Saturday, March 22, 2008

The General Store Reopens!

In my tiny little town, there is a tiny little general store. I have shopped there before, but reluctantly. I never considered it more than somewhere convenient to buy a gallon of milk and the newspaper on Sunday morning. If the truth were told, it was always a dark little place, maybe not so very clean, and with a limited selection of items for purchase. There was one crowded counter, cluttered with notes on scrap paper, where you could check out your videos, buy your cigarettes and lottery tickets, or pay for that gallon of milk.

Nine months ago, the General Store had a major fire. Although the building was intact, the interior was gutted. For weeks, a large dumpster sat out front, collecting the debris. I was certain the store was damaged beyond repair. Given the socio-economic status of this town, I was sure the General Store was gone forever. Then, the sign out front began to sprout encouraging messages: "We will be back." "Coming soon!"

Well, just look at the General Store now:

Flags and banners announce the return of the General Store
There are even neon signs in the windows.

wide aisles, bright lights, and a whole new supply of stock
Check out that hardwood floor!

The main counter is easily accessible and well-organized.

Lottery tickets and video rentals rate their own check-out area.
There's a pot of fresh coffee awaiting your arrival.

New, and not yet fully functional, is the food area by the front door,
with soups and hot sandwiches, pastries and ice cream.

There's even a cozy little dine-in spot across the aisle.

You know you live in a small town when the return of the general store rates a blog post.

Here's a favorite small-town story that involves the General Store: A local woman and I were both leaving the store a couple of days ago. We commented on how nice it was to see it was reopening, and she told me she had rented a video the night before the fire. She returned it this week, when the store first opened up, saying, "Here's your video, but I'm not paying nine months' worth of late fees!" Only in a small town would someone hold onto a rented video that long, then return it at the first opportunity.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a nice place to have in your little town. I think I even see a fireplace behind the chairs and tables. Good story about the video returned too. As you say 'only in a small town'.

KGMom said...

What a sweet story. When we have gone to huge homogenized soul-less places, a small country store opening is really special. Thanks for reminding us of special places.

Susan Gets Native said...

"I was born in a small town....and I live in a small town...."

Nice store! I will have to go in and buy something the next time I come out to see you.

Julie Zickefoose said...

We had the exact same thing happen to the Dalzell general store. Fire, long closure, rebirth from the ashes. There's now a dining area much beloved by locals, and it serves a vital social function in this isolated area. I share your joy at the reopening!

And may I say it is good to have you back. See how I didn't bug you? Huh?

Lisa said...

I could maybe better comment on the spiffiness of the new interior if I'd seen the old one, but I agree, it looks like a cheery place to stop by. I still think they need a barrel and checker board, though. Get to work on that, will you?