THREE OAKS — The Cooper’s Corner General Store & Deli is continuing a tradition at the intersection of Three Oaks and Warren Woods roads – with improvements.
Owner Neal Cooper said he bought the building at 15300 Three Oaks Road (across the street from the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce office) that had long been home to the Riverside Corner Store through his NSC Realty business in January of 2018. The Corner Store business was a separate entity which Cooper bought in October 2018.
He quickly discovered how much of a following the enterprise had built up over the years.
“Everyone knew it, everyone had fond memories of the place,” Cooper said.
He’s been making improvements ever since, which has included replacing the roof, new floors, painting the exterior and installing new windows.
The view out those new windows can be enjoyed while sitting at the wooden table that Cooper made. The main counter area will be redone to match that table.
“I just want people to be able to sit here and eat a slice of pizza or a sandwich,” he said.
One aspect of the business that didn’t need improving was the staff, led by Manager Alice Rice (along with Vicky Devine and Jill Schutze). Cooper said Rice has been at the store for 11 years.
“She’s here every morning to open this place up ... rain or snow,” he said. “Everyone loves coming in. She’s the person you see first thing when you get your coffee.”
Alice said she loves working with the customers.
“It’s fun. It’s different every day,” she said, noting that Dennis Bellaire (her first boss at the Riverside Corner Store) taught her how to make the sandwiches offered at Cooper’s Corner.
Rice said specialities at Cooper’s Corner include The Dagwood (roast beef, ham, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, sub sauce and mayo on a sub bun). There are also offerings like hot ham and cheese, Reubens and turkey. She added that extra-special offerings such as homemade sloppy joes and meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy also are available from time to time.
Cooper and Rice noted the store is known for breakfast specialties such as biscuits and gravy, breakfast sandwiches, croissants, muffins and different varieties of coffee.
Cooper said new sandwiches and other menu items are planned for the future, although most of the old favorites will stick around.
“There are so many people who over the years have always loved the sandwiches here,” he said. “We like to serve good food for good prices.”
Cooper said the new pizza recipe has been well-received, with more and more people calling in for pizzas to go. Slices also are available at $3 for one or two for $5.
“We’re starting to make more and more pizzas. I used to own a pizzeria (Hot Tops) years ago in Pittsburgh, and I brought the sauce recipe and everything,” Cooper said.
Cooper’s main business for the past eight years, NSC Realty, involves real estate investment in the Harbor Country area – from New Buffalo to the Bridgman/Baroda area and everywhere in between.
Cooper said he spends half his time in Northbrook, Ill., where his daughter goes to school, and the other half in Harbor Country.
Cooper said he sees Cooper’s Corner as more of a general store that a quick mart.
Cooper’s Corner General Store & Deli is open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 269-756-FOOD.