by Gabrielle MacLellan Almost every small community had a place where locals could purchase daily necessities, these were called general stores. General stores served great importance in the nineteenth century. The stores would be located at a crossroads or in a village, they served surrounding community and farmers from the nearby countryside. These stores carried a wide variety of products which included groceries, clothing and farm equipment. If there was something you needed for your everyday life, chances are, the general store had it.
The storekeeper was more than just a material supplier he was an important member of society as he was an easy source of gossip and news. Often the merchant where telephone operators and where who people went to for advice. In the evening store keepers often turned into club managers when people gathered to listen to sports events on the radio and play checkers.
General stores were vital to small towns as they provided the daily essentials people needed. In this time cash was very limited so many business transactions were done by trade or barter. Commonly farmers would purchase products with items from their farm such as meat and eggs, while a housewife might bring in something she made on her loom or spindle to get the items she needed. Without general stores people would not have been able to live outside of large cities as it was not easy to make the trip to the nearby city often enough to get the essentials for day to day living.