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Why this Dinwiddie county store is the heart of its community

Why this Dinwiddie county store is the heart of its community
Posted at 11:38 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 23:38:35-04

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- The current owner of Flat Rock Grocery has been a regular all his life.

"Most days, the kitchen's not big enough. It gets that busy and crazy in here," Joshua Stout, the owner, said.

Stout purchased the store back in 2016.

The renowned food came to be over the decades.

"Mashed potatoes, they're not instant. I mean, everything, we make it all. Potato salad, macaroni salad. It's our recipes, we do it here, doesn't come out of a box."

However, the beloved food is only one aspect of this community staple.

"A lot of people depend on this place, you know. You need lawnmower gas, you may pay a little more, but it's convenient. You don't have to drive to McKenney, you don't have to drive to Blackstone," Gordon Barnes, the former owner, said.

Gordon and his wife Judy owned the store from 1995 until 2009.

"Just seeing friends and you know, neighbors, family. That's one thing I enjoyed about it is that you see a lot of people, they come all the time," Gordon said.

Joshua said that he had discussed purchasing the store before.

"I told my wife if something happened and the store ever came up for sale that I would buy it. Just because the community, it's been here so long, I didn't want it to go away," Joshua said.

When ownership changed hands, Joshua made a few tweaks but retained the original character of the store.

"We pretty much followed along with what Mr. Barnes had going. We added more stuff to the menu that they had and stuff but I mean, it's great," Joshua said.

To this day, it still does exactly what a country store should do.

"We got just enough, the essentials," Joshua said.

The store has anything one could need, ranging from live bait to laundry detergent, from frog legs to big salads.

"It means a whole lot to this community because when I don't feel like cooking, I come here and get wonderful service," Jeanette Crittendon, a local customer, said.

With the future looking bright, the Stout family guarantees that Flat Rock Grocery will remain the icon that it has grown to be.

"Most days, it's like living a dream. I mean, how lucky and fortunate and blessed we are to have this. It's nice," Joshua said.

The long hours at the store haven't slowed Joshua down. He also coaches little league baseball and is on the volunteer fire department.

He hopes that the future will one day include a larger kitchen to help keep up with the demand.