General Store keeps locals well-stocked during quarantine

From puzzles to Paso Salt, contact-free curbside pick-up and online store serve customers during Shelter at Home

–Serving locals and visitors alike from its location on the downtown square, the General Store will celebrate its 7th birthday next month. And if you ask them what they want for their birthday, the three owners will tell you what they are hoping for every time the UPS driver wheels up with a delivery: Puzzles.

“We have never, and I mean not even in the nuttiest of holiday shopping, seen so much enthusiasm for a single category,” says co-owner Joeli Yaguda, who started the business with her two partners, Erin Stuck and Jillian Waters, when the former A&R furniture building was sold and remodeled. “We love everything about puzzles…they are old school, offline, social or super introverted if you prefer that. You can do them with a glass of wine or with your grandkids. They are nerdy in the best way. And people have found them to be a welcome distraction during quarantine.”

The store, usually open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., has been closed for over a month, but they’ve been fulfilling local orders via their website, and then offering curbside pick up from noon to 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday. With most meals cooked at home, people have sought General Store’s locally blended spices and olive oils. And with kids out of school and wanting distraction, the store’s selection of children’s books, coloring pens and journals have also been popular. But hands down, the puzzles get people the most excited.

“We knew that puzzling was potentially helpful with memory, and has even been used to help people relax before sleep. But research also shows that the simple challenge of a puzzle, the distraction of finding the pieces, and the satisfaction of completing it, is a wonderful stress reducer. And people could really, really use that right now.” The New York Times recently reported that some puzzle manufacturers are fielding thousands of orders a day, making sourcing them a challenge. “We had customers telling us they kept seeing prices on Amazon go higher and higher. Thankfully we work with several companies, and they’re keeping the deliveries coming,” explained co-owner Stuck.

The store plans to reopen as soon as it’s safe, and credits the incredible enthusiasm, generosity and support from the community with keeping their spirits up during hard times. “We have been overwhelmed in the best possible way,” says co-owner Waters.

To order, visit generalstorepr.com.