A general merchant store (also known as general merchandise store, general dealer or village shop) is a rural or small town store that carries a general line of merchandise. It carries a broad selection of merchandise, sometimes in a small space, where people from the town and surrounding rural areas come to purchase all their general goods. The store carries routine stock and obtains special orders from warehouses. It differs from a convenience store or corner shop in that it will be the main shop for the community rather than a convenient supplement.
General stores often sell staple food items such as milk and bread, and various household goods such as hardware and electrical supplies. The concept of the general store is very old, and although some still exist, there are far fewer than there once were, due to urbanization, urban sprawl, and the relatively recent phenomenon of big-box stores. The term "general merchandise store" is also used to describe a hybrid of a department store, with a wide selection of goods, and a discount store, with low prices. Examples include J. C. Penney and Sears.
General dealers were established in the 18th and 19th century in many remote populated places where mobility was limited and a single shop was sufficient to service the entire community. Due to its close connection and confinement to its customers, general dealers often adjusted their sales offerings to the specific preferences of their community.
General dealers existed, apart from mainland England and North America, in all colonies and generally in areas where settlers encroached communities that previously did not trade with money. In the colonies trade in local produce had existed long before official shops were opened. The growing need for imported goods, both from European settlers and the indigenous population, led to the establishment of a network of merchants, and subsequently to the creation of a money economy.
While a large number of general stores still exist in Australia, as in other parts of the world their numbers were greatly reduced by the advent of supermarkets.
The oldest continually run general store in Canada is Trousdale's, located in Sydenham, Ontario, which has been operated by the Trousdale family since 1836. Socialbility has always been a feature, as locals come to chat as well as buy. Gray Creek Store in Gray Creek, Kootenay Bay, Canada is the largest and oldest general dealer in the Kootenay Lake region Enniskillen General Store in Clarington, Ontario has been in operation since 1840 and still continues today. Robinson's General Store in Dorset, Ontario, voted "Canada's Best Country Store", has been owned and operated by the same family since 1921.
In the Dominican Republic, a colmado is the country's equivalent to a general store. Colmado literal translation is 'full to the brim' implying its great density of goods in a small space. The colmado is much more than just a general store, for it offers a social gathering point for the residents of the town or neighborhood. The colmado is an important institution in the Dominican Republic serving as an economic, social and political center for every small community. It is common for colmados to have loud Dominican music such as merengue, bachata, or salsa playing. A common pastime for Dominican men is to play dominoes and drink a beer at their local colmado on Sundays. Another particularity of the colmado is that they provide delivery services of their products straight to your house door. Products go from beers, snacks, toilet paper to a flash light or canned food.
In India, a tapri is a regional version of a general store. It stores all home, personal, medical, and hygienic daily used products. Many Kirana shops sell products other from food, such as clothing or household items, stationery, toys, tools, and medicines. Small Kirna stores, which are generally located on the corner of streets and generally known as katta or tapri, sell cigarettes, tobacco, and tea.
Due to its sparse population there are still a number of general dealers in Namibia, for instance the Solitaire General Dealer in Solitaire, an important stopover for tourists through Namibia's Namib-Naukluft Park.
In Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, several general stores ("colmado") have proliferated since the 1970s.
There are still many general dealers in South Africa; the oldest is Oom Samie se Winkel (Afrikaans: Uncle Sammie's Shop) in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Oepverkoop is the oldest general dealer in Paternoster, Western Cape. Goodwood Museum in Cape Town displays the operation of a general dealer shop.
Bodeguita comes from the Spanish language as a diminutive of bodega which means "small store" or "small warehouse". Traditionally, Bodeguita existed selling general merchandise, then they were replaced slowly by the chain store, the same way large US chains have practically eliminated the "mom and pop" store.
Village shops are becoming less common in the densely populated parts of the country, although they remain common in remote rural areas.
