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Jack’s General Store offers old-fashioned country atmosphere

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By Bryan Marshall

Jackie Miller hopes people can forget about life’s problems when they enter his Williamstown store.

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He considers Jack’s General Store in the Midway Plaza to be “a dying breed,” a mom-and-pop store where you never know what you may find.

“We have a philosophy here that everybody is our number one customer whether they don’t buy, spend a dollar or spend $1 million,” Miller said. “Everybody is treated with respect. We still do the old-fashioned bag it and take it out to your car if that’s what you need. We are a country store. In a country store, everybody’s family.”

Jack’s General Store opened April 1, 2011,  after moving out of the Olde Star Mall in Williamstown.

However, the Elsmere resident, who is a notary and a genealogist, has been selling groceries, hats, computers and repair, movies, and other general merchandise for years.

The second Tuesday of every month, the store holds their popular Meat Sale.

Miller said his unique variety of merchandise comes from different places.

Some items are given to him while others he purchases from wholesalers or at auctions.

Yard sales also provide some of the store’s stock.

“We try to bring in new stuff all the time,” Miller said. “I never know half the time what I’ll find. That’s the fun in doing what I do. You never know what treasures you’re going to find.”

“You can find knick knacks, movies, all kinds of things,” he said. “We try to get the unique. We want to make it a treasure hunt when you come in. What is he going to have next? That’s exactly what we want people to say.”

A member of the William Arnold Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, Miller said he has tried to help protect the county’s heritage and assist the community when he can.

The store also donates to local food pantries and to the annual Kiwanis auction.

“I feel like I’ve been allowed to become a part of this community,” Miller said. “I take that very seriously and with real pride. We do a lot of things here that most stores don’t do. I’m a strong believer that a store needs to support its community. We’ve helped people when we can. We worked with the agencies to make sure we’re not criss-crossing with help. Times are tough on everybody.”

The main reason Miller opened Jack’s General Store was for his son, Jackie Jr., who turns 18 on Jan. 28.

Miller said he wanted to teach him old country values of self-respect and valuing the community.

On Jackie Jr.’s birthday, Miller said he will go from being an owner-in-training to the full-time owner.

Miller, meanwhile, will serve as chief operating officer of the store.

“This was created with him in mind,” Miller said. “He’s still green behind the ears, but this is his store. I’m trying to teach him how to be able to survive in this world.”

Jackie Jr. said he is excited about the opportunity.

“We’re here to try to help the community and the people,” he said. “I’m looking forward to making sure my customers leave with a smile.”

With any small business, especially in a struggling economy, times can be tough.

Miller said that Jack’s General Store probably has only broken even financially since its inception.

However, the success of the store is judged by more than dollars and cents, said Miller.

“We just hang on here,” he said. “Any business that says they’re making lots of money, I want to know how they do it. It’s not about the money. Don’t get me wrong, money’s great, but if I can give somebody a little bit of happiness, that’s more valuable to me than if they come in here and spend thousands.”