- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2000

CHESAPEAKE, Va. In blue, black and red tile, the state line runs through Border Station, a store Russell Hastings and his family built on a highway carrying vacationers from Virginia to North Carolina's beaches.

"I thought the state line going through it would be a great gimmick for the tourists," says Mr. Hastings, 64.

Since the store opened on Route 168 about 18 months ago, it has drawn tourists as well as local residents from Virginia and North Carolina seeking a mix of products regulated differently by the neighboring states.

On the south side, you can buy fireworks, which cannot be sold in Chesapeake, and cigarettes, which North Carolina taxes at a lower rate than Virginia. On the north side is the convenience store, complete with an Alcoholic Beverage Control license and the main Border Station draw for Tar Heels: the Virginia Lottery.

The gas pumps, too, are on the Virginia side, because taxes are slightly lower there than in North Carolina. The Carolina side has a Dairy Queen, Carolina barbecue and mock gambling machines that offer store credit, rather than cash, to winners.

The products bring in customers such as Diane Weedon, who stopped in while heading back to Richmond from her family's cottage in Nags Head, N.C.

"It's got all kinds of good things," she said. "'Knickknackery,' as my husband puts it."

Carol Fellona and Pat Weckerly were heading back to North Carolina from a day of shopping in Chesapeake.

"This is just sort of a pit stop for us," Miss Fellona said.

Miss Weckerly listed the reasons she stops: "Cigarettes, lottery tickets and Dairy Queen."

Nearby, Edward G. Gallop of Chesapeake played Shamrock 7's on the Pot-o-Gold simulated gambling machines. After a barbecue lunch just south of the tile line, he collected his thoughts about Border Station.

"It's something different," he said. "I've never heard of a store being in two states before."

Mr. Hastings, president and co-owner of Border Station Inc., a partnership with his two children and a cousin, got the idea through experiences he gained across the street at Southland, a convenience center on the North Carolina side.

He founded that business as a small convenience store and tobacco shop in 1972, and it grew. A partner, Calvin Lamb, came in with him in the early 1980s, and Mr. Hastings sold his stake and later left. The North Carolina convenience center also offers gas, food and tobacco products.

Despite the business split between Mr. Hastings and Mr. Lamb, the latter's daughters, who manage Southland, say there are no hard feelings.

"More business breeds more business," Louise Harrell says.

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