Their rarity in England is due to several factors, such as the rise in car ownership, competition from large chain supermarkets, the rising cost of village properties, and the increasing trend of the wealthy to own holiday homes in picturesque villages, consequently these houses which used to be occupied full-time by potential customers are often vacant for long periods.
Of those villages in England who still have shops, these days they are often a combination of services under one roof to increase the likelihood of profit and survival. Extra services may include a post office, private business services such as tearooms, cafes, and bed and breakfast accommodation; or state services such as libraries and General Practitioner (GP) or Dental clinics; and charity partners such as Women's Institute (WI) coffee mornings held on the day most elderly villagers might collect their weekly pensions.
Community shops have become popular in some villages, often jointly owned and run by many villagers as a co-operative. The Village Retail Services Association promotes the role and function of the village shop in the UK. Many modern village shops choose to stock items which draw in customers from neighbouring areas who are seeking locally sourced, organic and specialist produce such as local cuts of meat, local cheeses, wines etc.
Corner shops are usually so-called because they are located on the corner plot or street end of a row of terraced housing, often Victorian or Edwardian factory workers' houses. The doorway into the shop was usually on the corner of the plot to maximise shop floor space within, this also offered two display windows onto two opposing streets. Many have now altered the original shop front layout in favour of a mini-supermarket style. Although it is common that corner shops found in the UK were former grocers' shops, other specialist retailers also occupied such slots and have suffered the same fate of being largely replaced by supermarkets and hypermarkets, such retailers as greengrocers, bakers, butchers and fishmongers.
Many British television and radio series, especially soap operas, feature corner shops or village shops as cornerstones for community gatherings and happenings. Prominent examples are the village shop in Ambridge, the fictional village in the BBC Radio 4 series, The Archers, (1950–present day). Or the ITV1 soap opera Coronation Street (1960–present day) featuring a cornershop; it was owned previously by Alf Roberts the grocer, and after his death in the late 1990s was bought by Dev Alahan, reflecting this common change in British culture. The dying days and changing culture of the traditional British grocer were explored to great effect in the BBC TV comedy series Open All Hours (1976–1985), set in the real suburb of Balby in Doncaster; the shop front used for the street scenes in the series does actually exist in the area and is a hair salon in reality. The BBC Scotland comedy series Still Game has a corner shop as a recurring location where characters can meet and gossip; the actor who plays its owner, Navid Harris (Sanjeev Kohli), plays a similar role as Bangaram in the Radio 4 comedy series Fags, Mags and Bags which is set entirely in Ramesh's shop.
The band Cornershop in part base their image on the perception that many convenience shops are now owned by British Asian people. In terms of British popular culture, these media representations give some idea of the importance attached to local shops in the national psyche and as a mainstay of community life.
General stores, and itinerant peddlers, dominated in rural America until the coming of the automobile after 1910. Farmers and ranchers depended on general stores that had a limited stock and slow turnover; they made enough profit to stay in operation by selling at high prices. Often farmers would barter butter, cheese, eggs, vegetables or other foods which the merchant would resell. Prices were not marked on each item; instead the customer negotiated a price. Men did most of the shopping, since the main criterion was credit rather than quality of goods. Indeed, most customers shopped on credit, paying off the bill when crops, hogs or cattle were later sold; the owner's ability to judge credit worthiness was vital to his success. The store was often a gathering point for local men to chat, pass around the weekly newspaper, and talk politics.
In the South the general store was especially important after the Civil War, as the merchant was one of the few sources of credit available until the cash crops (usually cotton or tobacco) came in. There were few towns and very few cities, so rural general stores and itinerant peddlers were the main sources of supply.
During the first half of the 20th century, general stores were displaced in many areas of the United States by many different types of specialized retailers in trading towns and small cities. But from the 1960s through present, many small specialized retailers have in turn been crushed by the so-called "category killers", which are "big-box" wholesale-type retailers large enough to carry the majority of best-selling goods in a specific category, like sporting goods or office supplies.
