The General Store Holiday Pop-Up Shop in South Orange brings the local and homemade back to holiday shopping!
Located at 14 South Orange Ave. in the heart of downtown South Orange, the co-retail experiential boutique, sponsored by Hearth Realty Group, HomeShore America Bookkeeping, and Maplewood Mercantile features experiences and goods from more than 70 local stores, artists and makers.
From jewelry to coffee, clothing to Christmas trees, food to flowers, handcrafted toys to treats for pets and everything in between, you’ll find something for everyone — and enjoy a fun, personal shopping experience while you’re at it. There are also a host of festive events and activities throughout the season.
Check out some of what’s “in store,” see the full event schedule for the upcoming weekend and learn about the genesis of this fantastic local business, below. Visit the website for up-to-date info.
The pop-up shop is part of the General Store Cooperative, an online shopping site founded last month by Amy Howlett and Deborah Engel.
Thursday, December 13:
11:30am – 1:30pm: Donna Ritter of Donna Creates will demonstrate weaving with fiber on her loom… and will let you try it too
4:30pm – 7:30pm: Mrs. Meshugga will be back for more hand lettering on ornaments, key chains and just-in necklaces.
8:00pm – 9:30pm: December De-Stress: Join us for a slice of peace during this hectic holiday season with a short guided mediation session with Anne Sussman of Mindfulness Meeting Place and some restful yoga poses with Baker Street Yoga, followed by non-alcoholic cocktails and complimentary chair massages by Ouchie by Rachel Trobman, a new pain management app.
Friday, December 14:
10am – 8pm: Shop the preview collection from Moon River & Co. before they open up shop on Valley Street!
3:30-5:30pm: Donna Ritter from Donna Creates returns for a hands-on demonstration of weaving with wire.
6:00-8:00pm: Poetry Happy Hour sponsored by The Rectangle Studio & Gallery and Idea Space Architecture + Design! Shop, sip and listen to the stylings of local bards. Featuring: Christina Bess, Theresa Burns, Tina Kelley, Marcia LeBeau, Mary Malone, and Nubia DuVall Wilson. Open mic to follow.
Saturday, December 15:
10am – 12pm: Hot Cocoa Tasting with Three Daughters Bakery Company! You’ve seen the beautifully packaged hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows at our shop… now meet the baker from Three Daughters Baking Company, and try it out for yourself!
10am – 11am: The JESPY House Choir returns for some holiday song!
11am – 2pm: Meet the Maker Lisa Goad from The Hanky Shoppe! She’ll be on site to custom embroider your handkerchiefs and napkins.
3-5pm: Free knitting class for ages 10 and up with Kari Capone from Kari’s Kits. Already know how to knit? No problem, bring your project or knitting questions and enjoy our free knitting circle.
5:30 – 8:00pm: Ukulele Jam Session & Demo with Finlay + Gage and drinks sponsored by Rhonda J. Panken, Esq. We will be jamming with ukuleles from Finlay Gage and John Brophy from In Tune will be teaching us how to play chords! You will walk away knowing how to play a song … or two!
Sunday, December 16:
12pm – 2pm: Geo n Jazz: Enjoy the sounds of Grammy winning producer Seth Abramson and watch Realtor/Mapmaker Ken Krasner create a ‘fantasy map’ while you sip and munch!
1pm – 2pm: Brain teasers and games from Best in Class Education Center for kids of all ages.
2pm – 4pm: Kreme & Krumbs brings their seasonal ice cream to the shop for all to try! All of the bakery’s cakes and ice creams are made with quality ingredients and sourced from Jersey’s best growers and producers.
Read more here from founders Amy Howlett and Deborah Engel about what led them to start the store:
Before Amazon Prime and the fluorescent lights of big box, and before you could order a no whip skinny latte from Starbucks, there was only one store, and that was the general store. In Maplewood, that store was Harry Baker’s Grocery, on Baker Street near Maplewood Avenue. In 1890, it was the only store in Maplewood Village.
Nineteenth century families journeyed weekly to general stores like Baker’s Grocery to make purchases and trade stories around potbelly stoves. You weren’t worried about the quality of goods because you knew Harry Baker. He and his shop owner compatriots were your neighbors. You purchased what you needed to support your family and in turn were supporting another local family.
When catalogs arrived, general store owners referred to them as town killers. They foresaw families purchasing goods from distant factories owned by large companies to save themselves the trip to town. They were right.
And then came Amazon. Amazon entered our overextended lives at just the right time, when we were willing to embrace its convenience at the sake of community. We’ve become accustomed to frictionless transactions, meaning there’s minimal to no obstacle standing between us and a purchase. Order with one click, or even your voice, and the box arrives on your porch.
We don’t hate Amazon. On any given day, you will drive past either one of our houses and see an Amazon box on the porch. But Amazon and big box should not be our sole source for goods, especially when you want a thriving downtown. That quaint village you love won’t survive and the downtown districts you desire won’t grow unless you support them and their owners (aka your neighbors).
We started the General Store Cooperative (SOMaGeneralStore.com) in November 2018 because we understand that convenience is a necessity of modern life. There’s not enough time in each day, and yet we want and depend on local shops.
Our online cooperative of around 100 local people brings a convenient way to support local stores and makers through one online shopping destination. You’ll find many of the local shops you love alongside artists and makers. This holiday season, we’ll also have an experiential holiday pop-up shop in downtown South Orange that will allow you meet the business owners and makers.
When you have time to go into any of our local shops, please do. But if you find yourself browsing Amazon, please try our site first. If we don’t have what you want, tell us. Help us help you support our town.