The general store, as old as America itself, harkens back to a simpler time and a more innocent and rural nation. The general store conjures a country-like place where kids come in to by penny candy, and adults to buy everything from swaths of fabric, to fresh vegetables, to four-penny nails. The general store was the vital and inviting heart of a community, where everyone not only knew your name, but how you took that coffee, how many kids you had, and how’s your dad doing, anyway? And in tough times, it was a place that often treated customers like family, extending credit when no one else would. The general store was real-life Norman Rockwell—deeply woven into America’s cultural identity, an integral part of the nation’s self-portrait from its earliest days. Fact is, the general store is still very much here, and very much in business. What’s more, like the diner, it has seen a resurgence. In some places, it is even being reimagined for a new era.
Ted Reinstein has been a reporter for “Chronicle,” WCVB-TV/Boston’s award-winning—and America’s longest-running, locally-produced—nightly news magazine since 1997. In addition, he is a regular contributor for the station’s political roundtable show and writes a weekly opinion column. He lives just west of Boston with his wife and two daughters. He is the author of Globe Pequot’s New England Notebook and Wicked Pissed: New England's Most Famous Feuds.
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