However, the convenience inherent in the general store has been revived in the form of the modern convenience store. A few variety stores draw upon the concept of having a broad variety of goods servicing small communities where big-box retailers are absent; Dollar General Stores, in particular, draws its name from both the "dollar store" concept of having items at a fixed price point and the general store.
Through their trading activities these merchant capitalists accelerated the transition from a subsistence to a cash economy.
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Advance Mills, also known as Fray's Mill, is an unincorporated community in Albemarle County, Virginia.
It is a historic mill village dating from 1810. The community was built by the Fray family, who moved there in 1833. A historic district including its area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.The community first became known as "Advance Mills" in 1888, and the traditional story is that the name was coined by John Fray "who claimed that people frequently commented upon all the advances being made there."The National Register-listed area is 85 acres (34 ha) and included 18 contributing buildings and 2 contributing sites and 3 contributing structures. At listing date, the district included a bridge, a dam, a millrace, and four houses.The site of the mill and the site of a general store remain; the mill itself and the supply store were destroyed by fire in the 1940s.Significant contributing properties in the historic district include:
Advance Mills Bridge, crossing Rivanna River
Advance Mills Supply building site, lying below what is now the Advance Mills Store
Advance Mills General Store
J. M. Fray House, the best-preserved house in the district, c. 1810
the Gaines Fray House (II), from 1921, an American Four Square, just south of the store on west side of 743
Gaines Fray House (I)
A. G. Fray mill site
Bank Barn, 1/4 mile west of Rivanna River crossing
Ballard House, c.1900, an "I-house"Armstrong, Thunder Bay District, Ontario
Armstrong is a compact rural community, unincorporated place, and divisional point on the Canadian National Railway transcontinental railway main line in the unorganized portion of Thunder Bay District in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The Whitesand First Nation's Armstrong Settlement is coterminous to this community. The Armstrong area is a popular tourist destination in the summer for fishing and hunting.
The community is not part of an incorporated municipality, but is administered by a local services board.Armstrong is accessible via Highway 527, which extends 235 kilometres (146 mi) north from Highway 11/17 near Thunder Bay. It takes about three hours to get to Armstrong by car from Thunder Bay.
According to the Canada 2016 Census, the community had a population of 193, down from 220 in 2011, a decrease of 12.3%. There are 186 dwellings of which 84 are occupied by usual residents. 
Canadian Forces Station Armstrong, located 1.1 miles (1.8 km) east of Armstrong, was closed in 1974. Later that year the base was sold to private owners and turned into a popular gathering area for the town that included a restaurant and bar, hotel, multiple apartments, garages, and a curling rink. The area, known as D&L, was closed and abandoned in 1993 and remains that way today.
The town of Armstrong currently has two restaurants, a Canada Post post office, a clinic, a Mini Mart gas station and motel, and the Armstrong General store (formally J&J General store 1961-2015).
Armstrong Airport is located 4.5 nautical miles (8.3 km; 5.2 mi) east southeast of Armstrong.
The VIA Rail Canadian train travels through and stops on request in Armstrong.Bilbul, New South Wales
Bilbul is a village in the central part of the Riverina and situated about 6 kilometres north-east of Griffith and 6 kilometres south-west of Yenda. Bilbul was named in honor of William T Bull, an early landowner from the 1880s. The William Bull Brewery is located at Bilbul and named after William Bull, and thus indirectly also after Bilbul. The town had a population at the 2011 census census of 672 people.The head office of De Bortoli Wines, the makers of wine brands such as Noble One, a Botrytis Semillon, is at Bilbul.Bilbul Post Office opened on 6 November 1922.Bilbul Public School was closed down in October 2011 after enrolments fell to an all-time low. After over 80 years of operation, Bilbul lost its general store on March 31st 2017.Bottrel
Bottrel is a hamlet in southern Alberta under the jurisdiction of Rocky View County.Bottrel is located approximately 65 km (40 mi) northwest of Calgary, just off Highway 22. Bottrel features a historic general store with campground.
