Friday, April 10, 2015

Stopping Off

Mike Layne of Layne's Country Store wants to bring you hoop cheese and jam.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Steve, his brother, Buster, and father Carlton Layne in the original Lexington store. The store stocked everything from grocery items to mattresses. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGARET BUCHANAN
  • Photo courtesy of Margaret Buchanan
  • Steve, his brother, Buster, and father Carlton Layne in the original Lexington store. The store stocked everything from grocery items to mattresses.

It’s not a Stuckey’s, although that roadside paradise of rock candy and pecan log rolls will forever be the highlight -- sometimes the only highlight -- of many family road trips. Stuckey’s is the faint, mass-market version of the real thing: the old general store.

Michael Layne, a big man with a gentle Appalachian accent, grew up in an authentic one near Lexington. Layne’s Country Store opened in 1954, long before anyone in the area had heard of a big-box store. His mother, Phyllis Turner Layne, gave his father, Carlton, the store and its attached gas station as a wedding present, and, because it was built on a slope, the family lived below it. In addition to selling grocery staples, the Laynes also stocked their store with clothing, televisions, stereos, Crock Pots -- even mattresses.

When Wal-Mart came along, Layne’s mother converted the store into a game room with pool tables and pinball machines. But by the 1990s, the store again transformed, this time selling products from Amish and Mennonite farmers.

“Mom was worried about purity of products -- she grew up on a farm,” Layne says. “She milked the cows, they raised their own pork and poultry and cured country ham.”

click to enlarge The original Layne's Country Store in the 1950s. Michael Layne's brother, Buster, is in the wagon. - COURTESY MARGARET BUCHANAN
  • Courtesy Margaret Buchanan
  • The original Layne's Country Store in the 1950s. Michael Layne's brother, Buster, is in the wagon.

The Lexington store is still going strong, run by Layne’s brother Steve, who took over after his parents died. Both Travel & Leisure and Southern Living ran articles about the store, and it became a stopping-off point for tourists as well as locals.

Layne is trying to duplicate that experience near Ashland with his version, Layne’s Country Store and Amish Kettle, across from the Bass Pro shop. Although the shelves weren’t completely stocked when I visited, the store’s hanging country hams, big wheel of June Daisy cheddar, rows of jams, jellies and preserves that included unusual varieties such as a FROG jam -- a combination of fig, raspberry, orange and ginger jam -- carrot marmalade and strawberry butter are intriguing enough for a road trip.

He’s also installed special filters on the front windows to display the 200 varieties of Virginia wine he stocks, plus 30 kinds of beer. Prepared foods and bakery items are planned for later.

“People are looking for simpler, out-of-the-ordinary type of things,” Layne says.

Readers also liked…

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

  • Re: Weekly Food Notes: Prix Fixe, Handles + More

    • November 15 was on a Wednesday, not a Thursday. November 27 is on a Monday,…

    • on November 16, 2017
  • Re: UPDATE: Strawberry Thai is Closing

    • Do you need an Xmas Loan ,loan to pay your bills? Do you need Personal…

    • on November 15, 2017
  • Re: UPDATE: Strawberry Thai is Closing

    • Do you need an Xmas Loan ,loan to pay your bills? Do you need Personal…

    • on November 15, 2017
  • More »
  • Copyright © 2017 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation