A true Country Walk moment: you’re mid-recipe and realize you’re out of eggs. Or butter. Or baking powder. No problem — the Country Store will have it, and one of the kids will be happy to hop on their bike and get it in a jiffy, especially since they know they can use the change to get a snack!
A unique and treasured feature of life here in Country Walk, this outpost of commerce was one of the few convenience stores in the area during the early years of the subdivision, and still the only one that is in a residential neighborhood.
Sung Hong and his wife, J.J., have owned the store since 1991. “Back then, we were real estate brokers, and a friend of the owner told us he was looking for a buyer,” Sung said. Although initially they did not intend to buy it themselves, they realized the store would generate steady income (a welcome relief from the unpredictability of sales commissions).
“Somehow, we bought it, and I’ve been stuck here ever since!” he added with a laugh. He appreciates all the animal lovers in Country Walk, and mentioned that the little gray dog he used to have at the store relocated with his daughter when she moved to Dunwoody. He likes to stay in touch with the neighbors socially on Nextdoor, and for that reason, doesn’t like to advertise the store on the site.
Sending the kids down to the store for the essential item that somehow got left off the shopping list always has been part of the neighborhood culture, as are Sung’s lessons in practical math. Sung always asks the kids to figure out how much change they should get back. Some of that change is promptly reinvested in candy, of course. These days, the lowest priced candy costs five cents apiece, but the math lessons are still free. And it’s not just the kids who need the math lessons. Sung marvels that even adults sometimes struggle to figure out which is the better value: four cans of tuna for 69 cents each, or six cans for $2.99.
Candy and soft drinks are the most popular items sold, but you also can buy milk, eggs, cheese, sugar, coffee, canned goods, cereal, snacks, beer, and wine. J.J.’s also has everything you need for a cookout, from propane for the grill, hot dogs and buns, and ice for the cooler. If you’d rather not cook at home, J.J.’s also has food to go, although most of his customers for the buffet food are from the industrial park. Sung also noted he has gotten requests to stock fresh meat but is concerned that since the store doesn’t get a lot of traffic, the meat would spoil before it was sold.
J.J. has a restaurant in Midtown, but she may want to retire and come here!
Sung Hong, Country Store owner
Sung has adjusted the mix of goods and services available at the store through the years. J.J.’s began offering dry cleaning drop off and pickup during the gas shortage a few years ago. The big copy machine is gone, as email has replaced paper, but you can still get fax and photocopies at the store — just ask Sung if you need them. “Fax is a dollar a page, with a discount for multiple pages,” he said.
Importantly, the Country Store is one of only a handful of gas stations in Cobb County that sells ethanol-free gasoline. According to Consumer Reports, the 10 percent ethanol gasoline commonly available, also known as E10, is well-tolerated in car engines, but in the smaller engines used in lawn equipment “can corrode metal parts, stiffen plastic and rubber seals and tubing, and make starting harder.”
Ethanol-free gas is more costly than E10, but avoids carburetor damage. Locally, lawn service professionals are the biggest customers of this premium fuel, but there are some people who drive from Lithia Springs and Smyrna for a fill-up.
Sung has plans to continue making the store fit the needs of the community, and is open to suggestions about new products and services. He may add a café table and chairs to make it easier to enjoy the buffet food. He is considering continuing the buffet business into the winter months, adding some hot soup.
Sung added, “J.J. has a restaurant in Midtown, but she may want to retire and come here!”