By Buffy Calvert
On a Saturday morning, I drive along the Tremperskill on County Route 1 and swing into the driveway of the Tremperskill Country Store. Encouraged by the sight of the parking lot full of pickups and SUVs sporting winter coats of Delaware County salt and grime, I clump up the steps into the circle of a hot-stove league, deep in conversation, sitting on mismatched chairs, steaming coffee cups set on the doublewide red Coca Cola cooler. I slip by them and am immediately swept into the warmth of Candy Chin’s brilliant smile across the counter. She and Eddie, her husband, are the new proprietors.
The Chins didn’t always dream of owning a country store, but when they realized that Dolores, Sonny and Katherine Somelofski were ready to sell the venerable convenience store and bait shop at the foot of Perch Lake Road, they put their house in Massapequa, Long Island on the market and began to dream of living year around in their cabin on Firment Road above the reservoir.
Two and a half years later, at the end of last summer, they closed on the store and hired Gordy Krick and his team, James Litaker and John Ballard, to paint. “They gave us our start!” says Candy appreciatively. Eddie, an engineer, has proved that he can fix anything. Candy, a teacher with a degree in English from the University of Rhode Island, has honed her cooking skills in her sparkling new kitchen. Their son, Lonny, has begun his junior year of high school at ACS.
A new CITCO gas pump sits on a new concrete stand. The menu board on a recent weekend boasted Candy’s Pea Soup with croutons and Eddie’s homemade Sausage and Peppers as well as deli sandwiches freshly made to order. Coffee was good and hot, served in an assortment of generous cups.
Open from 7 am to 6 pm daily and 8 am to 6 pm on weekends, they are “easing into it gently,” according to Candy. Shelves hold basic grocery items like bread, pasta, flour, chips, aspirin and reading glasses. Coolers are stocked with milk, cream, butter and eggs as well as soda and beer. An auto supply shelf is fully loaded with those items you need in a hurry. When a woman dashed in a few days ago for diapers, Candy added them to her next order.
The store also carries a wide variety of specialty goods with the Tremperskill Country Store label, from fruit preserves to Vidalia onion sauce and pickled mushrooms. Handmade cards from England (but with scenes that could be Andes itself) sit on one rack; newspapers (including the Gazette) on another. Next summer they plan to offer fresh local produce.
Fourteen years ago, the Chins took their first vacation in Phoenicia. Driving around, they chanced upon an ad for a cabin for sale in Andes. Charmed by the cabin and the view, they bought it. It grew harder and harder to tear themselves away after weekends here. Luckily for us they have found a way to stay. ~