It’s always been my dream to open a general store. I think it might have something to do with growing up in a quaint mountain town of 5,000 and knowing the mailman and his dog, the people who bagged groceries in the two grocery stores, the elderly couple who ran the single-screen movie theater and sold dill pickles in a massive glass jar for $1 (Dominic and Kitty, The ISIS hasn’t been the same since your last showing of Cinema Paradiso! Come back! Please!). Northern Exposure was my favorite TV show growing up and I coveted that kind of quirky small-town familiarity.
My store would have a mix of big-city and little-town sensibilities, kind of like my future children after I relocate them from New York to Telluride. We’d sell crumbly coffeecake made by a local baker/artist/4th grade teacher for dunking in bottomless cups of organic Italian coffee. The coolers would be stocked with 6-packs of microbrew root beer, Ciao Bella gelato and crisp bottles of Sancerre. The coffee mugs and chairs would be mismatched and locals could put their breakfast on their tab and pay it off at the end of the month. My boyfriend says this is poor business sense; I say he’s too cynical and to get out of my imaginary store.
I stumbled upon Jimtown while on a recent bike trip through Alexander Valley and Sonoma. Situated on a desolate stretch of Highway 128, it’s pretty much perfect. They sell everything from gourmet spreads to regional wines to mini boxes of Red Hots for 25 cents.
But back to my store. My future kids will come by after school and do their homework over oatmeal cookies and warm vanilla-scented milk. When they’re done, they’ll discuss current events with the local eccentrics (they’re painfully adorable and brilliant beyond their years, naturally) or draw me a picture to hang on the refrigerator. I’ll be locking up the shop around 6 when some poor soul will knock frantically on the glass window, desperate for a ¼ lb. of foie gras mousse. This being an emergency situation, I’ll unlock the door and let him grab what he needs, taking his $20 and writing the goods on a napkin for the next day’s accounting.
A girl can dream, can’t she?