The General Store was usually a two-story frame building, and fronted by a raised porch for convenient loading and unloading. They were historically a “one-stop” destination for rural or small-town residents shopping for the farm, home and business.
Storeowners stocked their shelves with the items customers needed the most and custom-ordered specialty merchandise.
Credit was extended to all who needed it, and payments were often made in trade (a chicken for a sack of flour, and so on).
The General Store acted as the centre of the community for many years. In addition to the usual assortment of dry goods, the store also served as the local post office, gas station and gathering place for local news and information.
During warm weather, the porch became the social center as men gathered on a provided bench, chairs, or the steps, to talk weather, politics, the price of crops, and more. The upper floor often served as the proprietor’s personal residence.