By: Elaine Henson
The Kupboard Grocery, Part III
During the years the Lancasters owned the Kupboard Grocery, the upstairs part of the building had three apartments. They each had a kitchen/sitting room, bath and bedroom with one having two bedrooms.
In the 1960s, their son, Lank Lancaster, and his wife, Genie, lived in the two bedroom apartment and worked shifts at the store as well as Lank’s East Coast Surf Shop a few doors down. During that time, the little house facing Sandpiper Lane, formerly 7th Avenue, was owned by the Autrys from Fayetteville who used it as their summer home. It was and still is connected to the Kupboard building.
By the mid 1970s, Luke and Jessie Lancaster were ready to retire as storekeepers and owners of the Kupboard Grocery. So, they sold it to Herman and Rachel Cannady for $135,000 in March of 1975, with the Lancaster’s financing the sale. The Cannady’s ran it for about seven years before the property went back to the Lancasters. The second buyer was a couple from England, Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Smith, who ran it for less than a year between 1982 and 1983, before the property again went back to the Lancasters. The third time was a charm with a sale to Lloyd and Carolyn Nelms in December of 1983. They updated the building with new flooring, air conditioning and built a shop on the north end of the building. The Nelms owned and operated the store for the next fourteen years while living behind it at 902 Canal Drive.
In 1997, the Nelms sold the Kupboard to Joseph and Violet Guntle who kept it for about six years before selling it to Kamal A. Monsosur in May of 2003. Mr. Monsosur ran the store for a while and has leased it to a few different operators over the last eighteen years to the present. One of those operators was Phillippe Thompson whose mother, Yvonne Thompson, owned and ran The 4 T’s Restaurant on the beach. Over time the building has had a few different paint combinations.
The red paint job is from 2016, the blue paint was 2017-2019.
On May 15, 2016, Eric Bunting opened the North End Café in the building the Nelms added to the north end of the Kupboard. Eric serves up coffee, breakfast sandwiches and lunch, including burgers, from 6:30 am to 1 pm. It has been a very popular stop on the north end ever since.
For a while he has been planning on expanding into the Kupboard building and those plans are coming to fruition around mid March, 2021. He is opening the North End Mini Mart with seating for his breakfast and lunch patrons along with a grocery store for residents and beach goers. It will be good to have the grocery back on this end of the beach. We wish him the best of luck!
On a personal note: The Lancasters lived at 815 Carolina Beach Avenue North until their deaths, Jesse Lancaster in 1991 and Luke in 1992. In 2003, my husband, Skip, and I purchased the house from their heirs to use as a get away and beach rental. We joined Federal Point Historic Preservation Society right away and soon had a historic plaque since the house was over 50 years old. Please call or email FPHPS at 910-458-0502 or email Rebecca@federal-point-history.org, if you are interested in our plaque program.
Just recently, we got a new plaque with a gold border which signifies a house 75 years old or older. Skip and I grew up in Wilmington and were familiar with all our beaches, but have become true Carolina Beach devotees. We love our part time lives on Carolina Beach Avenue North and being a part of our wonderful beach community.