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A Little Store in Town

Dec
22

Sometimes people ask me where I shop. We’re lucky in our little town that we have a store. Our little town is something of a hub for the surrounding rural areas. (Notice me call our town a hub totally seriously.) We have a little store, a post office, a k-8th school, a volunteer fire department, a one-room library, a couple of tiny churches, a bank, and a community building. We have no stoplights, restaurants, or other shopping. Our town is the epitome of the wide spot in the road.


You won’t wear yourself out walking around the store. Inside, there are five aisles where you can buy a little of everything as long as you don’t expect a big selection of anything. And I do mean a little of everything. Need a little ammunition with your eggs? No problem.


In our little store you can buy all the ordinary grocery items like milk and chicken and potato chips, but you can also buy wood-carved porch furniture, buck stoves, and ATVs. You can rent movies and check game. In the spring you can buy bunnies and chicks. (I love going to the little store in the spring!)


Off the back, there is a connected building where they sell all the high-testosterone stuff. Farm equipment and tools, paint, electrical and plumbing parts, automotive supplies, feed and seed, propane and straw. You can get there without going back outside through a secret door inside the main store. I figured that out after I’d lived here about six months. You actually go through an employee stocking area, but in the little store in our little town, they let you do stuff like that. They know where you live.


The little store is also what constitutes our only fast food in town. There is a deli counter in the back where you can get sliced meats and cheeses, but you can also buy short-order items like pizza, tacos and burritos, and hamburgers. They have a couple tables and chairs and often you’ll find groups sitting there, chatting, sometimes drinking coffee. (Yes, there is also a “coffee bar” near the front where you can self-serve coffee.)


I can hardly get out the door to the little store if my kids are home because they love to come with me. The little store sells toys and candy and waffle cones from the deli counter.

Upstairs, they sell antiques and country crafts–if you know where to turn the light on when you go up there. The little store is also the center of town gossip, and everyone knows your name.

It’s a real country store. A general store. Who knew such a thing still existed? Sometimes I hear people say, “Things cost more at the little store. I’d rather drive to Spencer and go to Wal-Mart.” But you don’t hear that often. Most people say–”If we don’t support our little store, we won’t have a little store. Then we’ll have to drive to Spencer for everything.”

And that would be not just inconvenient but sad. Our little store is a piece of vanishing rural America.

When I want a bag of flour, a baby bunny, a waffle cone, some motor oil, corn seeds, and all the latest gossip from the clerk, I want to know where I can get it all in one place. That place is a little store in town where everybody knows my name.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 22, 2007  

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  1. 12-22
    11:49
    am

    Sounds like a SuperWalmart to me! :lol:

  2. 12-22
    12:11
    pm

    I wish we had a little store. I see them when I travel, but ours closed down a long time ago.
    Great post, Suzanne. Have a Merry Christmas!

  3. 12-22
    1:23
    pm

    Better than Walmart :) Have a great holiday!

  4. 12-22
    3:36
    pm

    Your little store sounds lovely and charming and delightful! :)

  5. 12-22
    3:39
    pm

    I lived in a small place that has a real country store until my husbands health issues forced us to move to the ‘big’ city(4100 population). At least there is a hospital.

  6. 12-22
    5:03
    pm

    Suzanne, I love these posts about your house, your cooking and your family history and your littl town. They’re so charming & heartwarming.

  7. 12-22
    7:47
    pm

    Very nice! Just found it. We live in a very rural area and used to have a store much like yours. Then the people who owned it got old and sold it and the new people closed it down within a few years. Treasure what you have.

    Stop over and check my blog out on my website if you get time.

  8. 12-22
    11:11
    pm

    Your posts never fail to touch me in some way. I can remember when almost every town had a general store. I sure do miss ours. The family that owned it passed on and had no heirs so it was closed. Now I travel over 20 miles each way to Wal Mart. It is so time consuming and not cost friendly with gas prices so high. Enjoy your store and think of us when you go there. Have a great week-end and :hug: to all.

  9. 12-23
    1:38
    am

    Could not resist saying how much we LOVE going through small towns like yours and seeing the Hunt Brothers pizza signs on the sides of little out of the way places like your little store! Y…u..m…m…y…! :snoopy: Hope your holidays are fabulous in WV.

  10. 12-23
    6:52
    am

    What a wonderful general store!

