I was recently contemplating Gomer’s Grocery, the general store in the village where I was born. Ten miles from the nearest grocery, we thought of Gomer’s as an oasis in an amenity desert. The ancient building’s wooden walls were lined with basics like snow tires, mild soap and dusty boxes of cornmeal; a torn Farrah Fawcett poster (you know the one) was the single nod to modernity. Gomer could always be counted on for a few pieces of clandestine penny candy: Bit-o-Honey, Double Bubble and lemon drops. I’d often stop back in, long after we’d moved away. Sadly, Gomer’s is no more as of this month: a pity for the town of Petersburg, Iowa.
These days, the general store seems to have gone the way of the dodo, replaced by fluorescent-lit supermarkets an acre wide and precious faux-antique emporiums. In a universe of spandex jeans and kiwi-strawberry-glitter soap, I yearn for the simple, unembellished wares of the traditional general store: beeswax candles, bolts of linen and pots of Carmex. I always said that I’d one day open a shop devoted to classic-cut denim and Ticonderoga pencils; here’s a collection of nostalgic wares for my fantasy brick-and-mortar.
[Clockwise: Classic Revival Pan Light, 1910-1930 from Route 11 Vintage; Set of Eight Antique Knobs from Nicnak's Vintage; Reclaimed Wood Desk Caddy by Peg and Awl; Antique English Brass Candlesticks from Cottage Farm; Vintage Grainsack Pillows by Jillbent; The Homesteader Tote by Beesnetta; Nautical Doormat by Karen's Rope Work; Dark Leather Messenger Bag by Fallow Fleet; Vintage Cast Iron Horse Head from Glass 'n' More; Natural Cotton Sleeping Bag, Adult by Good Intent; Primitive Metal Bell from Vintage Seas; Crochet Rag Rug by Ekra; Farmhouse Twine from Cottage Farm]
I can’t call a home complete without canvas and linen housewares (check out those pillows!), brass accents and a classic rope rug to greet visitors. Spare, clean and comfy.
[Clockwise: Oatmeal and Honey Goat Milk Soap by Long Winter Farm; Whiskey After-Shave Splash by Portland General Store; Clove Exfoliating Soap by Babylon Soap Co.; Botanical Perfume to Bee by Illuminated Perfume; Hunting Camp Soap by Portland General Store; Guy Fawkes Sugar Scrub by Paint Box Soapworks]
When it comes to scent, I prefer a classic musk, the smell of woodsmoke or simple, unscented “soap smell.” Anoint yourself with the sweet aromas of 100 years ago.
[Cl0ckwise: Vintage Copper Teapot with Lions from Callooh Callay; Three Carved Wooden Spoons by tpursell; Set of Two Tapered Beeswax Candles from Sand Stone Coast; Denim Waiter Apron by Patrones Costura; Vintage Solid Brass Tea Kettle from Red Truck Designs; Simple Organic Bowl by Tierra Sky; Farmhouse Dinner Bell from Birdie1; Coffee Scrub Kitchen Soap by Rocky Top Soap Shop; Vintage Brass Fireplace Poker Set from Professor Tiny; Carved Wooden Spoon by Studio Liscious; Linen Dish Towel by Small Batch Production; Deluxe DIY Cheese Kit by Urban Cheesecraft]
I’ve recently invested in a sturdy denim apron. Armed with a carved wooden spoon, an intimidating set of knives and an old fashioned dinner bell, I’m prepared to bake for twenty.
Sweets and Treats
[Clockwise: Honey Sticks - 25 Honey-Filled Straws by Honeyrun Farm; Honey Coconut Bite Size Drops by Vintage Confections; Raw Honey Jars, 1.5 oz. by Parting Sorrow; Black and White Toasted Sesame Lollipops by Vintage Confections]
No trip to the general store would be complete without honey, maple syrup and a lollipop or three.
Alison is Editor in Chief of the Etsy Blog. When she's not trawling Etsy for pottery, folk art, and vintage oddities, she enjoys exploring New York, historical nonfiction and thrifting. She loves a good cat video.