General Store

Before Walmart, or the neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart, there existed a warm and inviting community hub that your life literally depended on. The general store was once the original big box retailer; only it came complete with gossip and a place to tie up your horse. In Grey County, the general store culture is still thriving today. They have reinvented themselves to be everything a modern retailer cannot be, which makes them so much fun, and delicious. 

General store facts:

Old Kimberley General Store
Kimberley General Store, built by Frank Weber, early 1900s
  • General stores began in the nineteenth century and were typically a room located in the merchant’s house.
  • Stores were ran by the women as they were the ones at home carrying out household duties; so serving the community was added to their daily workload.
  • These stores were your one stop shop and carried pretty much anything that could not be produced on the farm. Typical items found were “luxuries” for most farm families, including cheeses and cured meats, horse harnesses, kerosene for lanterns, fabric for making clothing, chewing tobacco, as well as candy displays for children.
  • Payment occurred in many ways such as by cash, trading farm produce, or labour.

Fall is the perfect time to wander the backroads of Grey County and thread together a general store tour. 

Fall back road image

Kimberley General Store – Kimberley

In the original location since 1905, and famous for strong coffee and hugs.

Holstein General Store – Holstein

A Plume family tradition true to its general store roots since 1962. Famous for baking and ice cream.

Big Bay General Store – Big Bay

Famous for legendary home-made ice cream and stone skipping.

Allan’s Mercantile – Shallow Lake

A quick pull off for antiques, a post outlet and ice cream on the way to the beach.

Ravenna Country Market – Ravenna

Perched high atop the Blue Mountains, a must-stop for sammys, soups and pies.

Granny's General Store – Neustadt

A real classic, complete with an original awning and storefront lined with flowers and apples.

It’s time to grab your Grey County map and plan your fall general store tour. Whether the sun is shining or it’s a raining outside, visiting general stores is the perfect way to spend a fall day. Make sure you bring your largest cloth bag with you and an empty stomach; because when the day is done they will both be filled.

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