They greet the regulars -- the fella who comes in every night and gets a bottle of wine cooler and a bag of peanuts, the tobacco farmer who had to take a full-time job with the federal government and the woman named Judy with the British accent who lives just down the road.

At Moore's Country Store in the rural Prince George's County community of Croom, there are few real strangers. The Moores, Harry, 80; his son, Robert, 53, and grandson, Harry, 22 -- seem to know just about everybody.

This is not to say, of course, that Croom hasn't changed since Harry Moore opened his general store 55 years ago on winding, tree-shaded Croom Road. The number of big-time farmers in this eastern section of the county has dwindled. And many new families, attracted by the area's rolling hills, lush greenery, and country atmosphere, have moved in.

''I'm in the middle,'' said Robert Moore about the growing popularity of the area. ''It's good for business, but I own a house down here.''

The first Moore's Country Store opened in 1932 with a $250 inventory in a small building next door.

''I was from Clinton on the other side of the county,'' said Harry Moore. ''I married a girl from this area, and I moved down here and I've liked it ever since''

Nine years later, in 1941, Moore moved the business into its current structure, a former church hall belonging to nearby St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

There are still stacks of Bibles in one of the small upstairs rooms, along with tickets for a 1936 church supper, admission 35 cents.

Back then, the store was a center for farming supplies and groceries. These days, Robert Moore describes the business as ''sort of like a glorified 7-eleven, except not as pretty.''

That' not quite an accurate description. Moore's Country Store is distinctive.

The exterior of the frame, faintly church-shaped building is painted blue and green. A hand-lettered sign over the door says ''Coldest Beer in Town -- Come On In.'' Another hand-made sign is attached to a pole where the parking lot meets the road; ''Come Back Soon,'' it says.

Inside are faded green walls and wood floors. There are Jumbo Hot Sausages and spicy beef snacks by the side of the cash register, and loose potatoes and onions in boxes on the floor.

Several community notices are posted next to the door, including one that says ''Rabbits for sale. Young flyers. Will dress out.''

On one wall is a big zoning map showing the proposed nearby development of Everfield Estates, which Robert Moore and many other Croom residents oppose because of the proposed housing densities.

''This place is like a convenience store, but old-time, a local gathering place,'' said Randal Bradford, a U.S. Postal Service employe who had stopped by on a recent afternoon after picking up his two children and a neighbor's child from school.

''During the fall when people are butchering, there's fresh meat and sausage,'' said Bradford, a Moore's customer for about 18 years.

''On Fridays, there's fish from the Patuxent. There's apples from the trees....''

Judy Cottrell was also one of the dozens of people in and out of Moore's that recent afternoon, picking up after-school treats for ''the little horrors playing at my house this afternoon,'' including her 6-year old twin sons, George and Richard.

A native of Somerset, England, Cottrell said she likes the Croom area ''because it reminds me of home. It's a lovely village.''

She likes Moore's, she said, because ''where else could I go to the store looking like this, old shoes and no makeup? And when I run a little short they give me credit 'til next time.''

Although it's true that strangers are rare at Moore's Country Store, there have been a few notable exceptions, the owners point out.

A couple of years of years ago, Harry Moore the elder was straightening the packaged cake stand when he was suddenly nudged, hard, from behind.

''I thought it was a local messing around,'' Moore said. ''I said, 'Man, don't bother me. I'm trying to work.' ''

It was a holdup. The man emptied the cash register and disappeared.

Several other break-ins have led the Moores to batten down the vulnerable upper windows of the building and to change the entrance so that they'll have a better view of who's coming in from the parking lot.

But the series of deep grooves in the ceiling behind the cash register are no stranger's handiwork. They're the result of Robert Moore practicing his golf.

''It's a terrible thing for a storekeeper to have a hobby,'' he said.