BELMONT - Heading out for a loaf of bread or a jug of milk has become easier for Belmont and area residents.
After being closed in recent years following the sudden death in 2009 of former co-owner Fraser Barnhill, the local "country store" was recently re-opened under new ownership.
"Well, everybody was crying for it," said new co-owner Dan Muise, of the community's desire to have the store reopened.
"Everybody we talked to was saying how (they) wished we had the store in Belmont. Me and Pete just came together and said let's do it," he said, of business partner and co-owner Peter Digout.
Now known as the Belmont Food and Fuel Community Store, the reopening means that area residents no longer have to drive outside their community just to pick up a few confectionary items.
Currently, the nearest store for Belmont residents is in Debert while they have to drive to either Truro or Glenholme to fill their automotive tanks.
But that should soon change also, as the partners are awaiting a fuel permit so they can turn on their gasoline and diesel tanks. Eventually, the pair hope to also be able to offer premium gasoline and furnace oil at the site.
"This is just a start really. We want to expand it big time," Muise said.
"Whatever the community needs," Digout added.
"We're going to go into the feed business and we expect that to go over quite well. There's a lot of horses here," he said.
"We're here for the community and we hope to be able to get enough support so we can stay here."
And while the new entrepreneurs are still working to fill their shelves, they said that so far business is looking promising and the community reaction has been more than reassuring.
"They're glad to have the store back and glad to have gas coming," Digout said. "You know, we're a little bit out of the way here so people appreciate being able to run out for milk and not having to drive to Truro and things like that."
Muise said the prospect of owning his own business was attractive to him because he likes being his own boss.
For Digout, opening the store was an opportunity to become active again following a career as an executive director at a provincial girls treatment centre.
"I retired for seven years and it didn't suit me. I hated it, being retired," he said. "So I thought, nice little country store like this and a younger partner like Daniel to kind of do a little leg work for me and it would be good for the community (and) good for me. For more reasons than just making money."
Besides Digout and Muise, two other part time employees are on staff to help operate the store, which is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.