Shoppers from Bolivia to Australia have visited, heard of or read about Brunswick County’s gas station with the unique sign, and locals have come to depend on it as a convenient stop between Southport and Supply on N.C. 211.
But after Saturday, Midway Trading Post, known unofficially but famously as “Worms and Coffee” for its glowing neon window sign and well-traveled merchandise, will be closed for good.
Midway owner Carol Richards said the state made her an offer on her store, and with business slowing down, it came at the right time.
Richards and her husband Mike, who passed away last year, bought Midway Trading Post in 1993 after finding their new home in Southport.
Mike Richards was working in Research Triangle Park during a time of mass layoffs, and rather than waiting around to hear who would be next, the couple decided to find a place where they would ultimately retire.
“We were 49 years old, and we wanted to live at the coast. We loved Southport,” Richards said.
Before retiring, the couple wanted to operate a business in the community they loved, but they didn’t want something with a huge commitment such as a restaurant or hotel, she recalled.
They found Midway Trading Post through a local real estate agent.
“We just bought this old store, and we thought it looked cool,” Richards said. “We thought, we can make things out of it.
“My husband loved it. I’m just sorry he’s not able to reap the rewards and enjoy retirement.”
Midway has three employees, and they have known for the past year that the store was closing, giving them time to adjust and find other work.
Richards is ready for the next phase of her life but remains grateful and pleased with the customers and “fans” the store has attracted over the years.
“We’ve been all over the world with our T-shirts and hats and everything,” she said, noting that Mike’s efforts to market the shop “Worms and Coffee” via signs and merchandise paid off, resulting in state, national and international recognition.
Magazines such as Our State wrote features on the tiny store, and locals and tourists sent the merchandise to their friends and families around the world.
“Australia is the farthest I think we’ve gone,” Richards said.
Not bad for a little gas, coffee and convenience store popular with local outdoorsmen that stayed “pretty much the same all these years,” according to long-time employee Stephanie Spencer, who worked at the store even before the Richards family purchased it.
An auction of store property is scheduled August 20 at Midway, but this Saturday is the last day locals and visitors can buy their “worms and coffee” and sit in the outdoor chairs for a chat with friends.
If you’re looking for a place with small town charm and gorgeous coastal views, Southport is the place for you. Well known as the happiest seaside town on the east coast, Southport has a quaint charm that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The 2.2 square mile town offers a unique way of life. Time moves a little slower and every day is a new opportunity for adventure when you’re grabbing lunch by the shoreline or catching up with friends in the town square. This will be the area to view Southport NC Real Estate & Homes For Sale
Southport’s scenic views have been featured in dozens of movies including Safe Haven, Nights in Rodanthe, A Walk to Remember, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The town’s coastal charm has also attracted producers and film crews for popular TV shows like Revenge and Under the Dome.
The natural beauty of Southport is part of what makes it such a magical place to call home. The town is situated on the tip of North Carolina’s mainland, bordering the Cape Fear River, where commercial fishermen often set sail for the Atlantic or journey out towards the Intracoastal Waterway. There are plenty of benches and swings perched on the downtown waterfront where you can watch the ships sail by and watch seagulls and pelicans play.
Unlike most coastal cities in North Carolina, Southport has a relatively small population with just 2,300 year-round residents. Over the years, the town has thrived as a tourist destination and a well loved home for fishermen and beach lovers. With close to a dozen marinas, a public pier, and numerous waterfront restaurants and shops, the community thrives on salt air and ocean breezes.
Southport also has a rich heritage with dozens of historic homes standing majestically downtown. As you stroll down the sidewalks and wave hello to friends, you’ll find shade under live oaks that are hundreds of years old. You can pay a visit to the Maritime Museum to learn more about the town’s history dating back to the Native American settlers and moving forward through both World Wars.
There are countless antique shops, art galleries, and boutiques in the downtown area and they are best explored on foot. Residents enjoy participating in the town’s many annual traditions like the big 4 th of July parade and numerous fishing tournaments. During the summer months, Southport’s population gathers each week in the town square for a farmer’s market where you can find everything from fresh picked peaches to juicy tomatoes. Live music sets the tone for a relaxing summer day by the waterfront and neighbors catch up under the shade of the massive oak trees while tourists shop for jams, baked goods, and handmade souvenirs.
If you’re ready to take a break from the fast-paced world and you want a tight-knit community to call home, pack your bags and head to Southport. There’s nowhere else on earth where you will find such a friendly little town with million dollar views at every turn.