By: Elaine Henson
The Kupboard Grocery, Part II
In late 1954, when Luke and Jessie Lancaster bought a two story cottage just south of the Kupboard, they were still living in Raleigh where Luke owned Southern Welding. By the late 50s, they had replaced the wallboard walls in their cottage with pine paneling and added a third bedroom and dining room on each floor and remodeled the kitchens with pine cabinets and Formica countertops. They put their cottage up on a foundation and were living full time at the beach on the upstairs floor, renting out the bottom floor.
Mary Ann and Albert Newkirk were still running the Kupboard Grocery and living above. In those days it was open from April until late November. It opened each year on Azalea Festival weekend and closed at Thanksgiving. The Newkirks would go back to Warsaw for the winter and come back in the spring.
Luke and Jessie Lancaster on their porch
In 1959, Luke Lancaster began working part time at the Kupboard. As the year went on Albert talked about possibly retiring and selling the store. So, in 1960, Luke bought the Kupboard for $10,000 and he and Jessie became the owner/operators.
The Kupboard was a full grocery store with a meat market, fresh produce, canned goods, condiments, bread and baked goods, frozen food, beer and soft drink cases and a penny candy counter.
They also sold paper goods, toiletries, sunglasses, sand toys, surf mats, swim rings and other beach supplies. Rusher Meat Company supplied the fresh meats and McEachern’s brought the produce. Outside there were benches to sit on, a phone booth and room for parking.
Luke Lancaster in the Kupboard Grocery with country hams hanging from the ceiling, c.1960s
The Lancasters’ son, Lank, and his friend, Harold Petty, started East Coast Surf Boards in a small cinderblock building down the street from the Kupboard, also owned by his father. It had been a meat market and convenience store in the past, but was empty in 1964, when the surf shop began.
Luke Lancaster and son, Lank Lancaster, on the porch of their cottage. You can see the side of the Kupboard in the background.
They ended up building a large wooden building behind where they actually made the surfboards using the former market for selling surfing clothing and other items.
East Coast Surf Boards was the first surf shop to open on one of the lower Cape Fear area beaches. Lank and Harold shaped their boards from foam blanks they ordered from California. They were in business at 913 Carolina Beach Avenue North until 1967, when they decided that they could not meet the demand for their hand crafted boards and moved on with their respective careers.
Next month: The Kupboard Grocery, Part III