Lately, Beau Waddell, vice president of Triangle Stop Food Stores, is being asked the same question from people all over town: “Can you really sit down and have a beer in a convenience store?”
Now you can.
Sections inside three Triangle Stops have been slightly reconfigured as Mountain River Tap & Growlers, a space to sell beers and wines from approximately 40 regional craft breweries and wineries. Customers can buy a six-pack to take home, as usual, fill up a growler, or relax and drink a draft poured for them right out of the tap. Suppliers featured in the new lineup include Southern Appalachian Brewery, Hi-Wire Brewing, Flat Rock Cider Works, Brevard Brewing Company, St. Paul Mountain Vineyards, and Nantahala Brewing Company.
The Brew Pump inside the Citi Stop in West Asheville broke the concept. But, in general, “the idea is so new to folks, it makes it fun,” says Waddell. Stopping by a convenience store and getting something “not available in a take-home package” — well, it’s refreshing.
What’s more, Triangle Stop is a multigenerational chain in an era where locally owned convenience stores are virtually extinct. Waddell represents the fourth generation of the family-owned-and-operated business that his great-grandfather started as a wholesale fuel and home-heating-oil company in 1929. “In 1974, the first [Triangle Stop] convenience store was opened,” he explains, “in the middle of the triangular intersection of Main Street, King Street, and 7th Avenue in downtown Hendersonville. Hence the name.”
Today there are nine stores across Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania counties, plus another being built at the Asheville Regional Airport.
“I grew up knowing a lot about the stores and working with my grandmother, grandfather, father, mother, and sister all in the business. My grandfather truly did work in the business until he passed away. It was one of those things where he came into work one day and the next day he did not,” says Waddell. “Probably one of my greatest blessings was being able to spend time with him working and learning when I was an adult.”
Waddell is grateful for the rare chance to keep it all close to home. “It’s great being able to sell local products like beer, ciders, and wines made from products grown down the road at a nearby farm or orchard and produced in facilities that are next door to us, or in the next county over. It has given our entire company something positive to talk about — local helping local.”
Mountain River Tap & Growlers will be open inside the following Triangle Stop stores: 4197 Haywood Road, Mills River, 828-891-4807; 1484 Ozone Road, Saluda, 828-749-2041; 1210 Asheville Hwy., Brevard, 828-883-3033; and 95 Terminal Lane, Asheville, at Asheville Regional Airport (opening in August).