In a world of chain stores and mass marketing, the community feel of the local neighborhood grill and gas station has become a nostalgic memory. But TRAX Stop & Shop is bringing that vibe back to Waxhaw with an upscale twist.
At TRAX, owners Dave and Marianne Surack are redefining “convenience store.” The TRAX website says, “TRAX Stop & Shop takes the meaning of ‘convenience store’ to a whole new level. You’ll find everything you need at our two-in-one store and cafe.” TRAX customers are able to buy the typical gas station goods, like coffee, pastries, candy, and groceries. But they will also find local craft beers, chilled wines, and Blue Lagoon- a full-service grill that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials.
The Suracks have made sure that even getting gas is more convenient. While the cafe and store do close in the evening, they allow customers to fill up and pay with their card 24 hours a day. And the Wi-Fi is always on, and always free.
With all of these fuel-stop amenities, it would be easy to assume that the vision of TRAX began as a dream for a community corner store. But according to Dave Surack, TRAX “started by smoking meat.” The food came first.
In the beginning, Surack used a smoker to fix food for family and friends. It was such a hit that word-of-mouth referrals landed him catering requests. He began to think his hobby could really go somewhere, so he tested out the waters by setting up a smoker and some canopies at the Walnut Creek Community Pool. That first business venture was a huge success.
Eventually, Surack was selling food at Millbridge and Bridgehampton as well. Happy customers encouraged him to start a cafe or restaurant. “This past year I was like, ‘Well maybe I ought to start looking for a food truck,’” Surack said. And that’s how Blue Lagoon began.
The Blue Lagoon food truck started off catering and doing special events in March, but Surack was still on the lookout for a brick and mortar location. His original vision was for a little cafe, so when the filling station location opened up, he had some hesitation. It was more than what he was initially looking for.
On the way home from checking out the space, Surack had to stop for one of Waxhaw’s many train crossings. As the train approached, the word “trax” came into his head, and Surack was struck by the importance of trains as they related to the history and community-building aspect of Waxhaw. He realized the filling station would be the perfect place to serve his food and create a local neighborhood store, intersecting all of these aspects like the tracks that ran through downtown Waxhaw.
So the Suracks took the leap and opened TRAX Stop & Shop. TRAX works hard to connect the community and maintain a “vintage but modern” feel. For the vintage aspect, the Suracks hung a train from the ceiling and is using graphics and decor that feature local landmarks and bridges. On the modern side of things, bistro tables jazz up the cafe. Customers can use these as seating as they enjoy coffee and a breakfast plate while working from their laptop. Surack created a fun family atmosphere with a classic feel while keeping the amenities up-to-date with the latest trends.
TRAX Stop & Shop is located at 203 N. Broome Street, Waxhaw. Their hours are Monday through Saturday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. They can be found on Facebook under TRAX Stop & Shop, and online at www.traxstop.com. Customers can also call 704-256-3841 with any questions about current offerings or events.