If you’re in search of “provisions for picnic, pantry and home,” plan an expedition exploring the shelves of the recently opened General Store Paso Robles.
Situated downtown facing the City Park in a newly remodeled space formerly known as the A&R Building, the store borrows elements of Paso’s historic past and of its growing role as a premier wine and food region.
The light, airy interior and overall layout evoke a vintage feel, while the whimsical, eclectic array of merchandise might include everything from the latest gadgets to gourmet foodstuffs to freshly baked bread.
General Store Paso Robles was conceived and launched by business partners Erin Stuck, Jillian Waters and Joeli Yaguda, who have some 25 years of Paso Robles food, farm and retail experience between them.
The trio met and became fast friends while working at Pasolivo Olive Oil, and wanted to move on from that as a team to build a new business.
“We wanted to do something together with food, because we’re all obsessed with food,” said Waters, half-joking. While many of the products at General Store have nothing to do with anything edible — “Paso Gear” apparel, beeswax candles, bath and body products, jewelry, notecards, toys for kids, toys for canines, etc. — the vast majority of the items do revolve around food.
If you need a gift (or gift basket) for the cook who has everything, General Store can fit the bill. The available merchandise is always changing depending on what the creative owners have managed to discover lately, but a recent trip around the shelves revealed children’s lunchboxes and safety-edge can openers, hand-stitched pot holders and hand-carved wooden tasting spoons, all manner of barbecue tools and several cookbook titles.
As far as edible items, General Store showcases a wide variety of artisanal foods ranging from ramen noodle chocolate bars to cold brew coffee, from ghost pepper salt to habanero caramel sauce, from barbecue potato chips to sweet and spicy pickles. A deli case holds a wide assortment of gourmet picnic fare as well, including cheeses, salami, hummus and even a small selection of fresh produce.
All the foods are sourced from both near and far. You might indeed discover Mexican chocolate, German mustard and Italian prosciutto, but the owners have also put considerable effort into sourcing and supporting local food purveyors. To that end, General Store carries several Central Coast products such as Negranti Dairy’s sheep’s milk ice cream, Templeton Toffee, Clementine Cupcakes and Alla-Pia Salumi.
In addition, General Store has collaborated with quite a few local businesses in producing an ever-growing line of private GS label products (which also proudly list the original company that made them). Currently, the lineup includes teas from Spice of Life, vinegars from Chaparral Gardens, tapenade from PasoTerra, grab-and-go deli items from Trumpet Vine Catering, spice mixes from Le Z Ranch and flavored olive oil from Olivas de Oro.
“We’re trying to fill a need here in Paso Robles and be an outlet for all the small local producers we’ve met over the years,” said Waters. “We love working with them and love helping them succeed.”