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

The general store was once the original big box retailer. They were the “one stop shop” for the communities they served. 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 both fun and delicious.  Most of our general stores offer fresh baking (so many butter tarts!), local produce, quick snacks or small meals for those on the run. There may also be local art, unique gifts, antiques and more!  This makes fall the perfect time to wander the backroads of Grey County and thread together a general store tour. 

Granny's General Store, Neustadt

This one is a real classic, complete with the green striped original awning and storefront lined with flowers and apples. During the fall they have the best selection of potted mums, pumpkins and squash.  You can also grab premade sandwiches and a variety of homemade baking inside, in addition to groceries and giftware.

Big Bay General Store

Famous for their legendary homemade ice cream, this one is a must do during the summer & early fall seasons as it closes after Thanksgiving. Located just across Grey Road 1 from the Stone Skipping Capital of Canada, you can find a variety of locally made treats, handmade jewelry, and many other cottage necessities.  Their homemade ice cream is such a hit, they opened an ice cream wagon located in Owen Sound for the summer months in 2020.  It will be open until Thanksgiving.   

Kimberley General Store

In its original location since 1905, this red brick beauty is located on Grey Road 13 in the heart of the Beaver Valley. In the fall they offer homemade salsa with tomatoes from their garden, granola made in the wood-fired oven, and pumpkin pies made from REAL pumpkins. They also have unique gifts made by local artisans and craftspeople.  As if that isn’t enough, right next door is Justin’s Oven*, serving wood-fired pizza, homemade burgers and other delicious meals. 
*Please note that the restaurant is closed for the month of November. 

Holstein General Store

A Plume family tradition true to its general store roots since 1962. Visit to fill up on homemade butter tarts, locally made donuts, Love’s Sweetness maple products, local honey, preserves, locally raised meat and more. Grab a few sweets and head across the street to Jubilee Park where you can walk across the top of the Holstein Dam for a top down view. 

Ravenna Country Market

Perched high atop the Blue Mountains, the Ravenna Country Market has always been famous for their butter tarts, pies and selection of fudge.  They also have an in-house chef who prepares gourmet homemade entrees, soups and sandwiches to fuel you on your journey.  There is always an interesting selection of locally crafted and grown products in the store, ranging from honey, to frozen foods, to wool clothing and children’s toys. The owners are also very knowledgeable on local hiking trails and things to do in the area. 

Allan's Mercantile, Shallow Lake

Located on Highway 6 in the community of Shallow Lake, this little store packs a lot of punch.  It’s a local go-to for delicious snacks, select groceries and the post office. It’s also a quick stop for funky antiques, candles and gifts, or Chapman’s ice cream on the way to the beach.

General Store Historical Facts:

  • General stores began in the nineteenth century and were typically a room located within the merchant’s house.

  • These stores carried pretty much anything that couldn’t 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, and candy displays for children.

  • Sometimes General Stores were called mercantiles, emporiums, village shops or even general dealers.

  • Payment occurred in many ways such as by cash, trading farm produce, or labour.

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