Long before we had big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart, general stores served as the cornerstone of many communities. The local general store was the place you could find odds and ends for the house, groceries, hardware and, usually, all the latest gossip. Today, many small general stores have struggled to keep up with larger chains, but fortunately a number still remain in Virginia. Mostly located in smaller towns or rural areas, they remind us of a simpler time and offer a place to gather, talk, visit and support our local communities.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Paint Bank General Store, Paint Bank
Set in the quaint, small town of Paint Bank, the Paint Bank General Store is everything a old-fashioned country store should be. Wooden floors and tin ceilings from the past welcome you to today's freshest selections of their own farm-raised buffalo, as well as grocery items, gifts and decor - not to mention a year-round Christmas Shop. Be sure to stop by The Swinging Bridge Restaurant, located in the store, for a home cooked meal while you're there! The Paint Bank General Store,
Rt. 1 Box 64, Paint Bank, Virginia 24131.
2. The Floyd Country Store, Floyd
For more than 100 years, The Floyd Country Store has been dishing up old-timey goodness - from the barrels of old-fashioned candy that greet you at the door to the shelves stocked with everything from old-time wooden toys to apple butter and bib overalls. Stop by the cafe and ice cream counter for locally supplied tasty treats and whatever you do, don't miss the weekly Friday Night Jamboree with local heritage music and dancing, the Americana music on Saturdays and Sunday's traditional mountain music jams. Visit
The Floyd Country Store
to see upcoming shows and get directions.
3. The General Store at Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta
(Note: as of September 16, 2020, this shop is permanently closed). This modern-day general store operates on the old-fashioned principle of community. With a focus on quality and fair prices, The General Store at Smith Mountain Lake features a large selection of Made In Virginia goods, personalized gifts, toys, books by local authors and so much more. Be sure to visit their large quilting shop downstairs for patterns, fabrics and quilting supplies. The General Store at Smith Mountain Lake, 213 Scruggs Road, Moneta, VA 24121.
4. The Bluemont General Store, Bluemont
When Bluemont Gernal Store opened in the 1840s in the small town of Snickersville (later named Bluemont after the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding it), it was known as "Rice Bros." Built to serve the local population, as well as stagecoach passengers and later, train travelers, who stopped in the town on their way from Washington, D.C. to the Shenandoah River, the store provided goods, sundries and hospitality. After being purchased, refurbished and renamed "The Bluemont General Store" in 2006, the store continues to provide local eggs and milk, poultry, homemade food, an eclectic array of gifts, and a place to just sit, relax, read the news or catch up on the town gossip. Bluemont General Store, 33715 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont, Virginia 20135.
5. Red Hill General Store, Hillsville
Another modern-day reinvention of the old-fashioned general store, Red Hill General Store first opened as an online retailer. Designed to provide online access to trusted goods, just like the ones found in community general stores of long ago, Red Hill opened their first retail store in Hillsville in 2009, followed by another store in Raleigh, NC in 2011. Today, Red Hill's Hillsville store offers housewares, lawn and garden supplies, outdoor supplies and hardware, children's goods and pet supplies. In addition to Saturday markets, seasonal events, music events and more, Red Hill, according to their website, "actively support[s] front porch sitting." It doesn't get much better than that. Red Hill General Store, 1035 Sylvatus Hwy., Hillsville , VA 24343.
6. Philomont General Store, Philomont
Since 1913, the Philomont General Store has served as the heart of the Philomont community. Despite several name changes and a few updates, Philomont General Store continues to provide "a little bit of everything." With a broad selection of both local and international wines, gourmet food, fresh-made sandwiches and local crafts, this shop is a must-see in Western Loudoun County. Philomont General Store
36550 Jeb Stuart Road, Philomont, VA 20131.
7. Spencer's Drug Store, Blackstone
Family owned and operated for more than 40 years, Spencer's Drug Store focuses on friendly service and top-quality care. Featuring a full-service pharmacy, gift shop and general household goods and supplies on their well-stocked shelves, Spencer's is more than a drug store, it's a community institution and recreates the feeling of small town general stores from days gone by. Spencer's Drug Store, 100 N. Main Street, Blackstone, VA 23824.