Edward Botterel was an early settler who arrived in the area c. 1888. The local post office operated from December 1, 1909 to March 31, 1969, and was named after Edward Botterel despite the erroneous spelling at its adoption. The error was never corrected and the current spelling is locally used.Casey's General Stores
Casey's General Stores, Inc., is a chain of pizza restaurants and convenience stores in the Midwestern United States, primarily within the states of Iowa, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska,
Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. The company is headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines.Cheyney, Pennsylvania
Cheyney is an unincorporated community that sits astride Chester and Delaware counties in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It corresponds to the census-designated place known as Cheyney University, which had a population of 988 at the 2010 census. It is the home of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. The university derive their name from George Cheyney's Farm, which became the current campus of Cheyney University in 1902. George Cheyney's Farm and the surrounding area was part of the original land grant given to William Penn in 1681.
Originally, Cheyney was located at the intersection of what is now Creek and Cheyney Roads. The original "Cheyney's Shops" dated from the mid 18th century and were located on the north west and north east corners of the intersection of Creek and Cheyney Roads. The original Cheyney Post Office was located there as well as the general store, hotel, blacksmith shop and wheelsnith's shop. There are old maps that show "Cheyney" to be located at the intersection of Creek (sometimes Tanguy) and Cheyney Roads. All the newer maps show the location of "Cheyney" to be on Station Road.
The Cheyney Family originally owned nearly 10,000 acres.
William Cheyney was the first postmaster in 1835. When the railroad came through Cheyney, the post office was moved to Station Road. The original station was located in a brick structure (now a private residence) that still stands on Station Road just east of Cheyney Road. The current station building is home to the Cheyney Post Office.The last remaining portion of the Cheyney's Shops are on the north east corner of Creek and Cheyney Roads. Cheyney University tore down all the original buildings located on the north west corner in the late 1960s or early 1970s. This group of buildings consisted of a Hotel, General Store/Post Office and Blacksmiths shop as well as a large bank barn. A stone Wheelwrights shop and two other related original buildings are located on the opposite corner and still survive today. These structures were purchased in 1847 from the Cheyney Family by William Maison. The wheel wright shop operated until 1918 when Samuel W. Maison, son of William Maison, died. In 1934 Mary Elizabeth Maison, daughter of William Maison, sold the structures and property.
Cheyney straddles the border between Thornbury Township in Chester County and Thornbury Township in Delaware County. These townships were originally one township, which was bisected when Delaware County split from Chester County in 1789. Both township offices are located along Cheyney Road next to the university.
The John Cheyney Log Tenant House and Farm and Melrose are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Dollar General
Dollar General Corporation is an American chain of variety stores headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. As of July 2018, Dollar General operates 15,000 stores in 45 of the 48 contiguous United States (the exceptions being three states in the northwest: Idaho, Montana, and Washington).The company first began in 1939 as a family-owned business called J.L. Turner and Son in Scottsville, Kentucky by James Luther Turner and Cal Turner. In 1968, the name changed to Dollar General Corporation and the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Fortune 500 recognized Dollar General in 1999 and in 2018 reached #123. Dollar General has grown to become one of the most profitable stores in the rural United States with revenue reaching around $21 billion in 2017.Etna, New Hampshire
Etna, originally named "Mill Village", is a small unincorporated community within the town of Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. It is located in southwestern Grafton County, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Hanover's downtown and 2.5 mi (4.0 km) south of the village of Hanover Center, on Mink Brook. Etna has a separate ZIP code 03750 from the rest of Hanover, as well as its own fire station, church, and library. The population within Etna's ZIP Code area was 870 at the 2010 census.Etna does not have a downtown or sidewalks, but commerce revolves around the Etna General Store and the Etna Post Office. The Appalachian Trail passes a mile or so north of the village before it turns northeast to cross Moose Mountain on its way to Lyme. Etna can be accessed from NH Rt. 120 via Greensboro Road or Great Hollow Road (Etna Road, north of the Lebanon exit (number 18) from Interstate 89), or from Hanover via Trescott Road (E. Wheelock Street).
