IRH - Convenience Corner

This section is to honor the works of Russ Lancaster who started the “I Remember Hamlet” web site years ago. Without his pioneering the web at that time we might not have gathered all these memories of our Hamlet, NC. We thank you Russ for what you started in 1996, may you Rest in Peace. Russ was kind enough to let me download his web site before he took it down. Thank you Russ.
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IRH - Convenience Corner

Post by David »

Convenience Corner
by Russ Lancaster
The Convenience Corner is located on the Southeast side of Marlboro Street just before the branch off to Battley Dairy Road in Hamlet.
Aptly named, both because of its convenience (the products available) and its location (cornering three separate streets), it is a combination self service filling station, fast food store and take out restaurant. It is popular with both the old and the young and has been there during the 1980's until present (1998).
The two major store clerks are Joe Blaylock and Luther Gills. Those two are as opposite as the North and South Poles but are perfectly suited to manage this great little place. Joe was known in high school as one of the most likely to succeed and one of the smartest men to go through Hamlet High School. Luther managed the old Colonial Store from the time I was a teenager in the 1950's until he retired. Joe is a tall man with a crew cut and his hair has been white seemingly forever. He is a fearsome man to look at but can be softhearted if treated right. His gruff attitude keeps the customers in line when times are busy. Luther has always been the managerial type, strictly business, dots his I's and crosses his T's. But he has a great sense of humor hidden away that you will find once you gain his confidence and respect. Something that must be earned from him.
The store itself is probably best known for it's fast food. When working for the railroad at Hamlet Yard during the 1980's, no matter which shift I worked, there was always a group order ready to be called in to the Convenience Corner for pickup by one of us. You could get anything from a burger to a fish sandwich. My favorite was their BBQ sandwich. Now, being originally from North Carolina, I know my BBQ. The best I ever ate came from the Convenience Corner. It remains today one of my favorite dishes. You just can't get a sandwich like that anywhere else in the world. It is truly special. Even today, when I make an occasional trip back to Hamlet, before I even get to my Mom's house, I stop by there and get myself one of those BBQ sandwiches and an order of their famous french fries. Topped off with an iced cold Pepsi, you couldn't buy a better meal at the fanciest restaurant in the world.
There is no special way to order your food there and you have to take it with you. It's take out only. You can phone your order in, give your order to Luther or Joe in person, or walk to the kitchen window to your left when you get there. Any of those 3 ways of ordering work. While waiting for your food (never takes long), you go to the register and pay Luther or Joe. You simply tell them what you ordered and they take your word for it. I suspect there is some way they check to make sure you're honest but I've never figured it out. It's that kind of place. You ask for what you want, tell them what you ordered and pay for it. No other questions asked. Too many customers to ask too many
questions. How many places like that still exist in the world today? My guess is not very many.
If you ever go to Hamlet or drive through there or even get close to there, please do yourself a favor and stop at the Convenience Corner for a BBQ sandwich. Fill your stomach, gas your car and buy a pack of cigarettes if you are so inclined, but stop you must. And before you give old Joe or Luther your order, step back for a moment and watch how a place can work with such effeciencey with so little help, no computers, no managers, no fancy equipment. Just a couple of store clerks and cooks that are there to give you the best food you ever ate and a little of whatever else you need. Tell them that Russ Lancaster said hello.
Yes, I remember the Convenience Corner, and I Remember Hamlet
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