8. The General Store, Alta Vista
Located in Alta Vista near the historic town of Lynchburg, The General Store takes service to the next level with a motto that says, "If we don't have it, we will try to get it for you." Stop in for home decor, kitchen goods, gifts, toys, canned and dry goods, John Deere and Boy Scout knives and fresh, local Homestead Creamery ice cream and milk. If they don't have what you're looking for, I'll be surprised! The General Store,
9. Fox Creek General Store, Troutdale
Set in the beautiful Southwest Virginia mountains of Grayson County, the Fox Creek General Store is truly a one-stop shop in keeping with general stores of yesterday. With fuel, groceries, hardware, feed and farm supplies, hunting and fishing licenses and supplies and a full service deli, there's very little you CAN'T get at Fox Creek. With local foods and nightly dinner specials, Fox Creek is the perfect place to stop after a hike, or just for a visit. Fox Creek General Store, 7116 Troutdale Hwy, Troutdale, VA 24378.
10. Westwood Pharmacy, Richmond
Much more than a drug store, the Westwood Pharmacy is a Richmond institution. Long known for their tasty lunch counter, friendly service and eclectic assortment of household goods, gifts and home decor, Westwood is a go-to for many Richmonders. In addition to a full-service pharmacy and gift shop featuring stationery, accessories and home goods, Westwood provides an old-fashioned lunch counter and dining room, a market and deli and candy counter. Westwood Pharmacy, 5823 Patterson Avenue, Richmond, VA 23226.
11. Burke's Garden General Store, Bluefield
Nicknamed "God's Thumbprint" for its breathtaking beauty, Burke's Garden in Tazewell is not only the highest valley in Virginia, but also Virginia's largest rural historic district. Part of that history is the Burke's Garden General Store. In 2013, the store was re-opened by a local Amish family and today, you can get delicious fresh baked goods, meats, cheeses and breads, as well as bulk foods and other goods.
Burke's Garden General Store, 6156 Burke's Garden Road, Tazewell, VA 24651.
12. Locke Store, Millwood
Founded in 1836, Locke Store has only had 7 proprietors in nearly 180 years of continuous operation. This "modern country" store, as they refer to themselves, is a throwback to days when the local general store was a gathering place. Featuring fresh, house-made goods, local crafts, fresh pies and fine wines, Locke Store carries on its long tradition of quality, local goods and hometown service. Locke Store, 2049 Millwood Rd, Millwood, VA 22646.
13. The Williamsburg General Store, Williamsburg
The Williamsburg General Store may have more touristy items than you would expect in a small town Main Street kind of shop, but then again, Williamsburg is known for its tourists. With that being said, this store has a little bit of everything for everyone just like any old-timey general store. Featuring souvenirs, local foods, gifts, clothing, accessories and home goods and decor, The Williamsburg General Store also houses the area’s only Häagen-Dazs® ice cream shop and offers live fife and drum performances most evenings. The Williamsburg General Store, 1656 Richmond Rd,
14. Union Hall General Store, Union Hall
When shop owner, Becky Miller, opened Union Hall General Store in 2013, she wanted to create a place where locals could find "almost anything," from groceries to hunting and fishing licenses to hardware and home goods. Today, the store provides that place with Southern States lawn and garden supplies, work and hunting gear, home goods, foods and more. Union Hall General Store, 12126 Old Franklin Turnpike, Union Hall, VA 24176.
Many Virginians probably remember growing up with a local general store or lunch counter shop in their neighborhood – and it’s nice to see that these place still exist! Do you have a general store in your town or city that we might have left off the list? Let us know in the comments below!