When Gray’s Store in Little Compton, R.I. closed its doors after 224 years, America lost a piece of history. But the charm and nostalgia of old-fashion retail centers is not entirely gone. Here are six quaint general stores that are still open for business.
The Brick Store: Bath, N.H.
The Brick Store is one of the stores to claim that it is the oldest in America. It has been in business since the early 1790s, and still boasts some of the old, slanted counters that allowed women in hoop skirts to get a closer look at the merchandise. If you visit, indulge in some of Nancy’s Homemade Fudge or enjoy meats and cheese from the Brick Store’s smokehouse.
The Allenwood General Store: Wall, N.J.
The original Allenwood General Store, which was located about 100 yards down the road from its current location, can be traced back to the 1850s. While the general store in its current form opened in 1972, its building dates back to the 1920s. In true Jersey style, the store mixes knickknacks and antiques with “the world’s best pork roll sandwich” (a superlative that I fully support). The store's back room is now a gourmet chocolate shop, which means you can get truffles and Taylor Ham in one place.
M. Crow & Company: Lostine, Ore.
This family-owned store has been managed by three different generations over 103 years. Formerly known as Lostine Mercantile Co., M. Crow & Company has almost everything you could possibly need, including horse and mule shoes, hand tools, cookware and socks. The color-coded shopping list is definitely worth a look.
The Brewster Store: Brewster, Mass.
This old-fashion store, which is located on Cape Cod, has been meeting the needs of locals and visitors for more than 140 years. The Brewster Store’s building was originally built as a church in 1852 and was converted into a general store in 1866. It is a great place to munch on roasted peanuts or look for that perfect gift. If you visit, make sure to pay the 25 cents to hear a tune on the nickelodeon.
Floyd Country Store: Floyd, Va.
Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this Virginia community meet-up is part general store, part music venue. The Floyd County Store, which is as famous for its merchandise as it is for its Friday Night Jamboree, has been in business since at least 1910. Pick up some local apple butter, eat some ice cream and stop in during the weekend for Friday night dancing, Americana Afternoon on Saturday, or traditional mountain music on Sunday.
The Original Mast General Store: Valle Crucis, N.C.
The Mast General Store now has multiple locations, but the first room of the original was built in 1882. An ad for the store from 1923 says that it sells “goods for the living; coffins and caskets for the dead.” This is a slightly-morbid way of saying that Mast General Store sold (and continues to sell) almost anything you could need. Need a tin watering can or a new sleeping bag? Mast General Store has you covered.