Northern Exposure

Published 11:00 pm Monday, August 27, 2012

Local store sees all types of travelers

The calendar will soon turn to September, and with that the summer travel trips to the beach will begin to dwindle.

Spring Hill, a community about eight miles south of Troy, is at the center of the travel route. In Spring Hill, two major beach highways merge allowing travelers a choice of which way to go.

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Highway 167 runs south to Enterprise and Hartford before passing into Florida. Highway 87 winds through Elba and Samson before turning in to Florida Highway 81 at the state line of the Sunshine State.

Near the junction of the two highways sits a locally owned convenience store. The store sees a good deal of customers going to and from the beach in the summer time which often provides the employees with their fair share of laughter.

“The clothes the college kids wear will make you want to laugh,” said Tammy Meads, an employee of the store. “They will come in here with all sorts of stuff on like the beer helmets, and stuff. One person came in once with quite a few [club] wristbands on, and he looked like had a good time down there.”

Meads went on to say that one of the more interesting moments occurred when a family from above the Mason-Dixon Line stopped in on a return trip from Panama City Beach.

“A lady and her seven children came in on their way from the beach,” Meads said with a smile. “She told us that she just wanted to get home, and it turns out that home was all the way up to Indiana.”

Meads said not only does she help customers with their purchases, but she also has to help travelers find their way at times.

“The GPS will tell them that 87 is the quick way,” said Meads. “But we tell them that 167 is the way to go, because if you take 87 you have to go through a few small towns and the police would love to get a speeder down there.”

The local store offers anything that travelers would need, whether they were headed to the coast or back home.

Fuel, snacks, maps and, of course, sunglasses are available, but Meads said some of the customers ask for things that aren’t on the shelves.

“We get people in all the time that want to buy beer on Sunday or lottery tickets,” said Meads. “The look on their faces is funny when you break the news to them.”

Labor Day is drawing near and with it comes the unofficial end of summer, but don’t expect the traffic to slow at the highway junction.

As winter inches closer, “snowbirds” will make their way to the beach to escape the cold air up North.

“They come in pulling their campers and motor homes,” said Meads. “We like to listen to their accents. They are fun people, but have nothing on the laughs we get from the college kids.”