Etna was the site of the 2001 murders of Dartmouth College professors Half and Susanne Zantop, dubbed the Dartmouth Murders.Harkin's General Store
Harkin's General Store is all that remains of West Newton, in Nicollet County, Minnesota, United States. Alexander Harkin opened the store as combination general store and post office in 1867 in the growing town of West Newton. The town fell into decline after four years of locust in southern Minnesota, and the railroad passed by West Newton. The store finally closed its doors in 1901.Most of the stock was left when the store was closed and abandoned, and remains today as a museum managed by the Nicollet County Historical Society in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society.Huffs Church, Pennsylvania
Huffs Church is a village in western Hereford Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. The West Branch Perkiomen Creek flows southeast through it to join the Perkiomen Creek in the Green Lane Reservoir. It is split between the Alburtis zip code of 18011 and the Barto zip code of 19504. Landhaven Bed & Breakfast is in the center of the village and includes five rooms, an antique general store, and occasional live music.Launching Place, Victoria
Launching Place is a town in Victoria, Australia, 54 km east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the Shire of Yarra Ranges. At the 2011 census, Launching Place had a population of 2,492.Launching Place is located along the Warburton Highway between Woori Yallock and Yarra Junction.
The Post Office opened on 12 July 1865, replaced by Hoddle's Creek in 1869, reopened on 1 September 1880, finally closing in 1994.The township was from 1901 until 1965 served by a railway station on the Warburton line.
Launching Place has many camping grounds where families go camping, hiking and boating in the Yarra River.
It is believed that Launching Place is named after the spot on the Yarra River where the logs (freshly cut down in the valley) were floated down the river to be milled in Melbourne. That is, the logs were "launched" at this place along the Yarra River. This was prior to the construction of the Upper Yarra Reservoir.
The Derelict Aircraft Museum was located in Launching Place. As of 2017, it had been closed and dismantled.A new car park has recently been made, making access to the Warburton Rail Trail and Launching Place General Store easier. It is located behind the Launching Place General Store.Manning Point, New South Wales
Manning Point is a small village located at the mouth of the Manning River in New South Wales, Australia . Lying on Mitchells Island, it lies opposite the town of Harrington. It is 26 kilometres (16 mi) east of Taree on the Mid North Coast. At the 2006 census, Manning Point had a population of 228.It was previously known as Brighton.Besides the holiday rental units, it has a general store, a bowling club, the two caravan parks, a cafe, and a bait shop. The general store is also the news agent, the video rental shop, the Australia Post Office, the bottle shop, the burger and fish and chips grill, and the grocery store.
The type collection of the jewel beetle species Maoraxia auroimpressa was collected at Manning Point.Nangus, New South Wales
Nangus is a village on the Wagga Wagga to Gundagai Road on the north side of the Murrumbidgee River. From Nangus, Junee, Gundagai, Wantabadgery, Oura and Wagga Wagga are accessible. Nangus is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi) due west of Gundagai in the Riverina area of Australia and in Gundagai Council. At the 2011 census, Nangus and the surrounding area had a population of 420. The nearby Nangus Station and Yabtree Station are heritage listed.
