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A General Store at A Crossroads in Warren, CT

Rural Intelligence Road Trips“Doesn’t every small country town deserve to have a general store?” says Maureen Jones, who is hosting an open house this weekend at the Warren General Store, which she and her husband, Clifford, opened two months ago. Jones credits her landlord, the legendary retailer Joe Cicio (who once ran the West Coast specialty retailer I. Magnin) for encouraging her to set up shop. “He’s my retail guru,” she says. “And so is my next door neighbor, Richard Lambertson, who runs Privet House and has a new line coming out at Tiffany.”

Situated near a crossroads that’s on the way to and from several picturesque towns and villages—Bantam, Cornwall, Kent, New Preston, Washington Depot—the Warren General Store is trying to be all things to all people. “I really wanted to be green and organic, but that’s not so easy to do,” explains Jones, who owns and operates the Rooster Tail Inn across the street. “We have three types of peanut butter—Skippy, all-natural and organic. Guess which is selling best?”  She is paying attention to how people shop to figure out what to stock and reports, regretfully, that regular milk outsells organic. She makes it clear that most customers are not so eager to buy EcoSense dishwashing liquid or Earth Friendly toilet paper either.

Rural Intelligence Road TripsNevertheless, the ease of being able to pick up some batteries, birthday candles or a roast chicken on the way home from work in a nice environment has created a loyal following.  “People really appreciate the convenience of being able to buy butter, milk and ice cream without having to go to the supermarket,” she says. And for now, there’s no choice of ice cream: the store sells only local SoCo Creamery pints that are hand packed in Great Barrington. This weekend, Jones wants to show off what her kitchen staff can do—including buttermilk blueberry pancakes, pizza, quesadillas, and lobster salad—so there will be tastings all day Saturday and Sunday.  “Running a general store is very rewarding,” she says. “People come in all the time and thank us for opening. It makes us want to try even harder.”

Warren General Store
265 Cornwall Road (Route 45), Warren, CT; 860.868.3337
Monday - Friday 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 03/24/10 at 05:00 PM • Permalink