Candice Salgado's return to the Dairy Barn on Forest Ave. after three years managing a different location is being welcomed by customers, Salgado said.
The location had attracted "a lot of riff-raff" and service had soured, Salgado hears from customers who remember her and employee Lamora Simmons from before they were transferred.
"We're focused on cleaning it up," said Salgado, of Bay Shore.
No longer a Dairy Barn franchise, The Barn reopened for business Dec. 6 after a number of locations were acquired by a different company. Salgado was put back in charge, and she and Simmons cleaned the place for two days.
"I want people to come here, get a fresh cup of coffee and see a friendly face," Salgado said. "We want people to recognize that the store is still here and we've made a lot of changes."
Those changes include Chock full o'Nuts Coffee, organic milk and eggs, and added products like laundry detergent and beer.
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The favorites are still around -- "we do carry Oak Tree iced tea. We get that question a lot," Simmons said. Crumb cake served in pizza boxes are back, as are dog treats for the occasional companion panting next to customers as they order from their car windows.
Salgado said more variety is being considered, with an eye on making the quick-stop shop a destination for those looking for a healthier snack on the go than people may be used to finding at traditional convenience stores. The Sea Cliff-based Pirate's Booty snack line is one example in the works, as well as natural items like almonds.
The company is eyeing more organic options in general, and Salgado said suggestions are welcomed.
Business at the store is about half what she remembers, and many regulars are missing from the lineup of drive-by shoppers. She said she hopes to reclaim the neighborly feel customers say they remember fondly.
"What did that lady say?" Salgado asked Simmons. "It's like 'Cheers,' where everybody knows your name?"
"Yeah," Simmons said. They chuckled.
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