The door is painted a welcoming red, the ice cream is being scooped again and tempting homemade sweets issue an invitation from a glass case in the back of the store. Stephenson & Co. General Store has reopened in Leavenworth, Indiana. For this hometown girl, it is a significant event. My parents and I took our first stroll through the store this week. The old hardwood floors are gleaming again. The ornate, don't make 'em like that anymore, cash register is ringing up sales once more. For nearly two years, Stephenson's General Store has been closed. At least three generations of Stephensons kept the general store a main street fixture in the tiny town for nearly 100 years.. But sooner or later, even the most dedicated families move on. Fortunately for Leavenworth and all the tourists who will travel there, Stephenson's is open again.
Two families have refurbished and reopened the store. Tony and Judy Gallina and Grant and Tina Jones along with their children are making a go of it. On my recent visit Tony told me, "I never thought I'd own a General Store." But there they are smiling and hoping for the best.
The Gallinas and the Jones' are keeping the familiar name. They are also doing everything they can to keep the look and feel of the store authentic. When I refer to Stephenson's as a general store I mean general. In it's day when Harold Stephenson and his family ran the store until its recent closing, you could find just about anything at Stephenson's. Antiques to apples, hardware to handcrafted baskets you could find it there. Need a gallon of milk or a bolt for your engine? You could probably find it at Stephensons. The new owners intend to keep it that way. Groceries will be coming in soon. A small area to eat ice cream or enjoy a sandwich is already set up.
If you go, check out this bit of eye candy that's not for sale. On a shelf near the top of one wall there's a long line of cookie jars. The owners are sharing their collection with the public and tell me some of the customers have added a jar or two.
Check out the slideshow of Stephenson's. Leavenworth is about 40 miles west of Louisville. The grand opening is set for October 16th.