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Stop N Shop: Beach essentials and beyond

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your beach essentials, Stop N Shop is a convenient and well-stocked place to go. Located on the corner of S. Virginia Dare Trail and Ocean Bay Boulevard, across from the KDH Bath House and Ocean Rescue, Stop N Shop offers a unique array of consumer goods, perfect for a summer day by the sea.

Stop N Shop has been serving locals and visitors alike for the past 25 years. Now owned by Jay and Nina Patel, the shop is much more than just a gas station convenience store.

Jay sat down with The Coastland Times to explain that he and his wife Nina bought the property in 2012 from previous owners Tom and Vickie Byers. “We have owned it for eight years . . . everything is still the same,” said Jay.

Jay explained that he used to own a liquor store in Delaware with Nina, which they ran together for 20 years. When the opportunity came to purchase Stop N Shop in KDH, Jay said they wanted to leave Delaware anyway, so they moved to the Outer Banks.

As far as what the shop has to offer, their slogan is, “If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you probably didn’t need it anyway.” From beach chairs to bathing suits, fishing gear to sunglasses, jewelry to flip flops, Stop N Shop has it all.

Of course, there is also their large selection of Boar’s Head meats at their in-house deli. “We buy all Boar’s Head meats, the finest meats they have,” Jay said. Customers are welcomed to stop in at breakfast, lunch or dinner to grab a fresh sandwich, with snacks and a drink to-go.

The almost 8,700 square foot building is home to collectibles of all shapes and sizes; greeting cards, hermit crab shells and hanging sea glass fixtures are housed amongst gourmet jams, jellies and sauces. Fine wines, ice cream and coolers are in the aisles beside these.

“This is not just a gas station, this is everything,” said Jay as he walked through the eclectic merchandise.

The shop has fared well through the pandemic. Jay said he never had to close, being that he kept the store open on limited hours for locals to come through. “We opened for our locals and we are doing good, people are regularly over here, they come see us and shop,” he noted.

Stop N Shop has kept up with all social distancing and sanitation guidelines. “We are trying to do our best,” Jay said. Masks have to be worn inside the shop and if customers cannot comply, Jay said they can be asked to leave.

As for the employees, Jay was happy report that he has kept his staff working, making sure they keep their hours and follow guidelines. However, having enough employees to keep operations flowing smoothly has been hard in the past, and moreso now.

“The main thing here is the employee problem; we can’t find enough employees to work,” Jay explained. Stop N Shop has between 10 and 11 regular employees right now, with four to five summer staff members. Enough to keep things going, and Jay said it’s something they have dealt with in the past.

As far as business, Stop N Shop is bustling. Being located right next to a beach access allows beachgoers to conveniently grab their supplies before hitting the sand or stopping in for a quick bite between beach volleyball games.

If nothing else, the gas station/deli/beach shop makes for a novel find to check out while in the Outer Banks.

The store opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until Labor Day. For more information, visit www.stopnshopobx.com.

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