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Shopping, from your car

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By Jay Cason

In his native Ohio, Doug Garland was accustomed to stopping at drive-through convenience stores on those occasions when he needed to pick up beer, liquor or other snacks. However, when he moved to the Bluegrass about two years ago, he found he needed to change his ways, as such stores didn't seem to exist.

"It's very common where I'm from," Garland said. "When I came down here, I kept looking for one, but people didn't even know what they are.

"Unless somebody has been through one, they have no idea what it is."

"They're just not used to the idea," added Garland's wife, Sue-Ann.

By now, though, at least some local folks know a little about drive-through stores, as two weeks ago Doug and Sue-Ann, along with their son Casey, opened Doug's Drive Thru at 101 Hilltop Drive, a site that formerly housed an auto repair shop and was already equipped with drive-through capability.

"I've got an entrepreneurial spirit and I thought I'd give it a go," Garland explained. "We are three equal partners. Sue-Ann and I supplied the money and Casey supplies most of the hours."

Garland said people are familiar with liquor stores that serve people through drive-up windows, but he believes his setup has big advantages over drive-ups.

"People can drive through our store and we serve them," he said. "They can see our inventory as opposed to looking through a drive-up window. We hand their purchases to them. You can drive up in the morning with pajamas on. It's so convenient; you don't even have to get out of the car.

"Our drive-through is large enough so that customers can even come through here pulling a trailer or boat."

Doug's Drive Thru isn't simply a beer and liquor store. Garland emphasizes that it is a convenience store.

"We carry anything that a convenience store would carry, pop, cigarettes, lotto tickets, chips, bread, milk, candy and coffee," he said. "We'll also do special orders. One fellow said he liked his bourbon cold so we keep it on ice for when he comes through.

"I'm selling the same things at the same or lower price. Nothing is more expensive and I'm offering increased service."

Doug's Drive Thru is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. until midnight and on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

"We can sell everything except alcohol on Sunday," Garland said. "We're still working out our (permanent) Sunday hours.

"We're having our grand opening on Friday."