Tags:
  1. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    5,681

    All purpose stores

    Discussion in 'Research' started by J.T. Woody, Jul 22, 2020.

    What are those all purpose stores called back in the 1800s and 1900s small towns where you could buy stamps, milk, eggs, and fabric all in one place as well as send mail and telegrams?

    Example would be the store that the towns people of Avonlea in Anne of Green Gables (Anne with an E Netflix series), go to for everything as well as the Coal Valley's only store (When Calls The Heart), AND I was reading this western about a mail order bride (dont judge me lol), where the woman orders a stove from a newspaper clipping and the "store" sends out the order and the "store" is the place that received the order.

    Like its slipping my mind and i KNOW what they are, but cant think of the name for it. its killing me!:confuzled::confuzled:
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    3,691
    Likes Received:
    4,378
    Location:
    The White Rose county, UK
    General store.
     
  3. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    3,691
    Likes Received:
    4,378
    Location:
    The White Rose county, UK
    Assuming you mean this kind of shop:
     
    Cdn Writer likes this.
  4. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,712
    Likes Received:
    4,561
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    yeah, general stores
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
    Cave Troll, Cdn Writer and J.T. Woody like this.
  5. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    5,681
    [​IMG]

    .......well then....




    i feel like an idiot.......
     
  6. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    5,681
    i must have missed it o_O
     
    Cdn Writer likes this.
  7. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2019
    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    615
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, North America
    Currently (before covid-19) these were called Dollar Stores, Thift Stores, but general stores is correct. A bit later on, I *think* in the 1910s to the 1960s (?) I remember reading about the "Five and Dime Store" (referring to nickels and dimes) but this was back when candy bars were like $.05 cents and soda pop was maybe $.10 cents. Around 1950s? There was a job called a "soda jerk" and this was an individual that would "pull" a glass of soda pop for an individual from a foundation. Think "on tap" (draft?) beer at bars - I don't drink alcohol but I've seen plenty of Jon Taffer's "Bar Rescue" show especially with our stupid lock-down. Sigh.
     
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,837
    Likes Received:
    20,805
    Location:
    El Tembloroso Caribe
    Depending on the lean of items in stock, in the U.S. it could also be a dry goods store. A dry goods store would have been more about clothing, household sundries and non-perishable food items. A general store would certainly also carry dry goods, so I can only assume there was a wide margin of overlap.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  9. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    5,681
    ***REVIVING***

    I'm working on this story again (i think), and I have an additional question about old-timey General stores:
    How often did they restock?

    I'm thinking about the ones that are well off the beaten path. the ones in rural areas, up in the mountains, or in this case, on a tropical island where the local general store owner would have to take a freight to the mainland.

    the setting is fantasy, so I have no distinct time period.... but its definitely not a modern general store that restocks like every week.
     
  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    6,135
    Likes Received:
    7,469
    Location:
    edge of the spacetime continuum
    I don't know if they'd have a general store on a tropical island. Maybe more like a trading post? Or I guess you mean a tropical island that's been colonized and has all the amenities of a mainland town?

    As for restocking in remote areas, I think it would be pretty hit and miss, might be weeks or months at times for certain supplies. But I;m really guessing, some people would know a lot better than me.
     
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  11. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Comparativist Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Messages:
    947
    Likes Received:
    1,005
    Location:
    USA
    The answer is probably "however often you want/need it to", but I got to (over-)thinking this: could be as infrequently as once or twice a year, but then is there really enough demand to keep a store in business? Maybe it's just a side gig--someone has a farm or something that pays the bills, runs a "store" out of the back of their house and doesn't have any employees, so no overhead. In that case, assuming the inventory is non-perishable there's no real reason to restock all that often. So I guess it depends on what the broader economy is like in your setting...but again, I'm sure I'm overthinking it.
     
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  12. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    468
    In the U.S. we still have Dollar Stores (which I believe is actually the name of a chain), and we have thrift stores. Neither is at all like a general store. Dollar stores sell "stuff", but nothing that costs more than a dollar. It's all junk, as you can imagine. The old-fashioned general store sold quality products, because the people they served needed products that were good enough to do the job and sturdy enough to last a generation or three.

    Thrift stores are second-hand stores, such as Goodwill Stores and Salvation Army stores. They sell used articles that people have donated. Again, nothing like the general store.

    I grew up in the 1950s, and we still had "five and dime" stores. But, even by the 1950s, inflation had crept in. The sign over the door of the store in the small town where we did our shopping read "Hart's 5, 10, and 25 Cent Store." They carried a lot of things in the general merchandise category, from candles to sewing notions to crayons and pencils to notebooks, pads, and such. They also sold model kits -- this was decades before the advent of Kids-R-Us -- but not the snap-together plastic models kits that later turned up in the chain department stores such as Woolworths, S.S. Kresge (which became K-Mart), and W.T. Grant's. The five and dime sold wood models, that we had to carefully fit and glue together, then sand, then treat with sanding sealer to allow the wood (typically balsa wood) to be painted without sucking all the paint into the pores of the wood). But they didn't sell anything food related. Everything they sold was non-perishable.
     
  13. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    468
    When they could. During the westward expansion of the United States, the advancement of settlements far preceded the advancement of railroads. Everything came to those towns by wagon, and pretty much all the goods were (as I understand it) funneled through Saint Louis. (There's a reason why that arch in Saint Louis is named the "Gateway Arch" -- St. Louie was the gateway to the west.

