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The History of The Country Store

Old general stores are found often in rural communities, some may still be in business while others are converted into visitor centers, new businesses, or sadly, torn down.

The origination of the country store, or general store, dates back to the colonial period when they provided pioneers with necessary goods: flour, tobacco, tools, boots, and more.

Many towns throughout the country were even named after their local general store since they often served as a Post Office. The old country stores also served a purpose as a social center for the folks of the community, a political forum, and even an exchange bank.

In rural areas, like Middlesex, it was common to have several of these general stores since residents were often very spread.

Throughout Middlesex County, Virginia, there have been at least 56 old country stores that provided goods and served as communal gathering places, post offices, and sometimes even as town halls.

Though each of them may have resembled each other, with their tin signs, display cases, and long countertops and shelving, these old general stores were all unique.

This month we will take a tour of Middlesex County, and all of our local country stores, so join us as we look back on a somewhat lost tradition of our local history.

If you would like to share any stories, photos, or other memorabilia of one of Middlesex County’s Country Stores with us, we invite you to contact us!

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