You might find everything from fishing bait to milk at one of these throwback shops, where the locals tend to linger and catch up with others in the community.
Big box stores, large chain grocery stores, and online shopping have pushed out many small general stores, but in Pennsylvania, several have survived. They serve their communities by offering a variety of items from food, to clothing, to hardware, to hunting and fishing gear.
These charming stores tend to cater to the needs of their specific communities so they don’t all carry the same merchandise. But, if you live in a region where fishing is popular, you’ll probably be able to pick up both a gallon of milk and some bait at the local general store.
These eight general stores throughout Pennsylvania are there for customers to quickly get what they need, and get on with their day. But these throwback shops can also serve as meeting places where locals linger and catch up with others in the community.
Hilsher’s General Store, Port Trevorton
For over 45 years, family-owned Hilsher’s General Store has been Port Treverton’s practical one-stop shop. It’s grown over the years and now is a 20,000-square-foot store with a small dining section with made-from-scratch homemade meals. Hilsher’s has groceries, a bakery, a deli, clothing, hardware, home decor, sporting goods, bus tickets, camping gear, and more.
Location: 5254 South Susquehanna Trail, Port Trevorton, Snyder County
Tharptown General Store & Pizzeria, Coal Twp.
Facebook users say that Tharptown General Store & Pizzeria has the “best” pizza in the area. You can eat in, carry out, or have the pizza (plus hot and cold subs) delivered. The store side of the recently-opened (October 2022) family-owned business carries groceries, seasonal necessities like ice melt and snow shovels, holiday items, candy, and more. Although the business is new, the countertops laminated with local newspapers from the 1930s and 1940s give it an old-time vibe.
Location: 335 Center St., Coal Twp., Northumberland County
Old General Store, Mount Pleasant and Donegal
More of a specialty store that carries hidden treasures than a “we’ve got everything” general store, Old General Store has two locations — one in Mount Pleasant and one in Donegal. The store specializes in nostalgic products, selling them in a unique setting that takes customers back to yesteryear. Their products range from Pennsylvania-made items, to nostalgic candy and kitchen gadgets. You’ll also find jewelry, décor, and furniture at both locations.
Location: 300 Bessemer Road, Mount Pleasant or 3822 PA-31, Donegal, Westmoreland County
Cables General Store, Union Dale
Cables General Store is happy to be a place to gather, share information, have delicious food, and enjoy Pennsylvania. The store — which sits next to the D&H Rail Trail head where bikers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the river or sit outside on Adirondack chairs — has been around since 1910. They sell homemade foods, provisions, and take away foods. In the summer, there is live music outdoors at this general store that’s very community-minded.
Location: 948 N. Main Street, Union Dale, Susquehanna County
Wanamakers General Store, Kempton
This old-fashioned, family-owned store that’s been in operation since 1876 is located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Wanamakers General Store carries groceries and fresh produce, deli items, fresh bread and bakery items, bulk items, toys, crafts, fishing supplies, and more. Dedicated to supporting other local businesses and farmers, and sourcing as many products locally as possible, the grab-and-go section of salads and soups are made from many local ingredients.
Location: 8888 King’s Highway, Kempton, Berks County
Miller’s Country Store, Cochranton
Locally owned and operated, Miller’s Country Store is a small local grocery store, deli, and bakery. They have a wide range of products yet keep the small-town feel of a general store. They carry everyday groceries as well as specialty items including herbs and spices, jams, jellies, syrup, molasses, and much more. The deli has meats, cheeses, sandwiches, and take-out deli trays. As one Facebook customer said on their page, Miller’s has “awesome people, great service, and is a friend to the community.”
Location: 19177 State Highway 285, Cochranton, Crawford County
Whitehall General Store, Belleville
When you’ve been around for almost 200 years, you’re doing something right. Whitehall General Store serves its customers with a little bit of everything. They have a bakery and a deli (they’re known for their hoagies). In their aisles, you’ll find groceries, a gluten free section, canning needs, locally made products to give as gifts, and a large selection of books.
Location: 2517 State Route 655, Belleville, Mifflin County
Country Junction, Lehighton
Country Junction dubs itself the “World’s Largest General Store.” Started in 1983, the store began as an insulation installation business. Soon, they added hardware to what they offered, and the business became a home center. Over the years, they added more and more products—lawn and garden, small gifts, home decor, furniture, and more. The store is now a destination with an arcade, a petting zoo, and themed weekends.
Location: 6565 Interchange Rd., Lehighton, Carbon County