Fill your belly or fix your belly at Elmore General Store

Jan 30, 2024 | Featured, Business | 0 comments

Stormy White stands inside her shop, Elmore General Store, which sells everything from pantry items to home décor. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Elmore General Store is hard to define. When it opened in 2017, it filled a niche in the community as a place to pick up grocery items. Pills N’ Packages had recently closed, and local residents needed a nearby shop to pick up last-minute groceries.

Since then, Elmore General Store has transformed into an eclectic mix of pantry items, home décor, books, clothing and handmade merchandise. In the end, it is still reminiscent of an old-time general store.

“I’ve heard it called a boutique, but it’s not really a boutique,” said Elmore General Store owner, Stormy White. “I’ve heard it called a gift shop, but it’s really still a general store.”

Elmore General Store is packed with handmade and vintage merchandise from 45 makers. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

The shop features the products of 45 makers who sell handcrafted merchandise and a few who sell vintage items. The store offers many different products, including painted furniture, wreaths, jewelry, journals and soap.

“The mugs are made just outside of town,” White said. “I have about half locally homemade products, and half I order wholesale from other small businesses.”

The shop’s gourmet food line is popular and includes favorites like salt water taffy and Freeze Dried Ohio candy.

“I have a huge pantry section with gourmet foods likes mixes, jams, tea and coffee,” White said.

The shop’s biggest seller is Kinker’s Cholera Balm, an over-the-counter remedy for stomach ailments. The balm’s history is blurry, but it is believed to have local origins.

Kinker’s Cholera Balm is the number one seller at Elmore General Store. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“It’s hard to find information on it because mostly people are telling stories, but I’ve been told the recipe is over 100 years old,” White said. “I was told it was started by a pharmacist in Gibsonburg or in Burgoon, who would go door to door selling it.”

Kinker’s Cholera Balm was sold at Pills N’ Packages before it closed, and locals were happy when White started selling the brand.

“When Pills was closing, people were coming in and buying cases of it,” White said. “People use if for stomach relief, for anything you’d use Pepto Bismol or Tums.”

The recipe has remained the same since it was created over a century ago, with one notable exception.

“I was told the original recipe had ether in it,” White said. “I guess you couldn’t feel bad if you were knocked out.”

Brothers Dominic Chuba, left, and Nolan Chuba of Elmore spend a misty Saturday afternoon drinking pop and putting together a puzzle inside Elmore General Store. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

White added a small Christian book section to Elmore General Store when she discovered she couldn’t purchase a Bible locally.

“It’s not a huge section, but there are not any Christian bookstores around,” she said.

While many small businesses didn’t survive the economic vulnerabilities of the last few years, Elmore General Store is still going strong. White says there is only one reason she is still in business: she is the owner, but she’s not the owner.

“It’s not my store, it’s God’s store,” she said. “I should have closed three times by now, but I didn’t. It’s just not my store.”

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