Return to simpler times

Published 11:24 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

Doc’s Country Store, located on the U.S. Highway 331 South bypass in Opp, will celebrate its fifth year of service in October and for many people the “unique and unusual general store” has become a place to spoon up a delicious taste of simpler times.

Store manager Benita Livingston, who has worked in the store for more than three years, said that owner and Opp veterinarian Dr. Steve Boothe created the store out of his love for unique items.

“I can honestly say that you will be hard pressed to find another place quite like this,” she said. “It has been a pleasure to work here and I would love this place even if I did not work here. Dr. Boothe looks for unusual items everywhere he goes. It is his hobby and he wanted to create a store like this to make all of these wonderful things available to other people.”

An idle stroll down the aisles of Doc’s Country Store could reveal any number of things ranging from handcrafted figurines to Amish butter to Alabama and Auburn key chains, wallets, clothing or car tags.

“We really do have something for everyone,” Livingston said. “Most people have everything they need at home and they come here to find some unique or altogether new.”

Doc’s Country Store is also home to what has become one of Opp’s most popular eateries.

“We have people who come by just to get a drink and look around the store for a while,” Livingston said. “We have some of the best hamburgers I have ever tasted and we have truly homemade ice cream. Stop by for a bite and the food will speak for itself.”

According to Livingston, the store has become a routine stop for families traveling the bypass to reach the beach.

“We have a lot of tourists who have made Doc’s Country Store a regular stop for their yearly vacations,” she said. “Many of our employees have been here for the duration and people come back to see a familiar face, eat some good food and take in the Southern atmosphere.

“Most of our out-of-town visitors come through during the summer, but we do have tourists all throughout the year,” she added. “We also have our regulars who have made Doc’s their lunch stop of choice. We get a lot of good comments about our chili dogs, ice cream and, of course, our hamburgers. We don’t sell french fries or any other deep-fried foods. We keep it simple with hot dogs, hamburgers and salads.”

Livingston said new customers are often overwhelmed by the wide assortment of items in the store.

“People are always amazed that we keep candy containers and sell it by the bag like they did in the past,” she said. “We are probably the only place close by that sells its taffy in barrels.”

Livingston said visitors are also amazed by the Boothe Family Museum and T.J.’s Flea Market, which are both open the same hours as Doc’s Country Store.

“The museum has a lot of items you just don’t see anymore,” she said. “There is also a registry where people can sign to tell us who they are and where they are from. It is really interesting to flip through and see just how far people have traveled. We have had families from California, Tennessee, Georgia and even Canada.”

Doc’s Country Store is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and the deli serves lunch Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.