Nangus Post Office opened on 1 July 1897.Nangus has a post office, Anglican church, general store, with an off-site liquor licence, public school, public hall, fire station, petrol station, tennis courts, and hockey fields amongst some of its services and attractions.Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
Rabbit Hash is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Boone County, Kentucky, United States, with a population of 315 (2010 census). It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town is notable for its name, its string of canine mayors, and its historic general store (c. 1831) which was destroyed by fire in 2015. A new structure was later built in its place.Rosena, Virginia
Rosena is an unincorporated community in Albemarle County, Virginia. It lies at the intersection of Rt. 20 and Rt. 640, within the Stony Point community. The sole service is a single general store, "Grand Junction," which long did business under the name of "Bobbi's." As of 1904, the United States Geological Survey designated it as a "post village," indicating that at that time there was a post office. And as of 1910, the population was great enough to warrant a stop by the "traveling library stations" of the Virginia State Library.Stony Point, Virginia
Stony Point is an unincorporated community in Albemarle County, Virginia. The region acknowledged as Stony Point includes the historical villages of Proffit and Rosena. The physical core of Stony Point is the Stony Point Volunteer Fire Company, Stony Point Elementary School, and several dozen surrounding homes. A general store is the sole public service. The nearest population centers of any size are Barboursville and Charlottesville, the county seat.
A general store has long operated at the intersection of Stony Point Road (Route 20) and Turkey Sag Road (Route 640), one of the two roads leading east over the Southwest Mountains from Stony Point. "Stony Point Market" is the name of the store currently located there; prior incarnations, in the latter half of the twentieth century, were "Bobby's" and "Bell's Store." The earliest known general store at that location was the one owned and operated by Colonel Nimrod Branham, a member of the House of Delegates, which opened in 1797.Sugartown, Pennsylvania
Sugartown is an unincorporated settlement in central Willistown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States, at the intersection of Sugartown and Boot Roads. It is located 18 miles west of Philadelphia.
The town was named after Eli Shugart, a 19th-century tavern keeper. Sugartown is a typical crossroads village that provides goods and services to the surrounding farm community. It played an important part in the development of Willistown and contains an inn, general store, blacksmith and wheelwright, cabinetmaker, saddler, shoemaker and a doctor.
The Sugartown Historic District is a national historic district that encompasses 14 contributing buildings. It includes the Sign of the Spread Eagle tavern (c. 1790), Sugartown Store (c. 1800) and residence (1860), Willistown Township Building (1909), "Coxefield" (c. 1790), Shoemaker's shop (c. 1790), Sugartown School (1866), the Friends school (1782-1783, 1862), and schoolmaster's house (1785).Tightsqueeze, Virginia
Tightsqueeze is an unincorporated community in the center of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, United States. It is included in the Danville, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The community of Tightsqueeze got its name due to the construction of two buildings close to a road that connected Chatham and Danville during the 19th century. In 1870, W. H. Colbert built his general store close enough to the road that women could go straight from their carriages to the store without getting muddy or dusty.Soon, another merchant, Isaiah Giles, built a blacksmith-wheelwright shop directly across the road from the general store. It, too, was on the road's edge. Due to the closeness of the two buildings, buggies and wagons had to slow down as they passed between the two buildings. Thus, individuals were told to slow down for the "tight squeeze" where the two stores were located.
As related by Virginia journalist Guy Friddell in his book What Is It About Virginia?, at one point, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors changed the name of Tightsqueeze to "Fairview." However, after public protest, the name of Tightsqueeze was restored. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.Two Medicine Store
Two Medicine Store, formerly part of Two Medicine Chalets, is a historic building in Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana. The chalet was originally built in 1914 by the Glacier Park Hotel Company, a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway, as part of the railway's extensive program of visitor services development at Glacier. The chalet group originally featured a complex of log buildings, all built in the rustic style, which provided dining and lodging facilities. Overnight accommodations at the chalet ended with the onset of World War II, and the other buildings at the site were intentionally burned in 1956.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a national radio address from Two Medicine Chalets on August 5, 1934, while on a visit to Glacier.The Two Medicine Store is a National Historic Landmark contributing property, being one of five sites in the Great Northern Railway Buildings National Historic Landmark. While other chalets, Granite Park Chalet and Sperry Chalet, were constructed of stone, the Two Medicine Chalet complex was of log construction.