Pine Canyon Store takes community support to another level by featuring a large selection of items from local craftsmen and entrepreneurs.

This is Part 2 of a profile on SSCS customer Pine Canyon Store. To read Part 1, which has background on the store and its owner, Larry Hayes, click here.

Successful c-stores cite the importance of connecting with their community. They do it different ways. Stocking merchandise that locals want is the most fundamental way. Operators also build bonds with their locality by participating in drives, charities, and events.

In less populated areas, like the one in which SSCS customer Pine Canyon Store does business, the tie between the store and the surrounding area may be at its strongest. As seen last week, Pine Canyon Store functions as a retail hub for the rustic area surrounding it, but owner Larry Hayes takes the relationship between his business and surrounding South Monterey County to another level—he provides a vital retail outlet for many regional suppliers and craftsmen.

“I want to support the entrepreneurial spirit in our area,” he says, “and because we feature local vendors prominently it helps us stand out in the market. Plus it builds customer loyalty— people walk through the door and see we’re supporting someone who could be their neighbor.”

Customers have come to rely on Pine Canyon Store for fresh produce, which Hayes accommodates by using a small farm in nearby Greenfield. The flower arrangements stocked by the store are grown blocks away. A local baker provides goodies and treats.

Rows and rows of wines from neighboring vineyards line the shelves, including those from California Street Winery in nearby Lockwood, not far from the orchard where Hog Wild Olive Oil, also carried by the store, is produced.

Other local merchandise is reminiscent of what you might find in a boutique. Running S Farms provides goat-milk related products like soap, lotion, and candles, handmade jewelry comes from Wild Heart Creations, wine bottle candles are provided by A&R Creations, and assorted products from Hambly Lavender Farms are featured.

“There’s definitely a gift store side to what we’re doing,” adds Hayes. “In fact we use the slogan, ‘A Gift for You,’ in our advertising to emphasize how we’re different than a typical convenience store.”

The operation is a bit of a family affair, too, with Larry’s daughter’s Brushwood Photography supplying gift cards and canvas prints, while sister-in-law, Karyn, provides illustrated cards and paintings.

It’s just another example of how Pine Canyon Store thrives as an independent operation by carving out a niche in a market its owner knows like the back of his hand, adding richness to the industry in the process. As the store’s software provider of choice, SSCS looks forward to a long, continuing partnership marked with success. Since we’re less than 60 miles away, we guess you could say we’re just another local entrepreneur!