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5 Points, 2 businesses, 1 spot
Five Points Store hosts the Round About Caf
W Five PointsRoundabout Ext.
Five Points Store and Round About Caf share a building.

The Five Points Store and the Round About Café bring an upscale-concept convenience store and a unique eating place, also locally but separately owned, to a busy road hub and growing Bulloch County population center.

Counting Rushing Road, Pretoria Rushing Road and the two approaches of Burkhalter Road separately, five road segments have long converged at "Five Points" between Brooklet and Statesboro. The fifth approach, Josh Hagin Road, has been rerouted to meet Rushing Road at a point a little removed from the county's new traffic circle, or roundabout, still under construction. Five subdivisions, within about a one-mile radius, contain more than 200 housing units.

Another subdivision, behind the store and bordering it on two sides, has been approved by the county for 500 lots, but none have been built yet. A new church building is also planned in the immediate area.

So, leave it to Lindsay and Nichole Martin, established local business people, to make the most of a strategic opportunity. The Martins own MSO Water Systems and through it already owned the store site. Lindsay Martin is CEO of the water service company and built the store from the ground up, but his wife, Nichole, is in charge of Five Chop Development LLC, which owns and operates it.

"We just thought it was a really good location because it's just been so barren out there for so long, you know," she said. "I thought it would be good for the community, putting one up out there."

As the Martins explained in separate interviews, they wanted to give the store some old-fashioned charm by stocking it with nostalgic products such as RC Colas, Moon Pies and hard-to-find candies.

"We're trying to bring back a nostalgia from when we grew up as kids. ...," she said. "It took a lot of us getting involved and researching to bring some of this stuff back to the community, and we were both tickled to death when we found the products."

The Martins also sought to stock items for cooking and dining at home, such as stone-ground grits, gravy and biscuit mixes and signature Vidalia onion sauces.

Then they put their old-time, country-store items into a newly built, well-lighted place with a brick exterior, granite countertops and tile floors. Five Points Store has spacious three-stall restrooms, again with granite and tile, very unlike the facilities at an old-timey truck stop. The whole place measures about 6,000 square feet.

Their older son, Lindsay Martin Jr., who owns Custom Elite Counters, also known as CEC, installed the countertops. Their younger son, Cole, works with MSO and was also involved with the project.


Upscale touches

Some other features, such as a wine area displaying 40 to 50 kinds on purpose-built wooden shelves, nests of straw and a picnic table, wouldn't have been found in typical old country store. The coffee and tea self-service area seems similarly upscale in presentation.

The Martins had their own custom label, "Five Points Store and More," applied to the grits, as well as to sauces, relishes and other items such as mixes and for cobblers, pancakes and cornbread. This was all arranged before the store opened about four months ago. Under various brands, the store stocks other items untypical of older convenience stores, such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Italy, gourmet spices, pickled quail eggs.

"It's quality merchandise. There's nothing cheap about it," she said.

The Martins have not operated a store before, but Lindsay Martin had built convenience stores for other owners or buyers.

"We set out to be something different, and we are," he said.

The store alone employs about 12 people.


Round About Café

Meanwhile, Round About Café, located in one end of the store building, is a separate business with its own exterior entrance as a well as a door allowing customers to go from the restaurant to the store and vice versa.

Business partners Fatih Cecen and Donny Wilson, who also own Pizza Mizza on Brannen Street, own Round About Café, leasing that portion of the building from the Martins. Opening at 6 a.m., the same time as the store, but closing three hours earlier, 7 p.m., the café thus serves breakfast, lunch and early dinner.

Round About Café has just four booths and three tables, but a large kitchen. Expecting many of their customers, especially at breakfast, to be commuters on their way to work or dropping their children off at school, Cecen said, the café owners planned for flow, but also wanted to make the place comfortable for people who dine in.

He is arranging for musicians to play there from 5 p.m. until closing on Fridays, and hopes to expand that.

Cecen, who grew up in Turkey where his family was in the restaurant business, has lived in Statesboro 19 years, since he was 17. He operated several previous restaurants here, namely Pasha, Don Corleone's Pizza and Varieties of Statesboro. The name "Round About Café" was his idea.

Breakfast items include long-cooked, stone-ground grits, biscuits made in-house; Southern-style hash browns and sausage, but also breakfast burritos.

For lunch and dinner too, "we make our pasta salad, coleslaw," he said. "We make our mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, collard greens, green beans. These are all homemade."

Tacos, empanadas, sandwiches, seasonal fruit cups and yogurt parfaits are prepared fresh.


Crossover trade

The two businesses share customers.

"We do get some business from them, and they do get business from us too, because when the kids come with their family, as soon as they're done with their little bit of food, they go around to the store and they try to get like milkshakes or chocolate milk, candies, you name it," Cecen said.

Both ownerships hope to see their businesses grow with the neighborhood. In fact, Lindsay Martin is involved in the adjoining planned subdivision, to be the neighborhood's largest yet. Its lead developer is Robbie Bell, through R&H Development Company Inc.

A concept master plan for R&H's Parkside subdivision, with 500 lots, has been approved since 2014. But more detailed plans will have to be approved in phases, and the actual number of lots will probably be somewhat less, said Bulloch County Zoning Administrator Randy Newman.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.



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