jams, jellies, and pickles.
Chris and his wife Erinn hail from Brunswick County and Chris, a veteran realtor, opened Lake Gaston Realty, Inc. two years ago.
The Bairds had expected at first to open a Lake Country General Store location in Bracey before the Lawrenceville one jumped ahead of it in line.
Lawrenceville’s Lake Country General Store has been a hit, so much so that the Bairds expanded the size of the store when the opportunity presented itself. They added an ice cream counter and deli case in the spring.
“It’s been amazing,” Chris said. “We knew coming in with the local economy and we opened right after COVID hit last July - we knew it would be a challenge, but we also knew we couldn’t be too specialized, so we did a mixture of the old-fashioned country store type products. In this location, we also do some food service - sandwiches - we do our own barbecue and chicken salad that people love. We also do just basic grocery items. We do hand-cut ribeyes.”
The Lake Gaston location will not have the same food offerings since it will share a space with Subway. The lease is for two years.
“There’s a lot I have in mind I would love to do, but we will be limited in this location,” Chris said. “I can’t say what might happen after that two years. But I’m always open to growth and other possibilities.”
So until then, the old-fashioned country store goods will reign supreme, joined by the likes of Dinwiddie County, Va.-based Richlands Dairy products such as ice cream, milkshakes and smoothies. There will be beef snacks and jerky, peanuts and holiday-themed gift items like candles.
And breakfast items including doughnuts and pastries; even some special-order cakes. “We have a bourbon barrel cake that did very well for the holidays last year,” Chris said. “My wife makes an eggnog custard pie with Richlands eggnog; so just a variety of things.”
The drive-thru window will be utilized and online ordering implemented. Social media already plays a key role in Lake Country General Store’s marketing efforts. That’s how Chris knew Lake Gaston was excited for the new location.
“I was blown away by the amount of responses and the positive response and how many people were already familiar with us from passing through Lawrenceville,” Chris said. “We’re very excited about it. We think it’s going to do very well. And it’s one of those things; we’ll learn as we go. We’ll make the necessary adjustments to find the right products that people are looking for.
“We’re not coming in to try to compete with anybody else. We want to try to bring our own variations of things to the area and just give more options to not only the full-time, year-round residents but all of the folks passing through in the summertime too.”