County Line welcomes rural visitors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

WATERLOO - On the border of Lawrence and Gallia counties, in the community of Waterloo, is a lone country store - County Line Convenient Store.

"It's the local gathering place," said Richard Harless, a local and regular of the store. "Everyone has a place like this where ever you go."

Located along State Route 141, Phillip and Helen Brown own the family run business with help from a son and daughter-in-law, Steve and Kara Brown, and son, Chris Brown. It is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and closed Sundays.

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"There's never a dull moment, there's always someone coming in and out," Kara Brown said.

The older people of the community come in and talk about old times, Steve Brown said. There is a lot of gossip and sports discussed, he said.

The Browns said residents and people working in the area, particularly the construction workers fixing the local roads, come in to eat breakfast and lunch. Hunters from out-of-state who have come to the area for deer season for years also keep stopping by.

Perhaps it is the alternative to a cold bologna sandwich that keeps people coming back.

"There aren't a lot of restaurants in the country," Kara Brown said. "We have home cooked meals."

The store runs mainly as a restaurant, but they sell some necessities such as bread, milk, ice cream and toilet paper. However, what really sells is the trademark burger:The Waterloo Wonder Burger.

"We have people come from North Carolina for our Waterloo Wonder Burger," Kara Brown said. "It's the trademark."

The burger has American and Swiss cheeses, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, pickles and onions.

"It's a giant burger," Kara Brown said.

The Browns are unsure how it became the trademark, but they do know how it got its name.

"It was named after the high school basketball team, the Waterloo Wonders," Steve Brown said. "(They were) the greatest basketball team ever."

The building was originally a church, then a game room and a gas station before it was finally used for general business becoming the County Line convenience store six years ago.

"At one time Waterloo was as big as Ironton," Harless said. "My family was one of the first to move into this town and help sell it."

He said there were multiple gas stations, garages, a school and grocery store, but now it is not so busy.

"This is about as quiet a town as you're going to find," Harless said. "Day to day you will see people on their front porch reading newspapers, magazines, books. Everyone else is working the fields."

He described Waterloo as a small, quiet, old-country town. Steve Brown agreed.

"It's kind of a one-horse town," he said. "We like it that way."

This "one horse town" may grow in time, at least that is what Harless thinks.

"Waterloo will get bigger eventually," he said. "More and more people are moving out here. One day Waterloo will be as big as it used to be."

For now, the County Line Convenient Store will remain the local hangout and gossip spot.