    Smaller items, such as buttons and sewing notions, were sold by traveling salesmen known as "drummers." They generally had regular routes and they called on their general store customers as frequently as it took them to make a circuit, get back to home base and restock, and then hit the road again. Larger items, such as hammers, saws, shovels, plows, kegs of nails, etc., had to be ordered from "back east" and shipped to the stores. The restocking lag time was undoubtedly measured in months, so I imagine that the owners of the general stores had a tough time knowing what to order, and when to order it. There was no such thing as Six Sigma, and "just in time" inventory management.
     
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  14. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    3,691
    Likes Received:
    4,378
    Location:
    The White Rose county, UK
    In modern times, before the opening of St Helena airport, the RMS St. Helena visited the island twice a year, carrying cargo, passengers and mail.
     
    J.T. Woody and Robert Musil like this.
  15. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    5,681
    Colonized.
    There is a "trading post" of a sort between that island and the mainland that the general store owner would go to to replenish his store.
    This is how my MC gets off the island: times her "escape" in time with the general store owner going to the trade post.
     
    Xoic likes this.
  16. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    468
    Sounds "iffy."

    That must be one helluva big trading post if a general store can replenish its stock from it. And what about mark-up? Why would a trading post -- which is usually a retail outlet -- sell to a general store owner at anything like a wholesale price? Or are things at your general store just marked up twice, so they are much more expensive than full retail price in other places?
     
  17. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,712
    Likes Received:
    4,561
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Plenty of their products cost more than a dollar, and it's not actually all junk.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  18. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    5,681
    :D

    The "trading post" is actually a part of another island. A wealthier island (where my MC secures passage to the mainland). The part where the grocery store owner (and my MC) would go to is where the merchants go and the locals have their markets. Spices, fish, fabrics, etc. Also a lot of illegal happenings, too. (To the wealthier part of the island, that market is the slums, the locals are seen as filth, and to the wealthy, who have no idea who provides their silks and fancy foods, merchants are nothing more than glorified pirates.)

    I actually have no idea how general stores work to be honest, but i figure a colonized island community must have ties to the mainland in order to get mainland stuff that they cant get through farming livestock. And the need to restock works well with my plot.
    Would it really make a significant plot hole if i didnt go into detail about the economics of the land?:superthink:
     
  19. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    3,691
    Likes Received:
    4,378
    Location:
    The White Rose county, UK
    I have one word for you - yarrr.
     
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  20. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    468
    Ahh. So the traders' market, or the bazaar. That's entirely different from a trading post.

    Setting? Is this contemporary/modern, a hundred or more years in the past, or in the future? Disregard. You answered this question.

    One remote island community I can think of today is the Falkland Islands, in the south Atlantic. It's actually a British territory or protectorate, but it's located not far off the coast of South America and is claimed by Argentina. In fact, back in 1982 Argentina invaded the Falklands and took control for a brief period. However, the Argies underestimated the British and Margaret Thatcher. The Brits launched an expedition to retake the islands, there was a brief but rather nasty little war, and the Argies were booted out.

    They have Internet, I believe. You might be able to make a contact with whatever passes for a chamber of commerce or bureau of tourism in Stanley (the capital) and ask them what they do about resupply of staples and hard goods that they can't produce or grow locally. (Which is pretty much everything other than sheep and goats.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  21. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    5,681
    This is very helpful, thank you!
    Its kind of the situation with my island. Its in the territory of the mainland, but off the coast of another kingdom.
    Im liking the similarities, and i'll look into how they do things :bigsmile:
     
  22. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    468
    According to a friend in Greece, there are a number of small-ish Greek islands that are located closer to Turkey than to Greece. You might be able to find some useful parallels from researching those, as well.

    There's also Easter Island, which is part of Chile but located somewhere in the middle of the ocean. I think there is regular air service to Easter Island from Chile, so that's probably a major avenue of supply. Because of the enmity between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falklands ("las Malvinas," as the Argies prefer to call them), I don't know what the situation is with respect to regular air service to the Falklands.
     
  23. Nesrin

    Nesrin Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2021
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Europe
    Currently Reading::
    A discovery of Witches/Lord of the Rings
    An important thing to keep in mind is that depending on the economic and political status of the time period, certain things may not be restocked or will be sold at a much higher price. It also depends on where the store is located and what they can obtain from local producers. For example, if you consider grain stores, shop owners would make sure to buy excess amounts to last during the winter just because of harvest times. For natural produce things light drought, fire, and storms all affect the quantity and consistency of orders.

    The locality was really important when it came to these mercantile stores as you would not really see them in largely populated, settings. They are mostly in remote-ish locations. Thus resulting in such a versatile selection of goods.
     
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  24. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,690
    Likes Received:
    19,798
    Location:
    Scotland
    This link might provide a LOT of information and ways to go, with your story. :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_store
     
    J.T. Woody likes this.
  25. Surtsey

    Surtsey Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2019
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    24
    Something of a sidebar: I had to research this for my latest WIP. One of my female characters refers to masturbation as, "A bit of Piggly Wiggly." This is because prior to 1916 towns had a "General Store" where the customer would hand a list of the required provisions to clerk who would fetch the items for the customer. In 1916 the Piggly Wiggly corporation pioneered the concept of "Self-Service" and is credited with the invention the supermarket.

    Isn't it good to get things out in the open.
     
    Mullanphy and jannert like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice