The South’s Most Charming General Stores
It's hard to walk into a general store and not smile. It's practically impossible to walk out of any of these 17 shops and not feel like you’ve been catapulted back to your childhood—root beer float, included.
Sunrise Grocery in Blairsville, Georgia
North Georgia wouldn't be the same without this general store in the Choestoe Valley that opened in the early 1920s. Owned by the Clemmons family since 1983, Jason and Jesica Clemmons have gone out of their way to add warm touches throughout the store, like Jason's framed pictures (he's a photographer) and Jesica's handmade soaps and candles. Jason's mother even pitches in with all the knitting for the shop. In addition to the famous boiled peanuts and fresh produce, stock up on locally ground grits from Logan Turnpike Mill and plenty of snacks and camping sundries if you're headed to nearby Vogel State Park.
For more information, visit sunrisegrocery.com.
Fred's General Mercantile in Beech Mountain, North Carolina
What do you get when you take a man who worked summers at the Land of Oz Theme Park and winters at Beech Mountain Ski Resort? If you're Fred Pfohl, a dream to combine the best of both worlds. Pfohl opened Fred’s in 1979 with the motto: “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” Having served four terms as town mayor, Pfohl now serves as unofficial mayor from his post at this larger-than-life shop in a town of 300 residents. Fun fact: Fred and his wife Margie once lived on top of the store, and raised their children in the exact area that now sells housewares and souvenirs.
For more information, visit fredsgeneral.com.
Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, North Carolina
Graciously serving guests since 1883, the original Mast General Store still pedals unique goods and traditional clothing—and it even maintains the original community post office in a small nook. You'll also note that a vintage "Esso" sign hangs overhead, even though its been ages since they've sold gas. But on the coffee front, not much has changed: You can still buy a cup for five cents, on the honor system.
For more information, visit mastgeneralstore.com/valle-crucis.
Paint Bank General Store in Paint Bank, Virginia
Welcome to the 24131, where this general store has become a beloved roadside detour thanks to its working indoor swinging bridge. Between glimpses of wildlife displays or an intense game of cornhole, you can also sit down for a meal at the The Swinging Bridge Restaurant. Properly fueled on cheesy grits and blue plate specials, head back upstairs to peruse aisles of Christmas ornaments, vintage signs, clothing, and more.
For more information visit paintbankgeneralstore.com.
Ramsey's Country Store in Lexington, Kentucky
Next to Ramsey's Diner, this general store is brimming with locally crafted finds like Singing Hills Goat Farm Soaps (shaped into horses, of course), Rebecca Ruth's wildly addictive Bourbon Balls, and Lighthouse Candles. Passionate home chefs will also be thrilled by their selection of hard-to-find kitchen utensils and cast-iron items. If your little one wanders off, you'll likely find them by the old-fashioned candy and soda selections.
For more information, visit ramseysdiners.com/ramseys-country-store.
Roaring Pines in Richmond, Virginia
In the historic Church Hill neighborhood, marvel at the assortment of American-made home goods like brooms, banners. and mason jars. Or, simply unwind after a long day at the soda fountain with an egg cream or root beer. Roaring Pines also offers modern day elixirs like kombucha, blueberry, basil, and lime soda, and cranberry and rosemary soda on tap. For caffeine enthusiasts, swap the soda fountain menu for the coffee blackboard and enjoy a pour-over, cold brew, or espresso.
For more information, visit roaringpines.com.
Oark General Store in Oark, Arkansas
Oark General Store has a special way of making visitors feel like family in their rural shop and full-service restaurant surrounded by forest, rivers, and the scenic Ozark Highlands Trail. Between bites of The Angry Hornet burger (grilled jalapeños, bell pepper, and Pepperjack cheese served over a fresh patty smothered in Chipotle mayo), enjoy people watching motorcyclists, locals, and tourists who have caught wind of the quirky roadside attraction. Low on gas? Fill up your tank out front before you hit the road.
For more information, visit oarkgeneralstore.com.
Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Virginia
A rollicking Friday night jamboree makes Floyd Country Store a special spot in a town of only 432 people. The tradition draws visitors from near and far to two step the night away to bluegrass every Friday at 6:30 p.m.—that is, as long as you adhere to “Granny’s Rules” of no smoking, no drinking, and no bad language. Beyond a taste of Appalachian music and watching flatfoot dancing and clogging, you can also swing by the store for everything from suspenders to music from regional artists.
For more information, visit floydcountrystore.com.
