Bread was 27 cents a loaf, and coffee was 27 cents per pound when Carlton Layne opened Layne’s Market on U.S. 11 on Nov. 17, 1954. Times have changed since then, but much remains the same at this country store in Rockbridge County. “We still give credit to quite a few people who pay me once a month or whenever,” Layne, 80, said from behind the counter, where he keeps a little black book to track those transactions.
Midway between Natural Bridge and Lexington, the store’s history long exceeds Interstate 81 or U.S 11. The first business on the property was a log structure built in 1840 to support travelers along the Great Wagon Road. Later, it became a service station and had overnight cabins for tourists. Layne bought and expanded the business. When the interstate was built parallel to U.S. 11 in the early 1960s, business slowed down, but, within two years, Layne said, he was selling more than before.
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