Icons: The vanishing general store

monterey.jpg It was nice this week to get a few suggestions from the News Cut faithful for small town cafes that are still operating in Minnesota. That came after a short blurb on 5×8 about the cafes that are closing in our region, thanks to — mostly — big chains and the tough economic times.

There’s another “disappearing America” item, however, that reached the World Headquarters of News Cut today. The nation’s oldest general store is closing.

It’s located in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. The Monterey General Store, in a town of ex-hippies and New York hipsters and refugees, will close next month after 225 years. It is, err, was one of those places where you could stop in, pick up a bagel and some coffee, the local paper, a few supplies, oh, and a jam session.

All of which gives me more ideas for a News Cut road trip series. Point me in the direction of a similar locale in Minnesota.

  • vjacobsen

    There’s a small general store like that up in Lutsen. Or is it a gas station? Hmm. Maybe I need to take the family up there so I can go check out which it is.

  • On Twitter, I seconded a motion for Len’s Family Foods in Stillwater. It also made me think of my adopted local grocery in Maplewood, Richard’s Market at Frost Ave and English St… like Len’s, it’s open 365 days a year and has a surprisingly good meat counter.

  • Andrew

    The Oak Center General Store in Oak Center sells organic vegetables and many more things than I could take in as I walked to the stairs leading to their music venue. http://www.oakcentergeneralstore.com

  • Bob Moffitt

    Bob, I would suggest Emily’s General Store at 218 Scenic Drive, Knife River, MN.

    I have never stopped in, but I always wanted to.

  • Josh D.

    Joyne’s Ben Franklin in Grand Marais is far and away one of my favorite stores anywhere. No jam sessions, but more stuff jammed into a space than you could ever think would fit. A great combination of necessities and high quality clothes and shoes. Also, closed on Sundays & holidays despite all the tourists like me that would be shopping there on their way out of town. I like that. I worked retail for a long, long time, and always hated working weekends and holidays, all weekends and holidays.

  • barb

    If you are in the area don’t miss the Finland Co-Op in Finland on Hwy 1.If they don’t have it you probably don’t need it.While you are there stop at Our Place where Larry will show his moose horns.Hwy 1 to Isabella is a great drive. Tom and Liz will fill you in on the local lore at the Stoney River Cafe. While you are there stop at the Knotted Pine 7mi up the road. where a good time is had by all.