Boyce General Store in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Catfish Fridays with Bluegrass performers? Sign us up. At Boyce, you'll also want to indulge in Brie Golliher's (the "Pie Queen of Bowling Green") nest pies or cinnamon rolls. Situated in the same spot since 1869, Boyce broke a record in the summer of 2017 when hosting over 600 people for the Peach Party and Pickin' on the Patio event. We have no doubt that record will be shattered once news of their spectacular Pimento Cheese Pie spreads across state lines.
For more information, visit burgerandpies.com.
Rabbit Hash General Store in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
Greeting visitors since 1831, the store was completely submerged by flooding in 1937, and in 2016, suffered a devastating fire. Completely rebuilt to resemble the original store, Rabbit Hash reopened in April 2017. Beyond the standard lineup of goodies, the store sells Bybee Pottery, antiques, quilts, and handmade brooms from Kentucky's Berea College.
For more information, visit rabbithash.com.
Dick’s 5 & 10 in Branson, Missouri
When you're cruising up and down Main Street in Branson, be sure to carve out an hour or two for the cornucopia of treasures at Dick's. While larger chains have shuttered many five-and-dimes, Dick’s has been a landmark in town since it opened in 1961. Stocking housewares, linens, dry goods, and everything under the sun, legend holds it that when a bagpiper came to town and his kilt came undone, Dick's pulled out a kilt pin from their bounty. Don't check out without an assortment of sodas—they have more than 100 varieties on hand, including pickle soda among the rarer finds.
For more information, visit dicks5and10.com.
Edge General Store in Edge, Texas
Come for a Blue Bell ice cream malt, stay for the live music (every Thursday and Saturday nights). Built in 1907, you can score a diverse array of items at this down-home emporium, from rompers and lint rollers to jarred goods and paper flowers. If all that shopping works up an appetite, the grill serves up weekly specials like catfish and shrimp on Wednesdays and chicken fried steak on Fridays.
For more information, visit edgegeneralstore.com.
Rockford General Store in Dobson, North Carolina
A Surry County delicacy (it's said to be the only place you can get it), sonker is a cobbler-like dessert with an entire Surry Sonker Trail devoted to it. Rockford, one of the eight stops on the sugar-fueled crawl, is best known for their sweet potato and blackberry sonkers; order both. Opened in 1890, the shop is currently owned by Carolyn and Paul Carter, who also dole out RC Colas, Moon Pies, fried bologna sandwiches, and more to hungry customers. Our advice: Stop at hubby's Yadkin River Adventures across the street and complete a canoe or kayak trip first—then you'll feel like you really earned every sonkin' bite.
For more information, visit rockfordgeneralstore.com.
Bradley’s Country Store in Tallahassee, Florida
Oak trees and Spanish moss may call to mind dramatic wedding venues or Southern strolls, but they're also the backdrop for this quaint Tallahassee general store. Established in 1927, Bradley’s has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984 and is currently under the care of the fourth generation of the Bradley family. But time hasn't erased tradition: The store's celebrated country sausage, hogshead cheese, and liver pudding, still remain popular to this day. Place your Christmas orders early!
For more information, visit bradleyscountrystore.com.
Mast General Store in Columbia, South Carolina
This Mast General Store stands in a building first built in the 1870s, and it's easy to feel the old-timey charm throughout. Peruse aisles of quality goods—cast iron skillets, 500 old-fashioned candies, handmade rocking chairs—in a space that, among other identities, was once an undertaker's parlor and bar. Next door, you'll find the nonprofit Nickelodeon Theatre, where you can cap off your shopping spree with an indie film and beer, wine, and popcorn.
For more information, visit mastgeneralstore.com/columbia.
Callaway Gardens’ Country Store in Pine Mountain, Georgia
Start with the candy (fudge alert!) before loading up on grits and country ham. At Callaway, there's also a large variety of jams, jellies, and other products made with native Muscadine grapes It also houses a large wine room (double up on Muscadine wine and Georgia varietals, of course). Or, head to the store's Country Kitchen, which has sweeping ridgetop views, washed down wonderfully with sweet tea served in mason jars.
For more information, visit callawaygardens.com/retail-stores.
Crane's Country Store in Williamsburg, Missouri
Operating since 1899, balance one of their famed bologna sandwiches in one hand and a pair of cowboy boots, jeans, or snacks in the other. A casual gathering spot for locals, Crane’s regularly hosts storytelling meetings lovingly dubbed “Liar’s Clubs.” Visitors can also enjoy a trip to the adjacent Crane’s Museum, a home for antique memorabilia, and stop by Marlene’s Restaurant for homemade biscuits and gravy or a “Williamsburger.”
For more information, visit cranesmuseum.org.