Many of you have no personal recollection of old fashion general stores like those that dotted the landscape of days gone by. Places where whole communities went for the staples of life and to exchange news, rumors, and generally get their social fix.
When I conceived this blog I wanted it to be a sort of virtual general store where people could come and go, sit for a spell, and exchange news and views. That’s why I chose the name Chapman’s General Store. I want writers to stop by, take a seat, and occasionally spit on the warm pot-bellied stove and watch the steam rise into the ether. That’s also why I don’t have any real sponsors, I don’t want anyone to get their business reputation scalded by any steam that may occur.
I’m writing this because of a sad news story I came across this week. The oldest, continuously operating, general store in America just closed its doors. Adamsville, Rhode Island’s Gray’s Store, after 224 years and seven generations of family operation, is closing its doors. Gray’s is not the last, just the oldest. But, the last can’t be too far away.
Just yesterday I was chatting with a friend in Eastern Kentucky and it was mentioned that in that remote area the Walmart in a neighboring county now filled the role of the country general store. Area residents now drive to Walmart on Saturday and spend a good part of the day meeting with friends and neighbors and swapping stories and getting caught up on local happenings.
Somehow I can’t picture Walmart ever installing a glowing pot-bellied stove back in the sporting goods or hardware sections of their stores. Just ain’t the same!