A general merchant store is a rural or small town store that carries a general line of merchandise. It carries a broad selection of merchandise, sometimes in a small space, where people from the town and surrounding rural areas come to purchase all their general goods; the store obtains special orders from warehouses. It differs from a convenience store or corner shop in that it will be the main shop for the community rather than a convenient supplement. General stores sell staple food items such as milk and bread, various household goods such as hardware and electrical supplies; the concept of the general store is old, although some still exist, there are far fewer than there once were, due to urbanization, urban sprawl, the recent phenomenon of big-box stores. The term "general merchandise store" is used to describe a hybrid of a department store, with a wide selection of goods, a discount store, with low prices. Examples include Sears. General dealers were established in the 18th and 19th century in many remote populated places where mobility was limited and a single shop was sufficient to service the entire community.
Due to its close connection and confinement to its customers, general dealers adjusted their sales offerings to the specific preferences of their community. General dealers existed, apart from mainland England and North America, in all colonies and in areas where settlers encroached communities that did not trade with money. In the colonies trade in local produce had existed; the growing need for imported goods, both from European settlers and the indigenous population, led to the establishment of a network of merchants, subsequently to the creation of a money economy. While a large number of general stores still exist in Australia, as in other parts of the world their numbers were reduced by the advent of supermarkets; the oldest continually run general store in Canada is Trousdale's, located in Sydenham, operated by the Trousdale family since 1836. Socialbility has always been a feature. Gray Creek Store in Gray Creek, Kootenay Bay, Canada is the largest and oldest general dealer in the Kootenay Lake region Enniskillen General Store in Clarington, Ontario has been in operation since 1840 and still continues today.
Robinson's General Store in Dorset, voted "Canada's Best Country Store", has been owned and operated by the same family since 1921. In the Dominican Republic, a colmado is the country's equivalent to a general store. Colmado literal translation is'full to the brim' implying its great density of goods in a small space; the colmado is much more than just a general store, for it offers a social gathering point for the residents of the town or neighborhood. The colmado is an important institution in the Dominican Republic serving as an economic and political center for every small community, it is common for colmados to have loud Dominican music such as bachata, or salsa playing. A common pastime for Dominican men is to play dominoes and drink a beer at their local colmado on Sundays. Another particularity of the colmado is that they provide delivery services of their products straight to your house door. Products go from beers, toilet paper to a flash light or canned food; the Greek merchants in Egypt were called bakal.
In India, a tapri is a regional version of a general store. It stores all home, personal and hygienic daily used products. Many Kirana shops sell products other from food, such as clothing or household items, toys and medicines. Small Kirna stores, which are located on the corner of streets and known as katta or tapri, sell cigarettes and tea. Due to its sparse population there are still a number of general dealers in Namibia, for instance the Solitaire General Dealer in Solitaire, an important stopover for tourists through Namibia's Namib-Naukluft Park. In Puerto Rico, a U. S. territory, several general stores have proliferated since the 1970s. Supermercados Selectos Supermercados Econo There are still many general dealers in South Africa. Oepverkoop is the oldest general dealer in Western Cape. Goodwood Museum in Cape Town displays the operation of a general dealer shop. Bodeguita comes from the Spanish language as a diminutive of bodega which means "small store" or "small warehouse". Traditionally, Bodeguita existed selling general merchandise they were replaced by the chain store, the same way large US chains have eliminated the "mom and pop" store.
Village shops are becoming less common in the densely populated parts of the country, although they remain common in remote rural areas. Their rarity in England is due to several factors, such as the rise in car ownership, competition from large chain supermarkets, the rising cost of village properties, the increasing trend of the wealthy to own holiday homes in picturesque villages these houses which used to be occupied full-time by potential customers are vacant for long periods. Of those villages in England who still have shops, these days they are a combination of services under one roof to increase the likelihood of profit and survival. Extra services may include a post office, private business services such as tearooms and bed and breakfast accommodation.