Save This Place: Wall Street Consultant Buys Small N.J. Country Store

Over in Sussex County, New Jersey, a former Brooklyn boy named David Serena is making a move to save the local Layton Country Store, part of the county’s history for more than 100 years. Lore goes, he says, that it was once a dry goods shop, morphing later into an eatery for hunters, fishermen and tourists.

Dave, who owns a Wall Street consulting firm, seems an odd choice to run such a joint. But he’s picking up where old owners left off and handing the reins to his 19-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, who have a new son. The young family will move from Hoboken and take shifts with Mom and Pop working the store and acting as “waiters, waitresses, busboys and anything else that needs to be done,” Dave says.

In return, Dave will rent them a house and the payments will be part of their compensation.

Part of the charm will be mixing old world with new. He plans to tap the many local farms to highlight their products and goods and will prepare foods with fresh fare rather than mixes and pre-cooked ingredients.

He’s also registered a Web site:, (nothing is up yet--stay tuned...) and will be trying to drum up new customers that way and with a blog.

The family is aiming for a September 1, reopen. Dave says this may be “one of the dumbest decisions in my life.” I suspect he’s only half-joking.

But give him your support. Visit the spot when it opens. Spend some money. Lend him advice. Become a vendor. Write to Dave’s blog when it's up and going. Support his decision so he doesn’t feel so dumb.

Here’s the address and a map:
130 County Road 560
Sandyston, NJ 07851

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