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Kayla Simmons, left, looks on as Connie Warrick dresses a hotdog Friday at CornerStone Market. The business hosted a Customer Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In the first three hours 300 free hotdogs were served.

On Friday, the CornerStone Market and Subway on 501 W. Atlantic St. was hopping with customers.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., employees were handing out free hotdogs, chips, drinks, and free samples of the store’s soft-serve vanilla ice cream.

Most visitors knew about the Customer Appreciation Day, but others were pleasantly surprised. Adrian Adkins, of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, was in Emporia and just happened to find the CornerStone Market. Adkins ended up with a free lunch.

“I just came up here to get gas for low prices,” he said. “I have an app on my phone that lets me know where the lowest prices are. It said it was $2.11 here. I got here, and it was $2.15. They gave me the Corner Reward Card, and it was $2.11. I was not expecting all of this.”

The Corner Reward Card was a big draw for visitors and locals. Kayla Simmons was handing out the cards as she served hotdogs to hungry customers.

She said customers with the card can purchase gas at a price that is equal to, or better than other gas stations in the area. They also earn rewards points on donuts, pizza, coffee, and ice cream.

One certainly could not beat the price of a hotdog for 4 hours, and David Watkins was busy cooking on the gas grill. By the time Customer Appreciation day was 3 hours old, Watkins was pulling hotdog No. 300 off the grill rack. Watkins kept up with the demand, but he certainly did not have much time to take a break.

Sara Wise-Chatman went through the line, grabbed a “dog” and chips, and went on to sample the other treats that were being served. For Wise-Chatman it was a nice to see a local business showing appreciation to customers. It was also her way to show her support for a local business

“I love it,” she said. “It lets the people in this community know they appreciate them for buying here and not going to other cities and towns. That’s why I shop local. I earn my money here, and I spend my money here in this community.”

Friday was not only a day to get a free meal at the CornerStone Market, it was a time for customers to win door prizes and meet with the staff of the business.

“We just wanted to do something to let our customers know we appreciate them and their business,” Teresa Simmons of CornerStone Market said.

The customers showed that same appreciation right back to the CornerStone Market staff.