Context: What is a General Store?
A general store was a building where people went to to buy household goods, fabric, food, medicine or other items. The general store didn't carry anything that was not needed or necessary to have for survival. It was one-stop shopping, even though there wasn't a wide variety to choose from.
There usually was a dressmaker near or above the store so that women could take the fabric they had bought at the store to the dressmaker. There was often a post office located in the store so you could write and mail your letter as soon as you wanted to. This was very useful because mail could take a long time to reach its destination, but the mail room was very small.
The general store was the same as a meeting place. Everyone in one area used the same store and would bump into friends or family every once in a while. It was what we'd call the grocery store (though it sold a lot more than food), but it was also the hang out place. The general store was normally located in the middle of the town or village.
Prices at the general store were cheap due to the fact that not a lot of money was made in the 1800's and early 1900's. People often bartered (which is also know as trading) items that they had for things they needed instead of paying cash.
Cities had more stores because there were more people in the city. City stores could specialize in one thing: women's clothing, for instance. The rural area would not have as many stores because there were fewer people.
Orwell Corner General Store, Prince Edward Island