Ohio General Store
General stores are the wave of the future… at least according to this Ted Talks video, and we are happy to be on the cutting edge! Welcome to Ohio General Store!
In 2009, just a few weeks after getting married, Chris and Toby Dorr started a new life in Sedalia, Missouri with the purchase of a distressed historic building at 614 S. Ohio in the heart of downtown. The Dorrs immediately moved into the building, (without heat, electricity or plumbing) and begin working on bringing their building back to life.
A photographic and video documentation of this journey can be visited at Behind2Dorrs.com.
After several years, the Dorrs opened an art gallery in their building. Easel Street closed in 2015 and Ohio General Store was born!
Featuring high quality Conklin® products, Ohio General Store also carries a variety of hand crafted items for the home.
Ohio General Store Visit us today!
History of General Stores in America
Out of necessity, general stores, got their start during the colonial period for the many pioneers who lived outside urban markets. Many owners of these mercantiles began as roving peddlers and once they had accumulated enough capital and inventory, they often established permanent locations in settlements where there was a need and likely profit.
Others however, would specifically move to quickly growing areas or crossroads, knowing that they would be successful. This was particularly true in boom towns, such as mining camps or railroad towns. In many cases, the “peddler” and his “store” would move along to the next booming community if, and when, the boom town and its profits declined.
In many instances, the country store would be the first business in a new settlement, and sometimes, the town would take its name from the store itself. This was not necessarily because the area residents wanted it that way; but, when the number of area residents grew large enough, the post office was generally located in the General Store. And who was the potential postmaster that requested a post office and name? — The proprietor of that very same establishment. Sometimes, the owner was also the town clerk, served as Justice of the Peace, or even an undertaker.
In addition to often being the only provider of “store bought goods” and the post office, the country store served other roles, including the social center of the community, as an “exchange bank”, community message center, and political club and forum for men in the community. Somewhere in the store, on a door or a wall, one might find every type of notice. These might include local events, elections, auctions, and “wanted posters” for outlaws.
While every store was different, there were similarities among many, including a front that was decorated by tin sign advertising, representing tobacco, cigars, soft drinks, hardware, and more. Usually, the the store featured double doors that opened inward, and windows that were filled with notions, jewelry and other women’s items to entice them in. For the men, displays might show tools and boots.
When visitors entered the store, they were met with dim light, long counters, rounded glass show cases, and side walls lined with shelves, drawers, and bins. Other items such as buggy whips, horse harnesses, lanterns, pails, ropes and more hung from the ceiling. Produce, nuts, beans, and nails were stored in bins, usually on the floor or against a wall. Shelves not only contained foot stuffs, but, also fabric and sewing notions, household items, soaps, medicines, spices, crockery and dishes, cartridges and shells, and small farm implements. Generally, there were no side windows, contributing to the dark interior. The post office, if there was one, was tucked into a corner, or the rear of the store.
Sitting on the counter tops, shoppers might find merchandise that included stacks of overalls, denim and khaki pants, candy jars, tobacco, and all manner of other products. Also sitting on the counter, one would usually see the cash register, a coffee mill, scales for weighing grocery items and nails, and a wrapping paper unit with string attachment. Virtually, the counter tops would be filled with merchandise, leaving only enough room for purchases, and wrapping of the items.
Between floor to ceiling shelves that lined the walls, and the multitude of items sitting atop and below the counters, visitors would find a pot-bellied stove surrounded by a couple of chairs, a coal bucket, the ever present spittoon, and yes, a checkerboard sitting atop an empty nail keg. Elsewhere, in the narrow passage way that was the middle of the store, could be found barrels that might contain any number of items — from pickles, to crackers, potatoes, mincemeat, and more candies.