    Decades ago, back in Gaspe, I only had to cross Elmer’s field (neighbour) to get to Bruce’s General Store. I don’t remember ammo — laws are a bit different about that in Canada. LOL. But I do remember taking my 25 cent allowance every Friday and buying a bottle of pop (15 cents), a small bag of potato chips (5 cents), and a chocolate bar (also 5 cents). I also remember that they stocked all the Nancy Drew books and that’s where I got my entire set, hardcover. (I still have them, too.) They kept them in the back, with the clothes, boots, and other stuff that a young kid didn’t pay much attention to. (I was fixated on Nancy Drew then.)

    Those were the days….Oh, and as far as I know, Bruce’s General Store is still there, though probably run by one of his kids (or maybe grandkids) by now.

    -Kim

  11. 12-23
    2:55
    pm

    Suzanne, I guess I live in a smaller town than you do. We don’t have any of those things! :eek: We have to travel to the next town over for everything. We do have a Clinic and Dr. who makes house calls! :shimmy:

  12. 12-24
    5:38
    pm

    Don’t take your local businesses for granted. I live near a small town of 780 people, and all our businesses have closed down. Now we have to drive ten miles instead of two.

  13. 12-27
    4:26
    pm

    Suzanne, thanks so much for sharing our little piece of the world. My wife and I quit our jobs seven years ago and moved our family of five to our new hometown of Walton, WV, in search of the American dream. You are right, the local people treated us as if they had known us forever. I would choose to live no place other than in our little town. We hope to be here for years to come, operating our old time general store. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE STORY.

  14. 1-2
    11:35
    am

    I love that store. THey used to carry some really awesome hand-made soaps. I wish they would get some more of those again, especially the rice flour soap. It smelled heavenly!

  15. 1-2
    11:43
    pm

    Your little store sounds like a dream! We live in a very rural area of Oregon. Our little store has bar/store/post office all in one! Our selection isn’t close to yours but I have to say I really do enjoy it! I buy as much as I can, it beats driving 75 miles to walmart!

  16. 1-12
    7:28
    pm

    Great story…great little town. Our little rural town must be just a shade bigger than yours…our is actually listed as a village…population being less than 5,000. But we have lots of Old Order German Baptists (they live just like Amish…Ohio has the largest Amish settlement in the world & is NE of us in Holmes County…we are in SW Ohio). There are a couple of Old Order families that have whole food stores connected to their homes, or in sheds next to their homes, where the coolers are run by generators, since they don’t use electricity for themselves. They sell freshly ground flours of all kinds, fresh herbs and spices, homemade soaps and fig bars…plus you can get all sorts of sugars, Sucanat, teas, beans, nuts, homemade noodles and pastas…ahhhh!!! :hungry: My favorite place to go is the farm where I get my brown eggs and whole milk. :chicken: They also have a generator hooked up to the shed which keeps the refrigerators running that they put the milk and eggs in. We just go into the little shed, get our milk and eggs and put our $$ in a bucket!! I just love it!!

    Blessings from Ohio…

  17. 2-6
    3:21
    pm

    There is a little general store in East Texas like this but with more old things in it to sell. The sell cheese by the slice from large rounds and cut from an old old cutter. It was in a Wald Disney Movie i think in the 70s. Thanks for the story and the pictures. Love them. it is a treat for sure.

    sara

  18. 2-21
    3:57
    am

    Thanks for posting these pics! When visiting my Aunt who lived just below that little store down over the hill on the other side of the road, we used to walk up to the store and get ice cream and look at the antiques. I always got some little toy from there too! I haven’t been in there in probably 20 years. It was good to see these pictures. There used to be another old store or maybe a beauty shop across the street from there. They tore it down, but I have a picture of the back of that old store. Me and Ma.

  19. 2-27
    2:39
    pm

    I lived for two years in a rural town in southwestern Wisconsin. (Now I’m in WV!) The town was exactly two blocks long, two blocks deep on either side of the main street (after that it was countryside and farms.) There were two churches, three bars, a gas station, and a Ford dealership that also sold John Deere tractors.

    The grocery store opened at 4:30am (it’s a dairy farming community.) You parked out back and entered the store through the stockroom, and past the butcher. You could tell him how much ground been you wanted, and he’d grind it for you while you shopped.

    The floors were wood, there may have been five aisles if you count the frozen food. You had a choice of fruit in the winter: apples, bananas, or oranges. The basement held the overalls, barn boots, and the feed corn. There were two cash registers, but when the volunteer fire department whistle blew the checker would likely stop midway through the order, and simply run out the front door to the firetruck garage across the street.

