American General Store
The general store was a basic part of the economy of the early community. As emigrants flocked to the New World, the store provided a source of goods to isolated settlements.
The general store was much more than that - it provided a market for local farm surplus which was used to barter for items sold in the store. It was also a source of long-term credit with most accounts only being paid once a year when the harvest was over (click images to enlarge).
The general store was the centre of the town’s social life and was a feature of American life for over two centuries. The variety of merchandise was tremendous: dry goods, grocery, general hardware.
Bacon, eggs, chickens, tallow, flaxseed, dried apples and buckwheat flour are just a sample of items taken in trade. Items for sale included ploughs, coffee, molasses, shoe strings, maple sugar, tobacco, tinware, axes and cradle scythes.
The dry goods counter of the general store would have been heaped with yard goods, shirting, ticking, ribbons, buttons, thread, pins, needles and tape.
In addition to hardware, dry goods and food there were numerous miscellaneous items in stock: books, stationery, postcards, pens, pencils, candles, mirrors, scissors, gunpowder, lanterns and splint baskets which hung on the walls or from the ceiling.
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