It may be slightly off the beaten trail, but Chilli Willies is definitely worth the trip.
Chilli Willies offers a variety of new services and local products, including hot food, meat smoked on site, local wines, and a coffee corner. William Race opened Chilli Willies in the old Bob’s Market on Renan Road last year and has been expanding his products and services.
Race bought the store and house adjacent to it last year due to his experience in merchandizing and being familiar with the area. His experience is evident when walking in and seeing how clean and well organized the store is. “Everything is laid out for convenience and to maximize the space. We have over one thousand different types of products in stock,” says Race.
The store is open seven days a week, and it serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Not only do they have grab-and-go choices, like nachos and pizza, but they also offer food made to order. Race said, “while customers wait, we have installed a large television, and also have games for kids and adults, claw machines, and front porch seating options.”
The store boasts a stocked coffee corner, along with a case of fresh pastries provided locally from Alma’s Treats in Gretna. Chilli Willies also carries old-fashioned hoop cheeses from Hilly City and several local brands of wine. The store keeps a heated display for nachos, and a frozen display with an array of hand dipped Hershey’s ice creams, as well as novelty ice cream.
Being a little further out in the country and away from bigger chain stores, Race noted that they keep a variety of over-the-counter medication in stock and located by the register. “If you have an allergic reaction or a headache and don’t want to drive all the way into town, then you can get Benadryl and Tylenol here.”
The store is still expanding, and Race was pleased to share that he had “just applied to be able to accept EBT pretty soon. With everything going on with the virus and people being out of work, more people may need access to places that accept EBT funds,” he explained.
He is also in the process of installing fountain drinks and expanding the meat smoking portion of the business. “We offer the option to smoke meat for people if they bring it in. We smoked some turkeys around Christmas this last year.”
Race said he was open to organizations contacting him to set up fundraisers like car washes or bake sales, or local farmers and artisans who want to set up a table to sell their wares. Chilli Willies is hoping to fill a need in the area and to be able to give back to the business community by selling local products.
For more local news such as this, pick up a copy of this week's Altavista Journal in stores throughout Altavista, Hurt, southern Campbell and Northern Pittsylvania counties. Or subscribe to the Journal by calling 434.369.6688.