Pulling into the parking lot at Miller’s Country Store I watch as the front door swings open. An elderly lady gently places her feet down with each step as she walks across the wet pavement carrying a platter of caramel rolls. Accompanying her with the rest of her supplies, Lane Riffey, the store owner, walks patiently beside her, listening intently as she spills all of last week’s events to him.
The joy and happiness between the two floats through the air catching me off guard, I almost forget why I came to the store in the first place. As I step out of my car, the smell of freshly baked bread drifts through the crisp evening air. Making eye contact with Lane Riffey, a warm “Welcome! I’ll be with you in just a minute” comes at me. I reply with a smile and walk through the glass doors only to receive yet another greeting from Marci Riffey, wife of Lane Riffey. My very first time walking through these doors and I question why I never hear anyone talk about this place. A place full of quality items and friendly people making everyone feel wanted.
The type of store always tempting to return to, a welcoming place of friends, quality, and great prices. As my eyes wander down every aisle and my mind replays the scene of arriving here, I realize Miller’s Country Store will see me as a continuous customer.
Interrupting my thoughts, Lane Riffey peeks his head around the shelf “Sorry about the inconvenience! Need anything special today?” he inquires. Laughing, I reply “No thanks, I’m just looking.” The little bell rings at the front counter and Lane rushes off to help the young customer wanting a sandwich.
My attention focused back on the large assortment of items lining the walls, shelves, and floor, I ponder over the reasons for purchasing each item that catches my eye. Each item, full of value and reason, makes it nearly impossible to replace back on the shelf. Examining the food, baskets, chairs, tables, books, etc., I notice caring and gentle hands manufactured every item, each one made from the heart knowing their consumers deserve the very best.
Running out of time, knowing that the store closes at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, I start scurrying around the store trying to decide whether I want to fulfill my stomach needs or my dream of owning a little coffee press to take camping with me. 5:15 p.m. rolls up and I hear a sorrowful tone as Marci Lane announces that 15 minutes remain until the store closes. About 10 minutes pass and I finally decide to satisfy my stomach needs. Reaching the counter, I put in a quick, simple order of a ham-and-swiss sandwich using their phenomenal sourdough bread. 5:30 p.m. strikes as my sandwich is set peacefully on the counter awaiting my acceptance. Not meaning to stay past closing time, I ask Lane Riffey only one question about how the store came to be. However, half an hour later I find myself sitting down at a table across from Lane and Marci Riffey firing question after question. During this surprise interview, the history of Miller’s Country Store puts everything into place and creates a lightbulb in my head explaining why they do certain things and where it all came from.
“Made with love,” Miller’s Country Store logo, connects every aspect in the store. Customer service, the production of every product, and the strong family bonds stay wrapped up in the logo.
Lane and Marci Riffey run the store today with the same values Rod and Nanette, the previous owners, treasured. They believed in quality food, strong family bonds, and showing love to everyone. The business, Sanpoint Movers and handyman, bought by Rod and Nanette, slowly converted into Miller’s Country Store. The basis of their store started with a small sandwich shop and bakery which still runs the same today, but with many additions. While building the small business they intertwined their Christian values with their amazing customer service. As the business progressed, the bonds between the customers and workers strengthened. The more sandwiches made, the more orders taken, and the more names received while taking orders made it possible for connections to show and real, genuine friendships to form.
However, after years of improving the company, forming many friendships, making people feel welcomed in this world, being a person to talk to in times of need, and making a “home away from home,” tragedy struck. The nice and caring couple received bad news, Rod Miller was diagnosed with cancer and passed away shortly after. Nanette Miller ran the company for two years afterward while Lane Riffey acted as a manager until the right time came and Lane bought the business from Nanette. Now filled with home decor, supplies, as well as food, Miller’s Country Store draws the attention of all ages. After an hour of conversation with Lane and Marci I now realize all the factors that play in creating this loving and unique store. Thanking them for the interview, I walk to my car with a full stomach knowing this little store in Sandpoint is a place I will come to often.
Loving and welcoming, Miller’s Country Store awaits every customer wanting some quality food or a good conversation. This quaint, little store found on 1326 Baldy Mountain Rd, Sandpoint, ID 83864 hosts an assortment of items waiting for purchase with friendly workers ready to listen if someone needs a person to talk to. For more information, call Lane and Marci Riffey at 208-263-9446.
Dana Wuollet is a student from Priest River Lamanna High School and wrote the profile on Miller’s Country Store for an English 101 class.