    You could shop in the morning, and they would deliver your groceries at either 12:00 or 4:00. Great when I moved into town, and didn’t have a car. I could shop, and they would just roll my cart into the cooler (and the frozen food to the freezer.) If I forgot something I could call the store and they would add it to my order — I’d just pay the box boy at the door when he brought the groceries into the kitchen. Problem? The store closed at 6:00pm. I had to get used to planning ahead…at first I’d be half way through fixing dinner, and realize I was missing a key ingredient. The next open store was 27 miles away. You learn to improvise.

    What memories!

  20. 2-27
    2:41
    pm

    The butcher ground BEEF not BEEN. Wish I could type.

  21. 3-7
    11:40
    am

    ASK GEORGIA ABOUT BILL HENNSLEY’S STORE ACROSS FROM THE BANK. COUSIN MIKE

  22. 3-7
    3:55
    pm

    Just a little note to let you know that I enjoyed your description of the store. When I grew up in Walton {I graduated from Walton High School in 1984}, the store was referred to as the “Shopping Center”, which I feel was a very appropriate name and was owned by the Raines family. I thought you’d be interested to hear a little more history about the upstairs of the store. In the 70′s & 80′s, text books were not provided to students in Roane County by the Board of Education. So, in the late summer, the upstairs of the store was turned into the “Text Book room”. The owners would get the list of text books from the school and the number of students who would need them. The books would be ordered and paid for and sold to the area students for little or no profit. The proprietors considered it just another way to help the community. Earlier still, when the old “graded” and high school combination school burnt, the upstairs of the store was where classes were held until the new schools could be built. The family that owned the store at that time were the Moffatt’s. Ahh… the Moffatt family… now there’s Walton history for you. Most every public building or facilty in town is built on property given by and with at least part of the money donated by the George & Gertie Moffatt. Ask one of the “old-timers” in town about George and Gertie… {but make sure you have an afternoon to sit and visit for a while.}

    The “store” in Walton has always been, is still, and will forever be the center of all that is Walton, WV.

  23. 4-22
    6:55
    pm

    I love nostalgia and little stores like that…I remember going to several around here (Louisiana) and also in HICO TEXAS – it has like ONE stoplight in town…I am one of those people that hates change…such a creature of habit…or maybe it is just that I need to have a sense of roots, being an Air Force brat and never being in the same place for long.

  24. 5-11
    2:00
    am

    I had a little store like this in AK where I lived. Loved it.
    Meant a lot to me then, and now… but things change. Glad you have such a place. Glad folks will skip Walmart once in a while to support it, too.

  25. 8-10
    3:11
    pm

    S:

    Had one of those stores where we lived some time ago in Fulton, MD. It was called Boarman’s Meat Market. It’s gone now. In Oro Valley, AZ, where we live now, we’re being subjected to a “Super” Walmart,horrors! I’ve seen simplicity and complexity in my 70 years. You are fortunate to have a good life which you lead now, it’s also nice to read that you appreciate it. Keep writing and baking.

    Best,

    jb

  26. 3-28
    1:19
    pm

    :D Love it! Small town living at it’s best! Our little town is only a square mile big… but we do manage to have a bank, mexican restaurant, a tea shop, flower shop and several beauty shops. I love small town life! :wave:

    Suzanne @
    http://www.sugarloafcottage.blogspot.com

  27. 8-6
    6:39
    pm

    It sounds like Mayberry, we live in the country and commute into larger towns for work. Waiting for the day we can be full time farmers! I dread Walmart and live in Arkansas. It has hurt so many small towns.

  28. 10-1
    11:19
    am

    I was at the store once when I visited the quilt shop upstairs. I understand it has since closed. I met the owner several times and she was such a joy to talk to. I even ran into her at the mall at Christmas time. That’s when she told me she had closed the quilt shop. It was quite the charming little shop. I love small towns!

  29. 1-12
    4:38
    pm

    Love those kind of little stores.

  30. 1-12
    10:14
    pm

    I’m a fairly new reader, and just saw this post tonight. I was particularly excited to see the first photo above advertising Hunt Brothers Pizza. The family who owns this company is from nearby Nashville, TN, and am friends with some of the family. Immediately sent this to her, where she shared it with the rest of the family! Thanks for so many laughs, farming tips and recipes. And tonight, thanks for the unexpected reminder that it really is a small world!

  31. 1-18
    10:45
    am

    What a wonderful place to have close to you! Talk about having an assortment of items…geez…and I love that it has the deli and coffee bar. We have a store that is similar here in our little town but it doesn’t sell amo or farm stuff…we can get that across the street at the hardware store. BUT ..it does have a tiny Mennonite bakery and coffee bar :) Don’t you just love tiny country towns.

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