By Susan Benton, 30Aeats.com
“We are proud of our store. We think we’re on to something. We are doing business the way it is supposed to be done.”
If heading to or from the beaches of South Walton, you may have passed a small local eatery just off State Road 81 in Red Bay called Red Bay Grocery. I highly recommend stopping into the store when in east Walton County for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To the locals that live in the small community the store is a necessity, but to visitors it is a gem of a find that draws them back time and again.
The original grocery has been in operation since 1936 and has had over 28 owners, but through time became dilapidated and closed in 2008. Leaving the community with a minimum 20 minute drive for bare necessities, and no gathering space, they rallied 64 residents/partners who chipped in money to renovate and revive the old building. These 64 joined business principal Charles Morgan (think Harbor Docks), also a Red Bay resident, in reopening the business in 2009 featuring essential items, canned goods, homemade treats and accessories. Cooperatively, they own and operate the business. A hand-carved wooden plaque on the front porch lists the owners and a picture of the red bay tree after which the community is named.